I’m delighted to tell you that my Cold War spy story, The Red King of Helsinki is finally out in paperback! This novel, which I wrote right after I’d finished my MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, is a story of a rookie spy, a young gymnast, and a violent KGB officer. I know this is a different departure for me. I don’t usually write thrillers, spy or otherwise, but if you read this story, you’ll find that it also has romance, drama and deals with one of the themes most of my books have: what is truly important in life?
The Red King of Helsinki Blurb
He’s a rookie spy chasing a violent Russian KGB man. She’s a young student looking for a friend who has mysteriously disappeared. Can he save her?
At the height of the Cold War, former Royal Navy officer Iain is asked to work undercover in Finland, the playground of the Russian KGB. He’s to investigate Vladislav Kovtun, a violent Russian spy, dubbed The Red King of Helsinki. This is Iain’s first assignment, and when he discovers the bodies left in Kovtun’s wake, he quickly gets embroiled in danger.
Young student Pia has two goals in life: she dreams of a career in gymnastics and for Heikki, a boy in her class with the dreamiest blue eyes, to notice her. But when her best friend, Anni, the daughter of an eminent Finnish Diplomat, goes missing, Pia begins to investigate the mystery behind her disappearance. Unbeknown to Pia, Kovtun is watching her every move, as is the British spy, Iain. Will Iain be able to save Pia before it’s too late?
What Readers Say about The Red King of Helsinki
Wonderfully tense spy-story in late ’70s Helsinki – 5**** Amazon
Excellent read!! I’m looking forward to reading more books by Halme. Medium paced with very interesting characters. If you have visited Finland you will understand the weather conditions and the citizens’ reaction to Russia. Truly enjoyed – 5**** Amazon
More comments include:
“I LOVED THIS BOOK”
“A well-crafted thriller”
“An intriguing cold war novel of espionage, murder, and betrayal”
Next …more Nordic Romance with a bit of Nordic Noir
You know I told you that The True Heart was the last book in The Nordic Heart Romance series? Well …it turns out that wasn’t exactly right.
The Christmas Heart
Yes, I know it’s January and the Season has just passed, but I am planning ahead. In mid-December 2017, I began plotting a seasonal book for 2018 and surprised myself that the story that came to me was one of Kaisa, all grown up, falling in love again.
I kept thinking of a book called Love, Again by one of my favorite authors, the late Doris Lessing. If you haven’t read this gem of a novel, please look it up! (It’s on Amazon here but I’m sure you can also find it in other well-stocked bookshops.)
The Christmas Heart is set in a Swedish Ski Resort that I visit almost every year, called Åre, over Christmas 2017. There’s snow, grown-up romance, and skiing …
I’m pleased to report that I finished the first draft yesterday, two days ahead of schedule. The Christmas Heart will be out in late autumn when we’re all going to be feeling a bit more festive. Look out for posts about the book here on my blog. If you’d like to be in the know well before anyone else, you can also sign up for my Newsletter. You will also receive a free copy of the prequel novella to The Nordic Heart series, The Young Heart. (See below)
A New Series
I’ve also started writing a new series of books, with a working title of The Island Stories (this may change). The books will be set on a group of islands in the Baltic, called The Åland Islands. Those of you who have followed my blog from the early days will probably remember that this is a place where, over the years, I have been holidaying a lot. I have family living on the main island and was even granted with the title, Sommar Ålänning (summer islander), in an article in the local paper about my novella The Young Heart, which is partly set on the islands.
This new series of books will be a little darker in the genre than The Nordic Heart series. There might even be a mystery or two, and definitely some deaths. I’m not moving away from the romance genre altogether because the books will still include tales of happy and unhappy love, but with this new series, I am definitely joining the Nordic Noir gang.
In other author news, I will be attending a conference, 20BooksLondon this weekend and be appearing at two separate events in February.
A Finn in Britain and a Brit in Finland
FinnBrit Language Centre in Finland will be hosting an evening discussing nationality and citizenship.
Helena has just become a UK citizen and Penelope has recently filed her application for Finnish citizenship. They will talk about their respective journeys to citizenship and explain why and how they chose to become dual nationals. Maybe you also have a journey to share or some questions to ask. Do join us for this interesting talk and discussion on culture, language, and citizenship.
The event will take place at 6 pm on 9th February. More details here.
The Nordic Book Fair
Finally, if you’d like to see me in action, talking about writing with my fellow Nordic authors and reading from my latest novel, The True Heart, come and join me at the Nordic Book Fair in London on 17 February. It’s part of the Nordic London Festival, and I will be appearing with a fellow Nordic author, Heidi Amsinck, discussing writing in a foreign language, author identity and feeling like a tourist in your own country. The event is free, but it’s best to register to avoid disappointment! Tickets can be found here.
Perfect for Valentines …
Don’t forget, all the books in The Nordic Herat Series are now also out in paperback. I have been told they make perfect romantic presents. Order now to make sure you get the books in time for 14th February!
If you’d like to get my news and book offers straight to your mailbox, join my Readers’ Group now and receive a free book! Find out more here.