About The Book
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 the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.
Last year I read and reviewed The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen and loved its dark humour cleverly wrapped up within a mystery. It even got the gold seal of approval from my dad who declared it one of the best books he had ever read – high praise indeed. When I was at Theakston’s Crime Writing Festival in July this year I managed to snaffle a copy of his new book, Palm Beach Finland off the lovely Karen Sullivan, Queen of Orenda Books and as you can imagine, I was over the moon.
This is another brilliant book from Antti Toumainen and contains more of his trademark dark humour and intricate plotting. The book opens with a series of slapstick style events that culminate in a death of a man. The prime suspect is the owner of the house in which the body was found, Olivia Koski but she has an alibi for the time of the murder and has no idea why this man was in her house and more importantly why he is dead. Jan Nyman, an undercover detective assumes the identity of a maths teacher on holiday and is sent to Palm Beach Finland, a man-made resort. It contains pretty chalets, wind surfing lessons and cocktails and wouldn’t look out of place on a Mediterranean beach but instead is on the chilly Finnish coast.
At the risk of sounding like an X Factor contestant, I loved how the characters in this book all go on a journey. There’s Jan, the detective who is recently divorced, Olivia whose father has recently died and who has inherited his money-pit of a house, hapless friends Chico and Robin and Leivo owner of Palm Beach Finland. Each of these people are dreaming of bigger and better things and choose different ways of fulfilling their ambitions. My favourite character by far was Leivo who is all bluster and incredible sales pitches. He wants Palm Beach Finland to be a tourist hot spot and bigger than some of the most popular resorts in Europe – I mean, who wouldn’t want to sit on a beach when it is 11 degrees and cloudy? The story is told from different viewpoints meaning that we get to know each of the characters well and their foibles and faults become clear to see. I love this style of writing and it is handled well in this book and isn’t complicated to read despite the number of characters.
It is a fast paced book with short chapters that keep you turning the page and wanting ti know what happens next. It is well-plotted and intriguing with characters that leap from the page. It is clear that Antti Tuomainen has a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humour as it oozes from the pages. I was never sure which of the characters I pitied and worried about more as they are all pretty hapless and it becomes a kind of comedy of errors at times.
I love Antti Tuomainen’s writing (and the brilliant translation by David Hackston)- it is dark and delicious and wickedly tongue in cheek. There is an irreverent humour in this book with a side of slapstick thrown in for good measure. I mean, is it weird to be reading a crime book and have a huge goofy grin on your face? Because that’s what happens when you read a book by this author. If you like your crime dark with a side of sass then this could be the book for you. He’s a kind of Finnish Mick Herron, if Mick Herron wrote about hapless criminals on freezing cold beach resorts that is. Anyway, it’s good. Actually, it’s better than good, it is exceptional. Go on, treat yourself – it is a moreish treat that deserves to be read in one sitting.
About The Author
Finnish Antti Tuomainen 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. Two years later, 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.
My thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the Blog Tour and for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. Palm Beach Finland is out now in ebook and is published on the 18th October on paperback and it can be pre-ordered here.