In recognition of Helsinki Noir’s debut, book contributors Leena Lehtolainen and Riikka Ala-Harja sit down for a conversation on the state of Finnish crime fiction, moderated by Brooklyn Noir editor Tim McLoughlin.

The excitement around Scandinavian crime fiction coming in the wake of Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has focused largely on Sweden, but Finland – as poignantly revealed in Helsinki Noir (Akashic Books, 2014) – is equally strong in the noir department. Helsinki Noir joins Copenhagen Noir in representing the Akashic Noir Series in the far north of Europe.

The book features brand-new stories by Leena Lehtolainen, Johanna Holmström, James Thompson, Antti Tuomainen, Jesse Itkonen, Joe L. Murr, Jukka Petäjä, Tapani Bagge, Pekka Hiltunen, Teemu Käskinen, Tuomas Lius, Riikka Ala-Harja, Karo Hämäläinen, and Jarkko Sipilä.

About the participants

Riikka Ala-Harja (b. 1967) is a Finnish author and playwright. She has published two children’s books and six novels; Hole/Reikä (2013) was her first collection of short stories. The Landing/Maihinnousu (2012) was also published in Estonia and is the second of her novels to be nominated for the Finlandia, Finland’s greatest literary prize – the first being her prose debut Tom Tom Tom (1998). Ala-Harja lives in Helsinki.

Leena Lehtolainen (b. 1964) is the most successful female crime author in Finland; her titles consistently top the country’s best-seller lists and her best-known character is the tough, down-to-earth, and emotionally intelligent police officer Maria Kallio. More than two million copies of Lehtolainen’s books have been sold worldwide and her works have been translated into 29 languages. The author also works as a literary researcher, columnist, and critic.

Tim McLoughlin is the editor of the multiple award-winning anthology Brooklyn Noir (Akashic Books, 2004), Brooklyn Noir 2: The Classics (Akashic Books, 2005), and is the co-editor of Brooklyn Noir 3: Nothing but the Truth (Akashic Books, 2008). His debut novel Heart of the Old Country was the 2003 recipient of Italy’s Premio Penne Award and was the basis of the feature film The Narrows (2008), starring Vincent D’onofrio. McLoughlin’s short fiction and essays have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, and his work has been included in The Best American Mystery Stories (Mariner Books, 2005). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Special thanks to Akashic Books and FILI – Finnish Literature Exchange.



Photo by the American-Scandinavian Foundation

TUE – 11-11-14 – 6:30 PM