Samuel Davidkin
Publication date
Johnny Kniga
Format info
363 pages

North of Sodom

Sodomasta pohjoiseen

-   Samuel Davidkin

International arms dealing.
A secret kept by a dead Rabbi.
Murder in broad daylight.
Helsinki is North of Sodom.


A taut thriller that delves into international arms dealing and the inheritance left by a dead rabbi.

A U.S. envoy is cut down by a sniper’s bullet in the centre of Helsinki. The murder interrupts a relaxing day by the sea for Helsinki detective Leo Asko and his girlfriend Tuva.

The apparent hitman is picked up and arrested almost immediately, and the background to the crime is opened to investigation. But Leo Asko isn’t buying it. He has a firm conviction that things are not as they seem: that the man in custody is not the killer. He believes the victim was not quite the innocent and upstanding diplomat he has been taken for, and that there is a larger, international dimension to the case.

Daniel Janovsky, now seconded as Asko’s partner, has inherited the library belonging to Rabbi Jankel Klugman, who died in the first book in Davidkin’s series. Klugman’s effects passed on to Janovsky also include a mysterious and obviously very old coin. Janovsky follows a trail of clues and signs that point towards the menorah that once stood in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and was subsequently lost without trace. A Rembrandt painting also plays an important role, and it takes Janovsky first to Israel and then to Berlin. In the Holy Land, Janovsky tries to find out about a long-lost girlfriend with a possible connection to the Helsinki diplomat’s murder.

Janovsky discovers himself facing forces far beyond his control, as he suddenly comes to, hands tied and floating on a raft in the middle of the Dead Sea, at the place where the ancient city of Sodom is said to have stood. And when you head due north from Sodom, sooner or later you come to Finland.

As Daniel Janovsky finally returns to Helsinki, a secret plot is gathering momentum. A plot that could redraw the map of the entire Middle East.


Samuel Davidkin’s pacy new thriller is packed with surprising twists in the narrative. Even though the events of the story carry us far from these shores, Davidkin does not neglect the traditions and cultural history of Judaism in Finland, the slings and arrows of family relations, or the brooding, enigmatic backdrop of Helsinki that he evoked – in a style worthy of Paul Auster – in his début novel, Redemption of the Firstborn (2016).


Reading materials

English synopsis
Finnish edition


Praise for the Work

“Davidkin is a writer with ambition. This can be seen in his nuanced descriptions of Helsinki, his entertaining cultural references and his truly multifaceted plotlines. Asko and Janovsky are not defined only by their actions, as they also have meaningful personal lives.” – FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS – Best Finnish detective novel in an article presenting the summer detective novel releases, Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“Phew. This is the kind of detective novel you can’t put down once you’ve picked it up. Davidkin has written a book with a lot going on, but not a drop too much. It has international aspects, a murder investigation and a thriller-like progression. It delves into relationships with women and ponders family relations. The plotlines intertwine with one another in a remarkably fascinating way. Davidkin’s text is fluidly worded and the story progresses logically. I also like how the work makes room for a murder investigation and the exploration of a Jewish mystery. Another brilliant aspect of the book is how Davidkin has managed to slip a sprinkling of Shakespeare into the murder investigation. What’s more, Davidkin describes Helsinki in a way that makes you feel like you’re walking along its streets yourself. (…) An absolutely fantastic work by Davidkin. (…) I have to confess that I’m hooked. I can’t wait to find out what will happen next.” – Elämä on ihanaa literary blog

“The story is like Raiders of the Lost Ark: a dead rabbi’s legacy, the murder of a diplomat in the middle of Helsinki, some Middle East and some international arms trade. The most enchanting experience is that the reader gets an opportunity to view Helsinki and the world with Jewish eyes.” – Kodin Kuvalehti, one of the best 11 crime novels of summer 2017

North of Sodom is a voluminous, eventful novel with an original voice. In it, the many faces of Helsinki, its cultural history and the Jewish way of life are brought to the forefront. The work has a handful of plot twists, but Davidkin manages to keep hold of the ropes and flesh out the story around the action. (…) Davidkin’s narrative has become more relaxed, more laid back. (…) The work finds a balance between the crime story, the twists and turns of personal life and a multifaceted descriptive style. (…) Just like last year, now I am looking forward to the next part. Truly, not all of the mysteries have been solved.” – Eniten minua kiinnostaa tie literary blog


“In American marketing, there is a saying that goes: ‘The first real order is the repeat order’ – you don’t know if you’ve succeeded until the customer orders the product again. With his second crime novel, Davidkin takes a great leap toward the forefront of Finnish detective fiction writers. But things tend to happen in threes. Hopefully next summer we will get to experience new and fast-paced adventures from investigators Leo Asko (born Askovitz) and Daniel Janovsky.” – Hakehila magazine

“A murder, international crime and a harsh environment with a background of Judaism create a story with no shortage of action and twists. (…) North of Sodom is a fascinating work that keeps the reader in its grasp.” – Kirjakaapin kummitus literary blog

“Jewish mysticism and mythology woven into a thriller represents Davidkin in his purest form. (…) Helsinki comes to life splendidly through the text, and the experience of the setting is enhanced with visits to Berlin and Israel. (…) Davidkin leaves many aspects open, intentionally and temptingly, and because he has me hooked, I want to know more about the hidden phases of the Asko(vits) family, Janovsky’s (self)exploration and the Christian Rembrant’s messages to future generations of Jews.” – Tuijata literary blog