Marko Hautala

Just finished reading Marko Hautala’s Torajyvät which I think is mistakenly advertised as a “thriller” in Germany, leading people to be disappointed because they are expecting a fast-paced crime novel of sorts. The word “thriller” makes me think of something like the Bourne novels. This is more of a psychological novel with some elements of mystery.


The novel alternates between two stories which take place on the same island hundreds of years apart. In 1697, the ship carrying the prisoner Jakob Mört is shipwrecked here. He has been accused of witchcraft and arson and carries with him a small bag of seeds.


The other story is set in the present. Jenni ,Aaron and their young son Miro, visit Aaron’s adult son Markus on this island where Markus has been sequestered since an accident which left his brain damaged in some manner. Jenni’s sister Iina takes care of Markus who is also Jenni’s former boyfriend and Markus’ mother Liisa, Aaron’s ex-wife is also present. And there is something odd about the island itself, large fish swarms near the beach and a dark legacy left by Jakob Mört. 


It’s very psychological, as are all four of his novels and I do love it when authors try to mess with my mind! One of my favourite Finnish authors at the moment, but so far none of them seem to have been translated into English. 



Takes place in a psychiatric institution. Olavi is an old man accused of committing an atrocious crime and Mikael works at the institution. Each has his own way of dealing with the death of a loved one. The book delves so deep into the workings of the human mind that it keeps you thinking long after the last page has been read. 



Shows how easy it would be for an outsider, especially a young person to fall into a cult, however ridiculous it may seem, and how large the gap between teenagers and adults. Not as good as Käärinliinat, but I like how he shows the darker/deeper side of human nature.



Joonas is desperate after his divorce and sees only two alternatives: find a meaning to his life or kill himself. Even hypnosis isn't helping him - he is unable to find the much talked about healing inner strength.

At last something begins to happen, but not at all what Joonas was expecting. Eidolon-Therapists leader Aliisa shows interest in Joonas and a love affair ensues. Until now he has only seen university building hallways while under hypnosis, but now a living creature appears. An odd dog which wants to lead him somewhere.

Soon the daily routine begins to falter. Violent things happen at work and Joonas' best friend Jyrki begins to behave in a menacing manner. Is the dog only a figment of his imagination or something else?

The English title will apparently be Seeing Eyes. 


Two novels have been translated into German:

Schatteninsel (dtv)

Leichentücher (dtv)


Author Blog (in Finnish):


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