Murder. Corruption. Dark secrets. A titanic wave of refugees. Can Anna solve a terrifying case that’s become personal?
Anna Fekete returns to the Balkan village of her birth for a relaxing summer holiday. But when her purse is stolen and the thief is found dead on the banks of the river, Anna is pulled into a murder case. Her investigation leads straight to her own family, to closely guarded secrets concealing a horrendous travesty of justice that threatens them all. As layer after layer of corruption, deceit and guilt are revealed, Anna is caught up in the refugee crisis spreading like wildfire across Europe. How long will it take before everything explodes?
The Exiled is book 3 in the Anna Fekete series from Kati Hiekkapelto, but the first that I have read, so I did worry about how I would connect to Anna as I normally like to start a series from the beginning to get to know the characters and their back stories. But I needn't have worried as straight away it was slightly different to the previous two books in the series due to its setting, they had been based in Finland where Anna lives and works, whereas The Exiled is set in the Balkan village that she originally came from. And it's during a Summer break to stay with her mum that all the fun starts and Anna's relaxing Summer vacation turns into more of a working holiday.
What follows is a complex story with a lot of serious issues at the heart of it, the influx of refugees into the town and the reception they're getting, people trafficking but also corruption which makes it harder for Anna to get to the truth and work out just who she can trust. The refugee situation is particularly topical at the moment which makes this all the more of a thought provoking read.
Anna was certainly a complex character who was very focused and career driven, much to the disgust of her mother who would like nothing more than see her daughter settle down with a family, and someone who won't be intimidated into turning a blind eye when she knows something is not right.
The Exiled was definitely a slow burner for me as it's only around the halfway point that I really felt myself drawn into the writing but from that point on I couldn't read fast enough to discover whether my suspicions as to what was going on and who was involved were proved right. I will admit that at first I struggled with the words/phrases that had not been interpreted so, rather than trying to work out what they meant which I normally do with a translated book, I simply skipped past these which didn't spoil my enjoyment of reading this book.
I'd like to thank Karen at Orenda Books for introducing me to another Scandinavian author but it now means that of course I want to read the first two books in the Anna Fekete series but god only knows when I'll find the time to do so when my TBR piles are already at danger of collapsing!