A. M. Ollikainen

Original title: Kontti

Author: A. M. Ollikainen

Published: 2021

Publisher: Otava

Genre: Crime & Suspense

Pages: 304

Part of a series: Paula Pihlaja series

Reading material:

English synopsis & sample, author Q&A.

The first book in a new fast-paced and addictive Nordic Noir series. A.M. Ollikainen is Finland’s Lars Kepler!

A cargo container is found in Helsinki with a dead body inside.The property where the container is discovered, belongs to one of the most notorious businessmen in Finland. As Police Commissioner Paula Pihlaja begins to investigate the case, traces lead back to the businessman's family, revealing decades of suspicious business ventures in Namibia.

Meanwhile, Paula’s own personal life is shaken by old memories that are now surfacing following recent events.When she was younger, she had to give her baby up for adoption. The boy, her son, is now in his twenties and facing a murder charge. Not only is Paula tormented by her own guilt about the adoption, she is also worried about what will become of her son.


"Finland is the new Mecca of crime fiction. You need proof? Just read the first novel by A.M. Ollikainen. I couldn’t imagine a better start for a series. CARGO is outstanding."
– Marco Schneiders, Publishing Director, Bastei Lübbe

"CARGO is a fast-paced story with suspense until the end and well-drawn main character—an intelligent, empathetic and pragmatic police commissioner, Paula Pihlaja. The other characters also have clear psychological outline and natural dialogues which fuel the reader’s curiosity. All those things make "Cargo" impossible to put down. I am glad that Polish readers will be able to take part in this criminal feast. – Dominika Dudarew-Osiecka, Czarna Owca, Poland

"Something very exciting is for sure happening within the genre of Nordic noir – our eyes are drawn to Helsinki. A.M. Ollikainen comes in and blow our minds. What a terrific start for a new series! The writing, the atmosphere, the characters, the tension – it’s all there, and we strongly believe this author duo to be the next big thing. Cargo is a book that’s hard to put down and has excellent twists and turns that are sure to delight thriller and Nordic noir fans. In addition to the great entertaining read this novel is, we love how well it takes on political and human themes – that’s rare, and adds to our enthusiasm for this author duo and their promising series."– Vidar Strøm Fallrø, Development Editor, Aschehoug, Norway

"CARGO is like a breath of fresh air among contemporary crime fiction – it is not only a thrilling detective story but also a perfectly written novel pointing out many interesting observations about our current lives. Moreover, the investigator Paula Pihlaja is such a relatable character – a capable, intelligent woman full of wit yet also haunted by her past. But could her seeming weaknesses be a source of strength too? It is a pleasure to see a strong female lead who is not afraid of being vulnerable." -Lucie Bregantová, editor, HOST – vydavatelství, s. r. o., Czech Republic

"We see a great readership for this thriller series starring Paula Pihlaja: she’s a great detective, but also a person people can relate to as she copes with her past and the challenging times ahead of her. Add to this the themes that every great thriller novel needs: an intriguing murder method, a perfect writing style and a suspenseful plot, and I think you’ve got a winning combination in Cargo! We see A.M. Ollikainen as a very promising crimewriting powercouple, and look forward to introduce them to our Dutch readers."
– Soraya Vink, Commissioning Editor, HarperCollins Holland

"Behind the novel’s plot stand huge patterns involving colonialism and racism, and all deeds are motivated by the classical themes of love, greed, redemption. Simultaneously also poverty and riches, women’s and men’s rights, parents and their children, the business world and art form parallels in the story. The suspense is superbly raised: first by sweating in the heat, then exploding into action during a thunderstorm. The most positive thing in CARGO is that the purely literal skills are firmly mastered. The mystery is well crafted, the reader is bluffed, and the surprises in the end are rewarding." - Suvi Ahola, Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper, 16.5.2021

"The perfect choice to pick up while browsing the shelves at the airport book kiosk. You’ll want to read it nonstop." - Suomen Kuvalehti Magazine

Even the very first scenes of the book are powerful. The text goes smoothly and the versatile plot of the crime novel, woven together with skill and intelligence, is reminiscent of the best Nordic crime series. The characters are exceptionally fascinating.

- Jury of Crime 2019 competition, Finland

Download reading materials

Rights sold:
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
DENMARK: Svane & Bilgrav
GERMANY: Bastei Lübbe
LATVIA: Zvaigzne
LITHUANIA: Baltos lankos
NETHERLANDS: HarperCollins Holland
NORWAY: Aschehoug
POLAND: Czarna Owca
RUSSIA: Publishing House Gorodets
SWEDEN: Bokfabriken


Foreign covers

About author

A. M. Ollikainen

A. M. Ollikainen is a pseudonym for author duo Aki and Milla Ollikainen. Aki Ollikainen has published three novels and won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize in 2012. He has also been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and Prix Femina in 2016. Milla Ollikainen has published three crime novels and won Like Publishing and the Finnish Detective Society’s Crime novel writing competition in 2012. Cargo is their first novel together and the Winner of a National Crime Novel Competition. 


2022, Crime & Suspense

A. M. Ollikainen


2021, Crime & Suspense

A. M. Ollikainen