Elisa Audio Book Award Winners 2020

We are proud to announce that our authors Elina Backman and Leena Lehtolainen are both Winners of the Elisa Audio Book Award 2020. Congratulations, Elina and Leena!

Elina Backman won the category of the Best Newcomer of the Year with her bestselling crime novel WHEN THE KING DIES (orig. Kun kuningas kuolee, Otava 2020) – already sold to 10 territories and TV rights optioned by Aurora Studios.

”Backman redeems her place among the top Finnish detective writers with this novel. The clever plot hooks you immediately, and the mystery untangles piece by piece until the surprising end. We can hardly wait for the sequel!” – Helena Niemelä, Business Director of Elisa Kirja

Leena Lehtolainen won the category of the Best Crime Novel of the Year with RIPPLE EFFECT (orig. Jälkikaiku, Tammi 2020) , which is the 15th book in the Maria Kallio series. Leena’s books have been translated to over 30 languages, and sold over 2,5 million copies worldwide! TV series based on Maria Kallio series will be released in 2021 by MTV/C More.

Ripple Effect is a cleverly constructed police novel that mediates perfectly balanced between the character’s relationships, everyday police work, and exciting action. Lehtolainen manages to move the story smoothly forward, and the details that are gradually revealed keeps the reader interested.” – Matti Järvinen, Vice president of The Finnish Whodunnit Society

Elina Backman


Elina Backman, 37, is a media & marketing professional living in Helsinki, in an old wooden 1920 house with a family of 2 kids and a husband. Elina loves books (all sorts), travelling, cycling and is a host of a Book & Wine Club. She is a creative soul with a commercial mind, and her goal is to find readers globally – her dream is a Netflix series based on her novels.

Her debut novel When the King Dies was published in May 2020 and has immediately gained an enormous amount of attention from the Finnish media, including a praising review by the biggest daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and becoming an immediate bestseller in Finland with 10,000 copies sold in all formats. When the King Dies has been to-date sold in 11 territories and international TV series is in development.

Leena Lehtolainen


Leena Lehtolainen is the top female crime author in Finland: her new titles always head straight to #1 on the Finnish bestseller lists.

Leena’s brand new title The Ripple Effect will be published in August 2020. It is already the 15th book of the super popular Maria Kallio series that has sold over 2 million copies worldwide!

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The 1993 book Ensimmäinen murhani (My First Murder) kicked off Lehtolainen’s first and on-going crime novel series, which has brought an enthusiastically-received female perspective to the male-dominated detective genre through its distinctively down-to-earth heroine Maria Kallio. The Bodyguard Trilogy, meanwhile, stars a New York-trained bodyguard who is fiercely self-sufficient, highly alert to her surroundings, and haunted by horrific violence in her past.

Lehtolainen published her first novel at the age of 12; this work of juvenile fiction appeared in 1976. Leena Lehtolainen has also published outside the crime genre; her book The Charm of Figure Skating was voted sports book of the year 2010 in Finland and A Life in Six Scenes showed her return to literary fiction.

In her free time, Lehtolainen enjoys all kinds of music from 70’s punk to Schubert and Bach – just like Maria Kallio, the heroine of Lehtolainen’s crime novel series. And just as events in the Bodyguard (trilogy take the heroine Hilja Ilveskero all around Europe, Lehtolainen’s own work takes her to book festivals, exhibitions and other events across the globe.