Author: Antti Tuomainen (translated by David Hackston)
Genre: Humorous Mystery
Format: Paperback 304 pages
Release Date: 18 October 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Firstly I would like to thank Anne Cater and Karen at Orenda Books for inviting me to join the tour and the copy of the book they provided me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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.
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Firstly I think a mention should be given to the translator David Hackston who without his superb translation I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this book. David has done a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the book and translating this into English.
Once known as Pine View Chalets, but now transformed into Palm Beach Finland, with a vibrant colour scheme of turquoise, pastel blue, pastel pink and green, think Butlins back in it’s hay day and you’ll begin to get a picture of the scene that’s being set here.
Jorma Leivo is the owner of PBF and Chico and Robin work for him on the resort. Leivo tasks them with a slightly different job outside their normal duties and asks them to make a nuisance of themselves to Olivia Koski who owns a desirable plot of land that Leivo desperately wants to get his hands on in order to expand his vision for the resort. Leivo offers them £5,000 to complete this job and as Chico has dreams of strumming a Les Paul guitar the money just seems too hard to pass up.
Leivo is a brilliant character. I conjured up images of him as a cheesy car salesman type who would do and say anything to make a quick buck. Clearly thinks he is far more important than he actually he is and lives a deluded fantasy thinking he’s going to make PBF the next big resort that all the rich and famous will want to visit.
Chico and Robin are a brilliant double act. They are a right pair of bumbling idiots with some great banter between them. They actually seem as if they might be nice guys but are just too greedy and driven by the prospect of money to make the right decision. They turn up at Olivia’s house one night and decide to throw a stone through the window and lets just say things head downhill from there, a much bigger crime is committed than the one they intended and Jan Nyman is called in to investigate the case.
Throughout this book there are some brilliantly crafted sections of writing which had me laughing out loud with the situations some of these characters get into. The book for me had a feel of a Quentin Tarantino movie about it with it’s dark comedy. This is crime fiction with a bit of a twist and crime fiction for those that wouldn’t normally read this genre. Having said that, I think this book is so unique it kind of creates it’s own genre! I would recommend everyone giving this book a read for the fabulously witty, hilariously funny dialogue alone.
About the Author
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011 Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula. The Man Who Died brought him to his literary best.
Follow Antti on Twitter @antti_tuomainen, on Facebook facebook.com/AnttiTuomainen and on his website: www.antituomainen.com
About the Translator
David Hackston is a British Translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain, two crime novels by Matti Joensuu and Kati Hiekkapelto’s Anna Fekete series (which currently includes The Hummingbird, The Defenceless and The Exiled, all published by Orenda Books). He also translates Antti Tuomainen’s stories. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki. Follow David on Twitter @Countertenorist
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