Review: Her Enemy by Leena Lehtolainen (Maria Kallio series)


Her EnemyHer Enemy by Leena Lehtolainen (AmazonCrossing, 2013)


Blurb: After solving her first murder and leaving the Helsinki Police Department behind, Maria Kallio thought that a move to the neighboring city of Espoo would signal a fresh start—a chance to not only put her new law degree to use, but to nurture her budding romance with Antti Sarkela. But when she discovers the strangled body of a new acquaintance, old habits die hard for the redheaded sleuth—especially since the accused is not only the victim’s fiancé, but a member of Antti’s family. Though she works as a legal counselor, Kallio soon finds herself unofficially investigating the murder, now labeled a sex crime. While Antti’s relative may have some peculiar sexual tendencies, Kallio doubts that the man she’s agreed to defend is capable of the crime. To crack the case, Kallio will have to pull back the curtain on Espoo high society—and uncover a secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden. Her Enemy, the latest addition to Lehtolainen’s bestselling crime series, sends intrepid Detective Kallio into the dark side of human passion.


I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book. Maria Kallio, the main character, isn’t entirely likeable—but that doesn’t make her unsympathetic, and about a quarter of the way in I realized I was enjoying the story quite a lot. As with many Nordic crime novels, this one has a social agenda: Kallio is an outspoken feminist who struggles with her roles as lawyer and detective and girlfriend and sister and daughter. She’s caught in the middle of a murder investigation, where the lead investigator is borderline incompetent (at least according to Kallio); Kimmo, the primary suspect, frequents Helsinki fetish clubs; and Kimmo’s family are still reeling from the death—suicide?—a couple of years ago of Kimmo’s sister Sanna. There’s a lot going on, making this a fast, absorbing crime novel. I’m hoping the rest of this series is translated into English soon!

Owen Whitesman has done an excellent job with the translation, making the book easily readable by an American audience. Also, the list of characters is extremely helpful—be sure to bookmark it because there are so many complex relationships in the book and it’s a bit difficult to keep track of who is who.


This ARC was furnished by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


My rating: 4 stars

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