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Leena Lehtolainen books in order

Leena Katriina Lehtolainen, better known as Leena Lehtolainen, is a Finnish bestselling, award winning author of mystery, suspense, thriller and crime fiction novels.

Born in Vesanto, Northern Savonia, Finland, she is best known for writing the Maria Kallio Mystery Series and the Bodyguard Series.

A graduate of literature, Leena ranks as the leading female crime fiction author in Finland, with her literary works repeatedly becoming #1 bestsellers among Finnish audiences.

Leena’s novels have been translated into 29 languages, selling more than 2.5 million copies across the globe.

A wife and mother of two grown children, the author currently resides in Degerby, Helsinki with her husband.

Whenever she is free, Leena can be found listening to all sorts of music and following lynx trails in the woods, a trait she shares with Maria Kallio.

More about Leena Lehtolainen

Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller

Born: 1964



  1. The Bodyguard - Henkivartija (2009)
  2. The Lion of Justice - Oikeuden jalopeura (2011)
  3. The Devil's Cubs - Paholaisen pennut (2012)

Maria Kallio

  1. My First Murder - Ensimmäinen murhani (1993)
  2. Her Enemy - Harmin paikka (1994)
  3. Copper Heart - Kuparisydän (1995)
  4. Snow Woman - Luminainen (1996)
  5. Death Spiral - Kuolemanspiraali (1997)
  6. Fatal Headwind - Tuulen puolella (1998)
  7. Before I Go - Ennen lähtöä (2000)
  8. Below the Surface - Veren vimma (2003)
  9. The Nightingale Murder - Rivo satakieli (2006)
  10. Derailed - Väärän jäljillä (2008)
  11. Where Have All the Young Girls Gone - Minne tytöt kadonneet (2010)

Detailed book overview


The Bodyguard

As a professional bodyguard, Hilja Ilveskero rarely loses her cool. But one day, she and a client have an argument in a Moscow fur salon, and Hilja quits on the spot. When the client turns up dead, Hilja quickly discovers that she is a suspect. In an attempt to clear her name and find the killer, she uncovers ever-deeper layers of subterfuge. 

Amid all the covert treachery and intrigue, Hilja finds herself falling in love with a suspicious yet irresistibly sexy man―but is her heart clouding her judgment? In this tale of political romance populated by Russian oligarchs, Finnish politicians, and undercover cops, no one is what they seem and no one can be trusted.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Henkivartija
First Release: 2009
ISBN: 978-1477826607
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Lion of Justice

American-trained bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero is accustomed to danger. Maybe that’s what attracted her to agent David Stahl in the first place―he’s sexy, he’s dashing, and he’s most definitely dangerous―and try as she might, she just can’t seem to stay away.

When Hilja meets David for a secret rendezvous in Italy, their romantic holiday is cut short by a deadly turn of events. After David goes missing and Hilja comes upon a fresh corpse in his cabin, she decides it’s time to make a quick return to Finland. Once there, Hilja tries to forget David, but her heart just won’t let go. 

With much to lose and only love to gain, Hilja sets out to learn where he might be―alive or dead. As she delves deeper into her investigation, she grows ever more entangled in a dark intrigue with Belarusian mobsters, shady entrepreneurs, crooked cops―and a thrilling race to see who can find David Stahl first.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Oikeuden jalopeura
First Release: 2011
ISBN: 978-1477830284
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Devil's Cubs

Professional bodyguard Hilja Ilveskero will do anything to protect her client. But when that client is the daughter of a nefarious real estate tycoon who is the mortal enemy of Hilja’s true love, things get complicated. She knows there must be an endgame to this job, but the pay is just too good to refuse.

As Hilja learns more, mysteries begin to unravel, and dark crimes targeting the most vulnerable of victims come to light. Hilja must do everything in her power to protect enemies, loved ones, and innocents alike.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Paholaisen pennut
First Release: 2012
ISBN: 978-1503935563
Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Maria Kallio

My First Murder

Twenty-three-year-old law student Maria Kallio is recruited for a temporary position at the Helsinki police department. Sweet-faced but tough and hot-tempered, Maria faces pushback from her new squad―so when a young playboy is murdered at his family’s summer villa, the new detective is out to prove herself.

