Today I’m thrilled to be reviewing this book as part of the blog tour. Many thanks to Orenda Books for having me on the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.
The Book: What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal. Until he is faced with the incalculable, after a series of unforeseeable events.
After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from some dangerous men who are very keen to get their money back.
All improbable and complicated problems. But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, a happy-go-lucky artist with a chequered past, whose erratic lifestyle bewilders him. As the criminals go to increasingly extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…
The Review: I feel I have to start this review by saying I work for an insurance company. Not as an actuary or anything like that, but it does give me a little more insight into the workings of such a company and this made the beginning of this book so much funnier. I don’t always pick up on humour in books, sometimes I just don’t find books labelled as hilarious to be particularly funny at all. This one however is different. The way the humour comes through, especially from Henri just being himself, was brilliant. I was genuinely laughing at points and that’s not something I do often.
I don’t know it this scenario would ever happen in really life, if it did I think it would be hard to believe but it’s brilliant as the plot of a novel. Between Henri being very accurate and wanting everything ordered and correct and everyone else not being like that, it makes for some very interesting conversations. There’s definitely a dark humour in the story too but I actually think that makes it even better.
I really liked Henri, I agreed with him on quite a few things and it was fascinating to see how his way of seeing the world interacted with other people. It’s brilliantly written and unusual in the best way. After all, who would go from doing calculations to repairing a large rabbit ear. I don’t know how else to describe this other than brilliantly bonkers. I absolutely loved this book. There’s so many layers and unexpected events that I don’t want to go into detail on and spoil them but if it sounds like your type of book then definitely give it a go. If you want something completely different then this is possibly exactly what you need.
I don’t know that there’s anything else I can say other than go read it. It’s funny, endearing, dark, puzzling and complex. What more do you need from a book?
Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir ’ when Dark as My Heart was published.
With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. A TV adaptation is in the works, and Jussi Vatanen (Man In Room 301) has just been announced as a leading role.
Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing /Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, AnttiTuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.