The Healer by Antti Tuomainen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Tuomainen's 'The Healer' is an original and gripping crime thriller. The dystopian near-future setting is well-drawn and central to the bad guy's motive and therefore the plot, so it's not merely a bandwagon-jumping decision to set the novel in a dystopia. It rattles along at a good pace, mixing familiar crime plotting and character archetypes with this speculative-fiction element so that the reader is at once on familiar ground, and exploring new terrain. The novel grabs you and doesn't let go until the intriguing open ending.
The first-person point of view is interesting and original, but not as groundbreaking as the blurb promises. Our hero and narrator is a struggling poet, but this intriguing voice doesn't much affect the narration or the character's mode of detection. The character is original, certainly, quick talking and obviously intelligent, but he doesn't give us many striking images or unique insights into the crime. I felt that this USP wasn't delivered as well as it could have been.
Overall, if you like crime novels you won't be disappointed. If you like speculative fiction and dystopias, you won't be disappointed. If you're looking for a truly original voice, you might be a little bit disappointed.
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