Found floating facedown at the water’s edge after a night of partying, Tommi Pelatonen appears to have been murdered by one of his closest friends―but why? As Maria discovers, bitter passion and jealousy seethe under the placid surface of the group’s privileged, carefree lifestyle. As Maria uncovers the victim’s unsavory secrets, motives for all seven suspects come to light. Now it’s up to her to untangle the clues before the killer strikes again.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Ensimmäinen murhani
First Release: 1993
ISBN: 978-1612184371
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Her Enemy

Leaving the Helsinki police force to put her new law degree to use, Maria Kallio is ready for a fresh start. But when she discovers a strangled body, old habits die hard for the redheaded sleuth―especially since the accused is related to her new boyfriend.

The police rush to close the case against the victim’s fiancé, but Maria is convinced they’ve got the wrong man and soon finds herself unofficially investigating the murder, now labeled a sex crime. To crack the case, Kallio will have to pull back the curtain on the secret dealings of Finnish high society…and uncover a secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Harmin paikka
First Release: 1994
ISBN: 978-1611099645
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Copper Heart

Former police sergeant Maria Kallio gladly left her tiny Finnish hometown of Arpikylä without looking back. But even though Maria despises the small town and the acrid smell from its now-closed copper mine, when Arpikylä’s sheriff asks her to serve as deputy sheriff for the summer, she agrees.

What should have been a quiet summer soon turns dramatic—and deadly. Meritta, an outspoken local artist, plunges to her death from the copper mine’s tower, and Maria immediately suspects someone helped her fall. Now Maria must face the harsh truth that one of the town’s residents killed Meritta, and friends Maria has known for decades all harbor their own murderous motives—even Johnny, her gorgeous former crush who almost makes her forget about her long-distance boyfriend, Antti, who is studying in Chicago

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Kuparisydän
First Release: 1995
ISBN: 978-1477848425
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Snow Woman

When the well-known director of a women’s retreat center goes missing, Espoo Police Detective Maria Kallio is called to investigate. As the missing woman’s friends and family quickly become the pool of suspects, Maria must soften her tough interrogation style to uncover the information she needs to solve the crime. 

Meanwhile, a killer Maria put in prison escapes and sets out to take revenge. As the missing persons case―and Maria’s personal life―become increasingly complicated, the Espoo Police work to track down the escaped killer before it’s too late.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Luminainen
First Release: 1996
ISBN: 978-1477826515
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Death Spiral

Noora Nieminen was destined to become a world champion. But when the sixteen-year-old skating sensation is found slain with her own skates, her promising career is unexpectedly cut short.

Detective Maria Kallio is seven months pregnant, but that isn’t going to stop her from putting everything she has into solving the murder. With a promotion on the line and her arrogant adversary, Pertti Ström, vying for the new job, Maria is determined to make an arrest.

Could it be the deviant criminal who’s lately been terrorizing the city? Is it the former lover of Noora’s mother, who has been stalking the family since she rejected him? Or might the killer be someone even closer than that? With so much riding on Noora’s success―and so many people with motives to murder―the detective must sift through the long list of suspects before the case turns ice cold.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Kuolemanspiraali
First Release: 1997
ISBN: 978-1503951051
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Fatal Headwind

After months of maternity leave, tough-talking Espoo police detective Maria Kallio is ready to return to work. But before assuming her new post as head of the Violent Crime Unit, she vacations with her husband and daughter on the island of Rödskär. There Kallio learns that, one year earlier, her ex-boyfriend Harri had mysteriously fallen to his death from the isle’s steep and treacherous cliffs.

On the anniversary of that event, Harri’s boss, the CEO of an allegedly nontoxic paint company, loses his life on those very same rocks. In light of such a coincidence, Kallio searches for the link between these two tragedies and is soon convinced that they weren’t accidents―they were murders.

 As the Finnish nights grow longer, so too does the list of suspects. Was the CEO’s disillusioned wife involved? His environmental-activist son? Or perhaps his rebellious daughter? Or might the culprit be his half brother, an adventurous sailor whom Kallio finds altogether a little too intriguing?

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Tuulen puolella
First Release: 1998
ISBN: 978-1503936485
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Before I Go

A fierce detective risks everything to unravel a tangle of secrets and corruption protecting a killer...

