2001 Innocent
Orig. title: Syytön

Henrik Häkkinen is a thirty-something man whose life goes off the rails when his girlfriend,Tanja, tires of his lazy lifestyle and throws him out. Häkkinen may be unemployed and poor, but he is totally unfazed by adversity – a real man needs no woman! Instead, he offers to help the Koistinen brothers, who earn their living from small-scale crime and from shady business ventures. An easy removal job gets out of hand when Häkkinen beats a troublesome client into pulp.

Leino's debut novel Innocent delves into Häkkinen's entire life. It looks at his childhood, his crimes, his girlfriends, and his prison sentence. Amidst the stories of drunkennes, wild living and robbery, appear mysterious letters, written decades earlier, in which a set of worried parents implores an anonymous grown up son to change his way of life. To whom were those letters written?

The main character of Marko Leino's crime novel, Henrik Häkkinen, is a psychopath, whose own internal world is more real to him than the reality outside of his window. Leino’s masterful use of language and black humour give us a glimpse of Häkkinen’s painfully realistic and utterly unpleasant world. Leino describes cleverly, and with a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek, the bleakness of Häkkinen's soul, the alleyways and local bars of the city centre, and the concrete colossi of the surrounding suburbs. The story of Innocent may be dark and full of anguish, but the reader cannot but admire Leino’s spectacularly ambitious recounting of Häkkinen’s tale.


“Leino is, of course, a wonderfully gifted author. He builds up his novel masterfully. His skill manifests itself in the clever progression of the plot, and from the natural interlocking of several separate storylines.” Hämeen Sanomat

“What makes Leino a master of his genre is his style and artistic impression. He writes about the underworld with great humour and compassion.” Satakunnan Kansa

“What starts of as a picaresque novel soon turns into a study of the soul of a Finnish serial killer. The young writer has shown his skill in analysing the psychopathology of a Finnish man.” Parnasso

Utländska förlag:
Finland, Tammi (Bonnier)