One man's search for his missing wife in a dystopian futuristic Helsinki that is struggling with ruthless climate change
It's two days before Christmas and Helsinki is battling a ruthless climate catastrophe: subway tunnels are flooded; abandoned vehicles are left burning in the streets; the authorities have issued warnings about malaria, tuberculosis, Ebola, and the plague. People are fleeing to the far north of Finland and Norway where conditions are still tolerable. Social order is crumbling and private security firms have undermined the police force. Tapani Lehtinen, a struggling poet, is among the few still able and willing to live in the city.
When Tapani's beloved wife, Johanna, a newspaper journalist, goes missing, he embarks on a frantic hunt for her. Johanna's disappearance seems to be connected to a story she was researching about a politically motivated serial killer known as "The Healer." Desperate to find Johanna, Tapani's search leads him to uncover secrets from her past. Secrets that connect her to the very murders she was investigating...
The Healer is set in desperate times, forcing Tapani to take desperate measures in order to find his true love. Written in an engrossingly dense but minimal language, Antti Tuomainen's The Healer is a story of survival, loyalty, and determination. Even when the world is coming to an end, love and hope endure.
Winner of the Clue Award for the best Finnish crime novel of 2011, Tuomainen's third book evocatively explores a near-future Helsinki in which private security firms hire murderous thugs to patrol the desolate city. Floods, fires, and disease are also rampant. Amid this turmoil, poet Tapani Lehtinen searches for his wife, Johanna, a journalist who disappeared while covering the story of a serial killer called "the Healer." The Healer targets those he blames for the global warming that led to society's collapse business executives, politicians, and their families. With a little help from an honest cop and a shadowy cab driver, Tapani digs into his wife's secret past to find her. Tuomainen (My Brother's Keeper) writes beautifully, but at times the text reads like a screed about greed and environmental destruction. But Tapani's progression from a dreamy poet content with staying at home to a man of action elevates this bleak tale and brings a glimmer of hope to rain-soaked Helsinki.