Initially, ICC will focus on publishing Finnish crime fiction. We published our first book in
2009, Jarkko Sipila's award winning Helsinki Homicide: Against the Wall. The book won
the best Finnish detective novel award in 2009. The book follows Helsinki Police Violent
Crime Unit Lieutenant Detective Kari Takamäki and his team as they solve a gang murder
and their undercover officer Suhonen who gets in too deep into his role.
Jarkko Sipila is a Finnish author and journalist. He has been reporting Finnish crime
news for MTV3 TV News and the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper for almost 20 years.
He has written 11 novels and co-wrote a TV- series “Detectives Don’t Sing” based on
the Takamäki-books. The pilot episode drew almost a million Finnish viewers.
Helsinki Homicide: Against The Wall, the winner of the 2009 Finnish Crime Novel of
the Year Award, is the first of Jarkko Sipila's nine Takamäki-novels to be translated
Harri Nykanen, 57, a long-time crime journalist for the largest Finnish newspaper
Helsingin Sanomat, is now a full time author. Harri has written nearly 30 books and
is best known for his Raid series. While Nykanen's work has been translated into
many languages, Raid and the Blackest Sheep is the first of his novels to be published
in English. A series based on the Raid character has appeared on television in both
Finland and select U.S. markets, and a Raid movie also appeared in Finnish theaters.
Harri won the Finnish Crime novel award of the year in 1990 and 2001. The latter
award was for the Raid and Blackest Sheep novel, now published by Ice Cold Crime.
Brothers Jouko Sipila and Jarkko Sipila publish a series
of Finnish crime novels under the Ice Cold Crime label. Jouko
is the publisher; Jarkko the author.
A local publisher and translator is bringing
hard-boiled Finnish crime novels to the
By CHRIS STELLER, Special to the Star Tribune
Last update: July 28, 2010 - 4:59 PM
Th ere might be a pipeline of pro hockey players from
Finland to the United States, but mystery writers? Not
so much. Jouko Sipila, himself from Finland and now
living in Independence, Minn., is setting out to
Riding the wave of recent popular Nordic crime
novels beginning, but not ending, with "The Girl
With the Dragon Tattoo" Sipila, 39, has begun
publishing English translations of crime novels
written by his brother, Jarkko, a journalist in
Helsinki. This fall, Sipila's publishing company, Ice
Cold Crime, will begin publishing a second Finnish
The success of Stieg Larsson's "Girl" trilogy, and of
books by fellow Swede Henning Mankell, "makes the
pie bigger," Sipila said last week. "We hope to capture
a small slice of it."
It's a wide-open field in the United States, he says,
because Finnish publishers don't market their books
to American readers. "Their interest is to sell the
books in Finland," said Jarkko, 46, who was in the
Cities visiting family.
Jarkko's hard-boiled cop stories are set in Helsinki
and are laced with sardonic humor a style easily
translatable to American audiences. His first book
published by Ice Cold Crime was "Helsinki Homicide:
Against the Wall," winner of the 2009 Finnish Crime
Fiction of the Year Award and one in a series of nine
novels about Detective Lt. Kari Takamäki. (The
English version of "Helsinki Homicide: Vengeance"
was published in February.)
The translation into English was by Peter Ylitalo
Leppa of Plymouth, who studied at the University of
Minnesota, and who calls the humor "served cold" in
a typical understated Finnish manner.
Leppa translated the books at what he called a
"breakneck schedule" 300 pages in three months,
paid for, in part, with a $5,000 grant from the Finnish
"Translation is unbelievably difficult work," said his
former professor, Dan Karvonen. "It's kind of
excruciating." Translating Finnish to English is
particularly tricky, because the languages aren't
related and have no similarities. The only Finnish
word that English has borrowed, Karvonen said, is
Ice Cold Crime's print runs are modest at 3,000
books per title. A few hundred are shipped to
Finland for the tourist market, and the rest are sold
primarily in Minnesota.
In the Twin Cities, that means places like Once Upon
a Crime bookstore and the FinnStyle home
furnishings retailer. Up on the Iron Range in
northern Minnesota, where many Finns settled to
farm and work the mines, there's a ready audience.
Joe Keyes, co-owner of Hibbing's Howard Street
Booksellers, said he has customers who will devour
Teased into writing
Jarkko had not set out to write mysteries. In the
early 1990s he was hired by the Helsinki newspaper
Sanomat to fill in for Harri Nykanen, a crime reporter
and mystery writer who was going on leave. When
Nykanen returned, Jarkko stayed on.
"Every day, he came to work and asked me, 'Have
you started your own book yet?'" Jarkko recalled.
"One day I decided maybe I should start it."
Jarkko has since moved from newspapers to
television news, but he and Nykanen remain friends.
And Ice Cold Crime's next book, due this fall, will be
one by Nykanen.
Chris Steller is a freelance writer who lives in
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