The Sicilian Defense

Vera Vala

Original title: Sisilialainen puolustus

Author: Vera Vala

Published: 2023

Publisher: WSOY

Genre: Crime & Suspense

Pages: 391

Part of a series: Salla Kotka series

Reading material:

English synopsis & sample

The profiling skills of Salla Kotka come under pressure as she comes head-to-head with a serial killer.

Salla Kotka’s career as a forensic psychologist is progressing under the guidance of her mentor Ruth Segre. While interviewing serial killers, Salla meets again with a psychopath called the Groom. The man seems to know something about the serial killer Harlequin who is terrorizing Milan. But why does the Groom seem so interested in Salla?

Catching the Harlequin becomes even more important for Salla when the police claim that the perpetrator is someone close to Segre. Meanwhile, Salla is tortured by thoughts of her mother’s suspicious death and the secrets of the past.

Salla searches for a ruthless serial killer in the dark Milan night, but has evil managed to get much closer than she could have imagined?

Vala’s writing is edgy and she constructs the plot in multiple layers [—] The author vividly describes the contradictory culture, cuisine, and nature [of Italy], there is even romantic tension in the air.

Sari Toivakka in Savon Sanomat newspaper

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About author

Vera Vala

Vera Vala’s roots are in Finnish forests, but her soul belongs to Italy, where she has been living for over 25 years. She has an infinite thirst for knowledge that has taken her to study various academic subjects from Physics to Assyriology and Romance Languages, and the information acquired during those years has been useful as background research for her novels.

Vera’s adventurous spirit has taken her from diving with sharks while living in Seychelles to rafting in Italian Alps and exploring the shadier parts of her former hometown, Rome: the diverse experiences have come in handy while creating intriguing plot twists.

Currently, Vera lives with her family in Milan where she is studying to become a clinical psychologist with a special interest in Forensic Psychology. Vera creates novel scenes in her mind while cooking Italian meals, and she loves slow chess games and meditation.


2023, Crime & Suspense

Vera Vala

The Sicilian Defense

2022, Crime & Suspense

Vera Vala

The Italian Game