Where Have All the Young Girls Gone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Leena Lehtolainen maintains the standard of police investigation with the latest Finnish tale. It spans the wintry town with skating domesticity to the dust and ramifications of Afghanistan
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"I loved this story and the author is very talented writing style .This is my first book by Keenan Letholainen  but it will not be the last, I was totally blown away..    I can hardly wait to see what next by this amazing author."
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Another in the Maria Kallio series, this story follows the detective as she sorts out connections between a rash of missing immigrant Muslim teen girls and the murder of another. This seemed extremely timely in these days of world-wide "immigrant crisis" and an interesting insight into Finnish cultural attitudes. 

As always, well-written, well paced—like watching a good crime series on PBS (no commercials!) Maria continues to be a woman I can relate to, and fun to see the continuity of her kids and family woven into the story.
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While I have enjoyed and sold many Scandanavian mystery-suspense titles, the Finnish offering Where Have All the Young Girls Gone was one I had trouble embracing. I don't doubt it was a more complex and political plot than I was expecting. Many patient readers may find it rewarding.
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When it comes to Scandi-noir, I have read some Swedish, Norwegian and Danish, but never any Finnish mystery. I chose this one on Netgalley because Amazon Crossing often provides interesting, original discoveries. Among Finnish writers, I have read Sofi Oksanen and Tove Jansson (but she wrote in Swedish), and I had no previous knowledge of the Finnish society.

Because of my ignorance, I found myself relating to the victims who are foreigners, instead of relating to the Finnish characters, whom I didn’t quite understand (for a moment I was even confused about the gender of some of them). The investigator is Maria Kallio, a middle-aged policewoman with a successful track record, a wife and mother living in the suburbs of the capital Helsinki and working at a Special Victims Unit. The victims are 3 immigrant Muslim girls from various backgrounds, who faced the double weight of sexism at home and racism outside the home. All three disappeared after having been seen at the Girls Club, and Maria Kallio is called to investigate.

The good:
- this policewoman is the hero of a whole bestselling series in Finland, and I was glad to try it and discover some things about Finland society and the treatment of immigration there
- Many issues in the book are rather heavy and complex, and they are treated with sensitivity

The not-so-good:
- I found that latching into the series at book #11 was rather tough
- The investigator is nice enough but I didn’t particularly warm up to her.
- The plot was rather sluggish, perhaps because the author was treading on eggshells. But because of the cultural distance to the author and context, going any faster would have lost me completely!
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Maria Kallio returns home to Finland after training police officers in Afghanistan. As the commander of the new special crimes unit of the Espoo Police Department, Maria’s first case deals with three missing Muslim immigrants. The three girls attended the same youth group as Maria’s daughter. The case becomes even more intense when a fourth girl from the group is found murdered.

This is a long-running series, but the first I’ve read by this author. There is a cast of characters at the beginning of the book that helped me catch up with the important characters. I enjoy several authors in the Nordic mystery genre and was excited to try this book set in Finland. I enjoyed Maria from the beginning. She is a strong leader, loving mother who is tough but vulnerable. I knew nothing about the immigration situation in Finland before reading this book but found the topic interesting. The practice of “honor killings” in Muslim families comes up. That aspect of the story is disturbing but realistic, based on my limited knowledge of the subject.

I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book. I liked the friendship between Maria and her colleague Pekka Koiva as well as the mother-daughter relationship between Maria and Iida. Maria seems to have a happy marriage, but didn’t feel like i got to know her husband in this book, but those who have read other books in the series may have an advantage here.

The mystery of the missing girls kept my interest from the beginning to end. Without giving anything away, I didn’t like the parts of the story dealing with someone Maria worked with in Afghanistan. The character is push, unlikable, and although that subplot is connected with the main plot, I didn’t like the direction it took the story. 

I really enjoyed the book overall, even though there were disturbing scenes. When the whole truth behind the disappearance of the four young women, I was shocked and sickened. This is a very suspenseful book and I have already ordered some of the prior books in the series so I can get to know Maria even better.

