Ari Räty
Publication date
March 2018
Tammi Publishers
Format info
309 pages



”How far from the light is it possible for a man stray?”
A taut thriller propelled by the deadly bonds between lawlessness and the law

A Mercedes explodes on an expressway. The passenger – a member of a powerful Latvian criminal cartel – escapes by the skin of her teeth.

Moments before, Detective Hagman of the Finnish police force called off his long-standing deal with the Latvians. From here on out, customs will no longer turn a blind eye to their activities.

Meanwhile, in a remote prison, a man who goes by the name of September is serving a life sentence for assassinating a sales rep by firebomb. When another convict arrives in the same prison block, September is ordered to keep an eye on him. Hagman doesn’t want anyone screwing with his profit margins.

September does as he’s told. If there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s this: you don’t want to end up on Hagman’s bad side.

Who is Hagman protecting and why? What’s the link between the Latvians and legal counsel for a multinational corporation? And what role do the Italians play in the gun trade?

In his second crime novel, Ari Räty offers readers occasional glimpses of a surprisingly touching humanity while weaving a chilling web of ruthless underworld bosses, their minions and muscle, and a police force infected by rot and brutality. No one can escape evil’s touch, and those who succumb to it once are never free of the past – always on guard, death nipping at their heels. Another Detective, Eskelinen, captures Shadowman’s driving theme when he asks: ”How far from the light is it possible for a man stray?”


Räty’s first crime novel, What September Saw, received particular praise for its evocative mood and masterful, muscular, even exquisite prose. It was nominated for the Best Debut of the Year award, the first crime novel in the award’s history to be so recognized. What September Saw is a coming of age, love and detective story inhabiting the genre of crime fiction, and Shadowman continues the story in the same somber tones, telling of anger and despair, as well as failure, but there is also room for beauty and love. And hope.


Reading materials

English sample
English synopsis
Letter from the Author
Finnish edition


Praise for the work

“A grim game with high stakes (…) Räty has created a completely new perspective on the activities of criminals and the police. (…) There is no frontline between good and evil. Everyone is evil, as they are blinded by greed and thirst for power. (…) The events proceed as in a masterful game of chess. The moves of the opponent are anticipated and carefully considered before countering. Although violence plays a central role in the counteractions, it is not the focus of the text. The thoughts and plans of Hagman and his inner circle feature much more prominently. Shadowman is a fresh and topical, world-class thriller.” – Salon Seudun Sanomat newspaper

“With his work Shadowman, Ari Räty represents Finland noir. He made his breakthrough one year ago with What September Saw. Räty is already becoming a heavyweight in Finnish literature. This is a man to follow. (…) The gallery of characters in the work is exceptionally ample and fleshy. Räty knows how to write beauty into coarseness and barbarity. This device entices the reader along so that you have to read it in one go. Räty has a sharp pen.” – Kauppalehti newspaper

“(…) With his two novels, Räty has made new inroads in modern Finnish thriller literature by rejecting the templates of traditional detective mysteries and police novels.” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper

“Räty has created a fluffy, light detective novel with short chapters and a broad cast of characters that suit the eventful plot well. With his clever descriptions of nature, the author creates well-envisioned atmospheres. A positively surprising feature that, when contrasted with the roughness and ease of the novel, creates a successful balance. (…) a nice find, with just the right amount of power and an original approach!” – Mummo matkalla literary blog