I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by AmazonCrossing on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
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For generations, the urban legend of Granny Hatchet has plagued the quiet residential area of Suvikylä in northern Finland. As the story goes, this immortal killer murders her victims with a hatchet, then buries the hearts in a potato field and eats them after they’ve rotted black. But not everyone is convinced it is just a story.
Maisa Riipinen has returned to her hometown to complete her dissertation on urban folklore at the same time that Samuel Autio has come home to arrange his father’s funeral. As hazy, disturbing memories from their pasts meld with strange events in the present, Maisa and Samuel attempt to make sense of the town’s fearful obsession with the mythical Granny Hatchet. But if it’s only a legend, then why are people still vanishing without a trace?
From Finnish author Marko Hautala comes The Black Tongue, a gripping novel about a terrifying story with the power to silence—and the power to make those who dare speak disappear.
The Black Tongue is a beautifully written novel translated to English and originally written Swedish. The novel, keeping with the Swedish writing tradition, is a detailed and original piece with a similar narration style as Steig Larsson who wrote The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
A chilling psychological horror with plenty of darkness and disturbing situations.
A killer lives among the residents of Suvikylä in northern Finland. She kills with a hatchet, buries their hearts in a potato field and eats them after they’ve rotted black. After generations of tales and missing children Maisa Riipinen has returned home to study Granny Hatchet for her dissertation on urban folklore that causes her to fall down a well of darkness and memories. Samuel Autio has also returned home to arrange his father’s funeral while uncovering strange and horrific memories of his childhood. Two lives, one story, one legend so ancient and terrifying it could destroy them both.
Initially I rated this novel two stars, but once I had time to reflect I decided it was worth three stars. The Black Tongue is one of those novels that sticks with you and requires a bit of after thought to be properly appreciated. I didn’t understand the ending until I really thought over what had actually transpired and followed the clues Hautala carefully laid out. Hautala is clearly a master of creating a tale with plenty of nuance to develop a mysterious psychological horror novel. I didn’t quite understand what happened with Maisa and Sagal.
“Otherwise she’ll appear one day when you’re least expecting her,” he continued. “And she’ll wait for you to turn your back on her. Then she’ll whack you with her hatchet between your shoulder blades so hard that the air is knocked out of your lungs and your legs go numb. And she’ll roll you over. She’ll stick her black tongue out at you . . .”
The various narratives of the characters seemed completely unrelated and random until the very end which made for an initially slow read. Once you learned enough about each character and how their stories interlinked it became easy to become immersed in the tale.
The Black Tongue was much darker than I expected, traveling down paths that I hadn’t anticipated.
This novel will appeal to readers who enjoy horror novels, psychological thrillers, dark urban legends and Swedish literature.