A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy
roads of Hurmevaara in Finland, when there is flash in the sky and
something crashes into the car. That something turns about to be a
highly valuable meteorite. With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the
locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood
museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel.
has a lot more on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have
apparently rained down from heaven. His wife has just revealed that she
is pregnant. Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby
isn’t his. As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to
steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation,
and discover who the father of the baby really is.
Transporting the reader to the culture, landscape and mores of northern Finland Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker-than-black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue – both literal and figurative – turn your life upside down.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Whenever I read a novel by Antti Tuomainen I can see it as a Coen Brothers movie. This latest book is a perfect example. The weather, which I just can’t imagine having to cope with and consider it normal. The relationships, where you can see the love and adoration but also the issues and the brilliantly and bizarrely accidents that result in the bad guys being killed.
Joel, the lead character is just wonderful, struggling to cope with his wife’s pregnancy when he knows he can’t be the father he volunteers to look after the meteorite. Little realising that nearly everyone he knows is prepared to do anything to get their hands on it. The way he tried to work out who wanted it most and who had got his wife pregnant was gripping reading,
The setting was a convincing one, remote, sometimes unfriendly where everybody thinks they know about their neighbours but they don’t. How disappointment and disillusionment affected judgement in nearly every character. And like Joel I completely misunderstood at least one character.
Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear … Sun Protection Factor 100
Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.
With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. Having read and enjoyed earlier novels by Antti Tuomainen I knew I would be in for a treat with Palm Beach Finland.
Likened to Fargo, and my thoughts are a day after finishing it, that like that film and similar the reader would appreciate and notice a lot more by reading more than once. I’m sure there are things that I missed on a first read. All because of the fascinating and multi layered characters.
I have my favourites. Chico and Robin, the two hapless criminals whose bizarre mishaps get this novel off to a great start. Lifelong friends, they both have their dreams of a different life. And Muurla, Jan’s boss who constantly reveals too much information about his private life. Nearly every scene that these three appeared in made me laugh. I never knew that an electric whisk or a tide could be so funny.
The author makes the resort of Palm Beach, rival to St Tropez believable. More rundown and a lot quieter and colder but Leivo, the unscrupulous owner is convinced he can make it a success. As long as Olivia can be convinced to sell.
Alongside the humour, unintentional violence and mayhem is the blossoming friendship between Jan and Olivia. Far from straightforward but very sweet. Just wonderful.
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, The Man Who Died is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.
The Man Who Died is a dark, extremely funny novel about the murder of Jaakko. He has not yet died but he knows that his death is imminent and that somebody else is responsible for it. You might think that this book would be depressing but it’s not. Not even Jaakko is depressed, he just wants to find out who wants him dead, eat ice cream and chocolate and drink cola. Without having to worry about weight gain. There was no self-pity, at times he found his situation comical. Even the parts that should have been hurtful, embarrassing or annoying were just accepted.
There were parts of this novel where I couldn’t talk for laughing. It reminded me of a Coen Brothers movie I watched years ago when I had the same reaction. Once I had that image, I started to see this book as a film. I even picked the cast, strangely the lead actor is mentioned later in the book.
As with many reviews, it is easy to reveal too much in a review. There are only a few characters and many bizarre situations that made me think I knew who the murderer was, only to find out that I had been duped. After a while, I gave up trying to work out who had murdered Jaakko and just enjoyed every bit of it.
It is at times slapstick, but original and I could visualize everything as I was reading, unfortunately it could be a while before I eat mushroom soup again.
It will probably be a long time before I read a novel as funny as this
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.
A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late? In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life. A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.
I have read a few Nordic novels this year and this one is slightly different to the rest. It’s not a detective novel but tells the story of a journalist who is trying to uncover the truth about a mine in the Northern Finland. His account is portrayed alongside that of an assassin who is on a killing spree. Both stories are connected but it is not clear at first how and why.
The me, the investigation into the mine wasn’t as captivating as Janne’s personal life. It was like he pressed the self -destruct button. How his own childhood, not having his father present was influencing his own role as a father. He knows that he was risking his own family life by following the story but he couldn’t stop himself, getting the story of his life and the fame that went with it, or doing a job that he will hate but having the family life he craved.
The assassin’s story was chilling, the level of violence was sharp when inserted into a story that was mainly quiet. It’s a novel where all the characters are believable even if some were not particularly likeable. The isolation and loneliness that the characters experienced were all very convincing. Remote villages, completely cut off from the cities. Some scenes were quite cold, not just because of the weather with its eye watering amounts of snow but also attitudes with the need to keep the truth about the mine quiet. The ending was a little unexpected, but after digesting it for a few days I think it worked very well.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.