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The Healer: A Novel Hardcover – May 14, 2013

3.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This dystopian tale snagged the Clue Award for best Finnish crime novel of 2011, and U.S. audiences should prepare to be every bit as enthralled as the Finns. Global climate catastrophe has blanketed Helsinki in perpetual rain; flooding erodes infrastructure; and private security companies are replacing the police force. Tapani Lehtinen and his wife, Johanna, an investigative journalist, have remained in the city instead of fleeing north to escape spreading natural disasters and pandemic disease. So, when Johanna goes missing, Tapani resolves to find her himself and wield some control amid chaos. Johanna had been investigating the Healer, a serial killer targeting those he labels responsible for the climate damage, and is confident she’s close to tracking him down. Tapani works backward from the location of her last phone call, linking bits of information he gets from Johanna’s jaded editor and the head of Helsinki’s almost-defunct homicide division. The trail leads to Johanna’s past and reveals buried connections between Johanna and the Healer. Tapani’s amatuer sleuthing is all the more fascinating in light of the unimaginable barriers posed by the changing city, with inhabitants focused on their own survival. Readers attracted either to dystopian fiction or to Scandinavian crime will find gold here: Tuomainen’s spare, nostalgic style emphasizes the definitive nature of climate catastrophe, where neither revolution nor cure offers respite. --Christine Tran


"The surefooted rendition of rain-washed urban decay that will stay in the mind of most readers."―The Independent

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; Reprint edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805095543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805095548
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,534,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ever since the massive success of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, translated to English from its original Swedish, there has been an increase in translated novels to the American marketplace. And while some of these foreign authors have really resonated with the American public, think Larsson and Jo Nesbo, others seem to have been lost in translation.

In the Healer, a novel by Finnish author Antti Tuomaninen, poet Tapani Lehtinen navigates a post-apocalyptic Helinski, in search of his missing wife, Johanna. Johanna is a journalist who works for a newspaper that is struggling to maintain its relevance in this strange new world. Immediately before here disappearance, she was investigating a serial killer known as "The Healer". The Healer is known for murdering prominent businessmen, politicians, and their families, all because of their involvement in pursuits that harm the environment. As Tapani studies Johanna's research into the murders, he realizes that she was close to discovering the identity of The Healer. Now he worries that she is pursuing this known serial killer, or worse, The Healer is pursuing her.

This post-apocalyptic world, as imagined by Tuomaninen, falls in line with the bleak views that most of these European authors write about. Society has failed, medicine and doctors are hard to come by, and the police have been made obsolete by a lack of government, money, technology, and manpower. Therefore, the recover of Johanna falls on the shoulders of her husband, Tapani. As he investigates further into her disappearance, he uncovers secrets from her past that threaten to unravel everything he thought he knew about the woman he loves.

Despite the promising premise, I felt that the author was simply going through the motions on this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Scandinavian mysteries have a reputation for being a bit bleak, but this one adds an element that takes it to a whole new level.

It is set in Helsinki in the near future, a city falling apart, in a world falling apart.
We are in the midst of a global ecological collapse, constant rain and flooding, food and drinking water become more scarce as each day goes by, electric and Internet unreliable, hundreds of millions of people try to move north to places they feel might be livable for a bit longer. Bangladesh has sunk into the ocean, unstoppable fires are consuming the rain forests of the Amazon, the US has been attacked by missiles from Mexican drug lords, the European countries that are left are at war. Things like police protection have become impossible, as most cops have left their jobs, medical care almost impossible to get, as those doctors left try to deal with widespread epidemics of TB, Ebola and the plague.
Well, that is unless you are very rich. Then you hire one of the many private security companies to protect you and your family and to buy the scare resources.

But it seems even a great deal of money can not offer total protection. The city has a killer, a serial killer, who calls himself The Healer. He is killing whole families of people he feels are guilty for creating the situation the world is in and the police seem helpless to stop him. Detectives are few, things like DNA testing or fingerprints almost impossible to get done.

Just one more terrible thing Tapani Lehtinen can do nothing about ...until his wife Joanna disappears. She is an investigative report, a dying breed, as is the newspaper she works for. But she is one of the few who feels a sense of duty, to try and do good.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Antii Tuomainen is (a new to me) Finnish author that I first heard about last June while attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley, California.

I'm always on the look out for new authors to explore, so with that in mind I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of The Healer by Antti Tuomainen and narrated by Simon Shepard before the end of March. Listening time for The Healer by Antti Tuomainen is 5 hours, 40 minutes.

The Healer is a dystopian, mystery/thriller set in Finland. I liked the characters and the storyline of this novel very much. The Healer is a very quick read. My only complaint about the novel is the ending. It leaves the reader hanging as to what the leading character meant by what he said!!! Arrggh, don't you dislike it intensely when an author leaves you wondering the ending of the book is supposed to mean??? Boo, to ambiguous endings!! Other than the ending, The Healer was a really good read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Finnish author Antti Tuomainen contemplates a real-world disaster which has produced a dystopia, not only on Finland, but around the world. Climate change has sent humans looking for physical safety in high locations because of water encroachment. Not that the escape from water is compete, because in winter--the clouds and wind and rain and cold--are constant.
Pasi Tarkiainian is an extremist ecologist who gets it that there is no hope to change the effects of climate change. He proposes to find a modicum of justice for all, by focusing on those who heartlessly contributed to climate change under the "dictatorship" of the profit incentive; because all are now living under the dictatorship of climate change. It is chaos.
Chaos enters the personal life of Tapani and Johanna Lehtinen, poet and investigative reporter, respectively, when Johanna suddenly disappears. And as he thinks about what has happened, Tapani wonders which is worse--"complete certainty that the worst has happened, or this fear, building up moment by moment? Sudden collapse, or slow, crumbling deterioration?" While searching for his wife, he actually experiences both. In the current world environment, this is echoed as humanity deals with, and falters in, environmental realities that leave few, if any, positive choices.
Inspector Jaatinen does not play the typical role of a detective as he and Tapani connect over Johanna's disappearance. All in all, this is a startling story which draws on the fears of humans regarding their survival, and the personal fear of the loss of a loved one. It has mystery, action and surprise, and a lot of sadness. A very good book.
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