This crime thriller takes place in a near future which sees the world facing the extreme effects of global warming on a gigantic scale.
Two days before Christmas Tapani’s wife Johanna, a journalist, goes missing in Helsinki. Her disappearance seems to be linked to the last story she was working on: a serial killer called “The Healer” who has made it his mission to brutally kill people he holds responsible for the ecological catastrophe.
Tuomainen paints a picture of Helsinki, that is drowning in floods of rain, the buildings are slowly rotting away, mould and decay are taking over. Food is scarce. Gangs are roaming the streets. Society is washed away; social services, jobs, shops only exist in skeleton form, as more and more people just stop turning up for work. If they can afford to get away, they’ll travel up north where the weather is marginally more conducive to human life, but that too is only a respite.
Tracing back Johanna’s steps Tapani has to realize, that he didn’t know as much about his wife’s past as he thought and his dangerous journey through the wet long nights of this Finnish winter lead him to a terrifying conclusion.
“The Healer” is a very tense read. Tuomainen manages to make the decaying urban city another character in this crime thriller about eco terrorism and corruption and dishes out a truly surprising ending.
This is well worth a read, but the Helsinki street and area names do become a little tiresome after a while, as they don’t seem to serve a purpose to help paint the brilliant evocation of this waterlogged city.