2009 Trap (2nd book in the Underworld trilogy)
Orig. title: Ansa

Vesa Levola is a reluctant participant in his father’s drug business. When his father is killed by a bullet to the head, Vesa is left responsible for his father’s debts, including those owed to his partners in crime. The debtors are not satisfied with just money.

Detective Inspector Juha Viitasalo manages to finally incarcerate the leader of the drug gang, Reino Sundström, after years of pursuit. Viitasalo cannot relax, however, because Sundström knows details of an incident in his past, the traces of which he is still trying to cover up. You cannot escape from your past, however, and the game turns dirty when Viitasalo's wife and daughter are dragged into it.

The only person with a reason to smile is the small-time criminal Leif Turunen. With Sundström out of the picture, Turunen has a prime opportunity to claim the top job in the drug gang for himself. He has nothing to lose. When Turunen is asked to organise a large-scale drug consignment from Russia to Sweden, his opportunity arrives.

Trap paints a grim picture of the murky world of the organised drug industry, which has tentacles from Russia through to Europe. Marko Leino spins a clever and captivating story, which includes worn down police, lowlifes of the criminal world, and crime barons. This game knows no mercy, and there are plenty who will chase after easy money. Someone will always pay the price, either with his own life, or with that of a loved one. The insignificant bit-players end up kneeling on a warehouse floor, waiting for the gun shot that will end it all. The dreams of instant riches turn into instant death, but the unpaid bills still need paying. They simply get transferred to the next generation.

How far would you go in any game, if the life of your loved ones were at stake?


"Once you've grown accustomed to the tongue-twisting Finnish names and the numerous characters in the cast, the book becomes an addictive pleasure. Leino switches from one protagonist to the next and shows that there is no escape from the underworld. Leino's story avoids the standard clichés and never drifts into mawkish pathos." MD (WAZ) / Germany

"With great empathy and rather spiky wit, Leino brings a group of deep, and in many aspects tangible, characters face to face with walking clichés, such as a Serbian war criminal and thug; he immerses himself in the plot's diverse milieus and and manages to create a straightforward yet multi-layered story. An absolutely cracking book." Frank Rumpel (www.culturmag.de) / Germany

"Marko Leino makes use of all these [Finnish] elements, with virtuosity and black humour - and crucially, he continually creates new pitfalls so that one rogue after the next meets a conclusive end. [...] An interesting discovery for the German-speaking world." Ingeborg Sperl (www.krimiblog.at / DER STANDARD, Printausgabe, 4./5.2.2012) / Germany

"Trap is one of the best Finnish detective novels of this year. It is carefully constructed to capture the reader's imagination." Helsingin Sanomat / Finland

Trap is one of the best crime novels I've read. The story and the characters are unforgettable in their authenticity. Leino belongs to the new spearheads of the Finnish crime fiction.” Ruumiinkulttuuri / Finland

“Marko Leino’s crime novel Trap offers a thorough graphic picture of life in modern Finland.” Parnasso / Finland

“Leino writes damn good crime novels (...) Leino’s claim to fame is not based solely on writing an excellent crime novel however. This novel is more than a typical crime story. Trap is the first novel written about the recession (...) One of the year’s best in its genre.” Kansan Uutiset / Finland

Rights sold:
Finland, Tammi (Bonnier)
Sverige, Telegram
Norway, Aschehaug
Denmark, Klim
Germany, Zsolnay (Hanser)
Italy, Sperling & Kupfer
Czech Republic, Euromedia
Slovakia, Ikar