This may seem odd, but I have been keeping my eye out for a Finnish author for a while now. I have had some fantastic stories from Swedish, Danish (mmm…I love danishes), and Icelandic authors. I don’t know if it is something about their long winters, but they write some incredibly dark stories that I connect with. So, when I saw Marko Hautala billed as “the Finnish Stephen King”, I knew I had to read The Black Tongue.
While I am always a bit skeptical when an author is compared to one of the greats, I went into The Black Tongue with an open mind. This story exceeded my expectations. I was immediately shocked and drawn into the small town of Suvikyla, Finland. I was completely unaware of the legend of Granny Hatchet, but before the first chapter, I knew more than I could have ever needed to know about her.
The Black Tongue revolves around three individuals: Sagal, Samuel and Maisa. Each of them has had their lives forever changed by Granny Hatchet. The story moves back and forth through time with each of their interwoven stories. Marko Hautala did a marvelous job of slowly building a connection between each one. As the story moved forward, the myth of Granny Hatchet became more real, and the horror of each character’s story was revealed.
Marko Hautala has an impressive catalogue of books, The Black Tongue being the first to have been translated into English. I truly hope that more of his books are translated in the near future. I was pulled into this story and utterly shocked at how it all came together. This is definitely an author to keep an eye on.