I received this book from NetGalley, through the courtesy of AmazonCrossing. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.
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Hate crimes and cultural differences

Complex story involving Detective Maria Kallio fresh from Afghanistan where she's been helping with the training of Afghani police women. An exercise that ended in tragedy and unbeknownst to her will hold overtones for her forthcoming role as head of a new special crimes unit.
Three immigrant Muslim girls are missing and converging thought has their fate hovering between the possibility of them being runaways, of honor killings, possible actions by white nationalists, the involvement of Afghani drug lords, or that their families have sent them away.
The truth is layered somewhere between cultural differences and people's attitudes. Kallio gives an outstanding performance as an investigator with a conscience looking into sensitive issues.
Although this is the 11th in the Kallio series it reads well as a stand alone.
Having visited some of the places in Finland mentioned, the reading brought to mind some treasured moments.
Lehtolainen continues to be a strong voice in the Nordic Noir trope.

An AmazonCrossing ARC via NetGalley
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Really this was a 3.5 for me, the subject was interesting but the writing style was not, maybe it was because of it being translated and there were too many details and too many character so it lost it's punch , esp toward the end
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The author wrote a thriller that started with a bang and just kept going!  The twists kept coming, so I couldn't put it down.  I cannot wait to read more from this author!
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I am glad that i was able to read this book as a standalone, as i have not read any of the previous books by this author.  A well written book and one that is written with care, due to what could be sensitive subjects to some.  There are not many books that grip me to the point of being unable to put a book down, but i just couldn't put this book to one side until i had finished.  A story that will stay within my mind for some time to come.  I am not going to write what the story is about as i prefer one to read the book for themselves, but i do highly recommend.  

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my e-arc copy.  This is my honest review.
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I enjoy the Nordic Noir genre, and have read several books by this author. However, the very disturbing themes and numerous unpleasant characters in this book made it difficult for me to read. Three stars because it is well-written and translated, but I question whether I will read anything else by this author.
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Leena Lehtolainen has adapted the "Me Too" movement into a hate immigrants movement (Muslims) in her latest Maria Kallio book. She's brought the Afghan War into the picture by having Maria as a police instructor at the police academy in Jalalabad and on the way to the airport in Kabul going home, the caravan's lead vehicle was bombed. Giving Maria nightmares. Her daughter Iida was going to an all Girls Club in Tapiola which turned out to have 3 girls missing, and in this case they were all Muslims. From different countries but missing all the same. 
The book revolves around the missing girls and it develops into honor killings, incest by family members, and marriage by under age girls (not legal in Finland). And it turns into a real mess by having the people at the Girls Club being responsible for some of the mess. 
I would recommend this book as good reading because you are surprised several times in reading about people in this story. Yet you might like it because it turns itself around and brings itself back to what you might believe to have happened. It's quiet exciting to read.
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Thank you NetGalley and AmazonCrossing for the eARC.
The 11th in the Maria Kallio series is another riveting read.  I do love Maria and her family; she's a thoughtful, empathetic character, an excellent detective whose thoughts and actions I thoroughly enjoy reading about.
After a short, nightmarish stint in Aghanistan, Maria is back at work in Finland where she's immediately involved in the case of three missing Muslim immigrant girls.  It's a touchy subject to be tackling, walking a tightrope of being respectful of the family's religious ways, but still having to find out what happened to the girls, which involves interviewing the extended family as a woman whose modern Finnish ways are not necessarily appreciated by the Muslim men or women.  When a fourth Muslim girl is found strangled, there are many questions, foremost: was this an honor killing?  All four girls attended a girl's club where they were taught it's possible for women to live free, independent lives, with a good education and career, a future against the ideals of the families.  It's such a sensitive subject, especially in today's world and I think the book handles it with respect, very thoughtful indeed.
This book can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the whole series, it's so good!  In particular it gives the reader a good idea about life in Finland, which one of the many things I love about these books.  Great stuff! Highly recommended.
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