When Petri Ilveskivi is murdered in the street on his way to a city-planning meeting, Maria Kallio, commander of Espoo’s Violent Crime Unit, and her team are first on the scene. Almost immediately, her focus is on the band of skinheads who brutally attacked the Finnish commissioner and his husband three years earlier. Did they finally finish the hate crime they started? But the trail soon reveals a web of lies—secrets Petri was keeping from even those closest to him—and a long list of suspects.

As she juggles her obligations as a wife, mother, and detective, Maria suggests to her superiors that what first appears to be a random assault may actually be something more sinister. When she’s met with silence and higher-ups take her off the case, she disobeys orders and investigates on her own, putting both her family and herself at risk. In this captivating tale in the Maria Kallio series, someone is protecting a killer. Can Maria track them down before the next victim falls?

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Ennen lähtöä
First Release: 2000
ISBN: 978-1477822999
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Below the Surface

When a woman's body turns up in a lake―a bullet to the back of her head―Violent Crime Unit commander Maria Kallio, freshly back from maternity leave, is fast to get on the case. The victim is ID'd as Annukka Hackman, wife of a prominent publisher and author of an upcoming unauthorized tell-all book on Sasha Smeds, Finland's celebrated racing rally driver.

Almost as soon as the inquiry starts, it goes off the rails, as those connected to Annukka―and to Smeds―seem to have more secrets than they have alibis. Was the journalist about to reveal a bombshell that someone was desperate to keep quiet? Or will it take some reading between the lines? The clues may be few, but the list of suspects is long. As she struggles to balance her home life, run a department tainted by career-threatening allegations, and catch a killer, Maria is shocked to find just what someone was willing to do in the name of love―or revenge.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Veren vimma
First Release: 2003
ISBN: 978-1542048743
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
The Nightingale Murder

A grievously mutilated young woman arrives at the hospital in Espoo, Finland―only to vanish without a trace. Though the victim refused to identify herself, Violent Crimes Unit Commander Maria Kallio suspects she’s connected to the city’s sex-worker underworld. The next day her suspicions grow when celebrity call girl Lulu Nightingale is murdered during a live television broadcast.

The victim’s clients included some of the top names in Finnish society, but the list of suspects is even longer: her infatuated bodyguard, a suicidal TV producer, and a talk-show host with political aspirations. But how is Lulu’s murder connected to the tortured woman’s disappearance?

As the body count keeps rising, Maria plunges into the dark demimonde of the sex trade. And this time, searching for answers may shatter all that she has.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Rivo satakieli
First Release: 2006
ISBN: 978-1503901117
Publisher: Amazon Crossing

Detective Maria Kallio investigates a doping scandal turned murder.

After surviving a terrifying assault during her last investigation, Maria Kallio traded in her badge for a comfortable desk job. But when the head of social affairs for the Finnish Athletics Federation is murdered―the victim of an apparent poisoning―Maria is drawn back into a race against more than murder. A series of crimes has unfolded, and to Maria’s trained eyes, they look like the makings of a conspiracy.

As Maria follows the track to a doping scandal, a money-laundering scheme, domestic abuse, and explosive death threats leveled against a sports reporter, she collects the pieces of a baffling puzzle. Now, to run down the killer and save the next victim, all she has to do is make them fit.

So far only one thing is for certain: Maria Kallio is rediscovering the thrill of the chase.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Väärän jäljillä
First Release: 2008
ISBN: 978-1503904491
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Where Have All the Young Girls Gone

A group of hate crimes, a conspiracy, or a coincidence? Investigator Maria Kallio must search for answers close to home.

After completing a dangerous mission training police officers in war-torn Afghanistan, Detective Maria Kallio returns to Finland as the head of a new special crimes unit. But what awaits her in her home country is her most challenging and unsettling case yet. Three immigrant Muslim girls, all members of the same social club, have gone missing under mysterious circumstances. When the body of a fourth girl is found in the snow, strangled with her own headscarf, the investigation takes on a grim new urgency.

Is there a xenophobic serial killer on the loose? A random white nationalist? Or does something more insidious bind the girls? In a Finnish city struggling to assimilate a new population of Muslim immigrants, the answers are hard to come by…

One thing is certain: it will take a detective familiar with the darkest depths of humanity to sift through the wreckage of clashing cultures in search of the truth. That detective is Maria Kallio.

Author: Leena Lehtolainen
Original Title: Minne tytöt kadonneet
First Release: 2010
ISBN: 978-1542040310
Publisher: Amazon Crossing