New releases and praise for Harri Nykänen!

NykanenApr162015Well-known crime writer Harri Nykänen has recently been garnering praise for both his latest novel, To Earth Again (Crime Time 2014), a dark and wryly humorous suspense story set in the Finnish Lapland, and Behind God’s Back (WSOY 2009), part of his Ariel Kafka detective series starring a Helsinki-based Jewish policeman.

Behind God’s Back was published in the UK in January and in the U.S. in February of this year by Bitter Lemon Press. It has been received enthusiastically by critics in both countries.

Praise for Behind God’s Back:

“A mixture of Jo Nesbø’s portraits of Nordic political corruption with Jerome Charyn’s waggish Borscht Belt tales of Isaac Sidel.”
Kirkus Reviews, USA

“This is Nordic crime fiction at its understated end – there’s none of the gory violence you’ll find elsewhere in the genre. Nykänen is more interested in picking at the intersections of politics, religion and business, and how the lines of power all lead back to the same place…Kristian London’s translation captures Nykänen’s subtle humour well.”
The Skinny, The UK

“In Nykänen’s intricately plotted second Ariel Kafka novel to be published in English (after 2012’s Nights of Awe), the Helsinki Violent Crimes Unit cop looks into the shooting murder of Jewish businessman Samuel Jacobson, whose daughter he once dated… the sympathetic Kafka manages to perform a delicate balancing act on his way to an unexpected resolution.”
Publishers Weekly, USA

“Once again I’m smitten. When a detective noir is told in the first person it’s important to be able to engage with the narrator, and Ari is a very engaging chap.”
Book Bag, the UK

In Finland, critics are calling Nykänen’s newest book his best yet. To Earth Again (Crime Time, fall 2014) is a standalone thriller about a gaming industry millionaire who purchases a large estate in Lapland and begins to gradually uncover a horrific secret.

Praise for To Earth Again:

“Nykänen is a pro…his characters are drawn sparingly but fully, and the end conclusion isn’t unbelievable in spite of being shocking. He also describes Lapland in a lively manner, avoiding needless exoticism.”
Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland

“The tension builds from one page to the next, at times to the point of chilling. The structure holds together until the very end, and the result is Nykänen’s best work to date.”
Apu magazine, Finland

Original publisher: FINLAND, Crime Time
CZECH, Euromedia (Raid)
ESTONIA, Koolibri (Raid)
ISRAEL, Steimatsky (Ariel)
ITALY, Atmosphere di Libri (Ariel)
RUSSIA, Text Publishers (Ariel)
UK, Bitter Lemon Press (Ariel)

Reading materials:
English editions of Nights of Awe & Behind God’s Back (Ariel Kafka series)
Finnish edition of To Earth Again
Full English synopsis of To Earth Again


About author

Harri Nykänen

Harri Nykänen (1953-2023) was an industrious novelist who drew on his 20 years of experience as a crime reporter at Helsingin Sanomat, the largest daily in the Nordic countries. An author since 1986, he wrote dozens of books portraying the customs and rules of the Helsinki underworld – through the eyes of both criminals and members of the police force. Nykänen won the Finnish crime writing award The Clue twice, and was nominated for the Glass Key for the Best Scandinavian Crime Novel in 2004.

Nykänen’s brutal antihero Raid, starring in ten of his books, has become iconic in Finland. His story has also been adapted into a movie and TV series. Television rights to the original Finnish series have been sold in Russia, and Nykänen also received interest in television remake rights from the U.S. His Ariel Kafka series, starring a cool-headed policeman who is also a member of Helsinki’s Jewish community, received praise in international press. Drawing from current events, the series is firmly rooted in the streets of the Finnish capital.


We are deeply saddened by the news of author Harri Nykänen passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harri Nykänen's family and friends. Our heartfelt condolences.


2015, Crime & Suspense

Ariel 5: The Lion King

Harri Nykänen

2011, Crime & Suspense

Ariel 4: Holy Ceremony

Harri Nykänen

2009, Crime & Suspense

Ariel 3: Behind God's Back

Harri Nykänen

2005, Crime & Suspense

Ariel 2: The Spider Woman

Harri Nykänen

2004, Crime & Suspense

Ariel 1: Night of Awe

Harri Nykänen