Book Review | Evil Things by Katja Ivar

Title: Evil Things

Author: Katja Ivar

Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press

Release Date: 9th January 2019

Source: Bitter Lemon Press

Buy: Amazon UK

A Nordic Noir of the first order set in deepest and darkest Finnish Lapland. Also a historical thriller of the Cold War.

Evil Things introduces a wonderful new heroine in crime fiction. Hella Mauzer is a whip-smart detective, fighting against crime, prejudice and her own demons.

This is a first novel and the first in the Hella Mauzer series.

Lapland, Finland, 1952. It's the height of the Cold War and Finland is a snow-smothered powder keg. Sharing a long border with the Soviet Union, it is engaged in a high-wire act of protecting its independence from its sometimes dangerous neighbour. 

Hella Mauzer was the first ever woman Inspector in the Helsinki Homicide Unit. But deemed too ‘emotional’ for the job, she was reassigned to Lapland. When a man disappears from a remote village on the Soviet border, Hella jumps at the chance to investigate. Her boss is sceptical; after all, people disappear all the time in the snows of Finland. A murder victim is then discovered in the forest. But what Hella doesn’t know, is that the small village of Käärmela is harbouring another crime. A crime so evil it is beyond anything any of them could have ever imagined.


Evil Things is the first book in the Hella Mauzer series, Hella was an Inspector in Helsinki but as this is set in the 1950’s the menfolk decided she was too emotional and sent her to Lapland.  Her career is stagnating in her new posts but a curious letter from the far away settlement of Käärmela changes that.

An elderly man is missing, Hella’s colleagues don’t think there is any cause for alarm but something about the case makes Hella want to investigate further.  She sets off to try to the settlement to see if a crime has been committed or is another case of somebody wandering in to the woods and getting lost?

On arrival she quickly realises something is up, the village is on the Russian border and the villagers all seem to be hiding something even her hosts, the priest and his wife are not sharing everything they know but they do hold one important piece of evidence, the missing mans grandson.

Hella is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery but when a body is discovered in the woods she realises that there might be more to this disappearance than meets the eye, can she uncover the truth?

Evil Things ticked my boxes straight away, It’s set in a Nordic country (Finland), its cold and snowy, it has a mysterious forest and it has a determined female protagonist.  I really had know way of knowing where the book was going, it kept you guessing to the end.  The landscape really deserves a mention too, it sounds like something out of Dr Zhivago, all snow and forests capped with frost.  

Hella does put up with a lot, her male chauvinist colleagues, sexual harassment from a local lorry driver and general mistrust from the villagers, she may not always handle it well and calmly but she does get the job done.  I’m looking forward to more from her.

Thanks to Bitter Lemon Press for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

18 comments

  1. There's something about snowy Nordic mysteries that is so tempting to me, and this one sounds really good😁

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  2. Sexist pig detectives are one of the things I really detest in crime-and it got on my nerves in the Anita Blake urban fantasy series too!

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  3. " Hella was an Inspector in Helsinki but as this is set in the 1950’s the menfolk decided she was too emotional and sent her to Lapland" lol typical right? Seriously though, this sounds really good! I love the sound of the setting and the dr. Zhivago reference you made has me liking the sound of this! I love snowy settings as well.

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    1. The times have changed, not exactly for the better but hopefully women detectives in Helsinki getter a better deal!

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  4. Ooooe I like those Russian names. I don't want winter anymore! I need books with spring and flowers now. But yea, this is my reading style as well. I don't really know much about The Cold War, or rather, not enough. Might just help with the history lesson. I love those!

    Have a good weekend!

    Elza Reads

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    1. I’m a bit patchy on the Cold War too! I love winter and snow!

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  5. I'm glad I don't have to work as a woman in the 1950's. I'm sure I'd want to whack most of the men upside the head. I do like female detective stories. Nice to hear this was a win!

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    1. I know, the men are such chauvinist pigs!! I’d be losing my temper left, right and centre!

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  6. I've never read a book set up in Lapland. The setting, and the mystery, are really intriguing! So glad you reviewed this one. :)

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    1. No Santa though! Seriously, it’s such an atmospheric setting!

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  7. I'm not sure about the book, but I love the cover art! It reminds me of winter when we lived in Nebraska. Brrrrr!

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    1. The cover is great, I just love snow providing I don’t need to drive anywhere!

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  8. I really like the sound of this - must go and check it out some more.
    Thanks
    Lynn :D

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  9. I too love books set in that region. Glad to know of a new series!

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