This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
18.10.2018 / Orenda Books / Crime-Noir / Paperback / 300pp / 978-1912374311
Target Audience: Readers who enjoy their thrillers with a dose of humour and an unusual setting. Expect many characters, classic Noir moments and plenty of mayhem.
About Palm Beach, Finland
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.
Antti Tuomainen’s The Man Who Died was a top read for me in 2017 and I was somewhat obsessed with getting my hands on Palm Beach, Finland for another fix. I loved the premise of the odd, almost ironic, setting of a beach side resort in the unforgivably cold climate of Finland. I couldn’t wait to see where Antti Tuomainen would take this story and it absolutely met my expectations. An inquisitive and impressively woven crime narrative with bold characters and the added joy of belly laugh moments makes this a must read for all crime/Noir/black comedy lovers.
Finland’s National Bureau Of Investigations has Jan Nyman undercover as a maths teacher taking a much needed holiday at the ambitiously exotic seaside resort, Palm Beach, Finland. An outsider has been murdered in the community. Killed in mysterious circumstances on the property of a recently returned local, Olivia. It looks like a potential professional hit so Jan has been tasked with finding the perpetrators.
Olivia can’t believe her luck, inheriting a dilapidated house that swiftly became a murder scene. With the shady owner of Palm Beach, Finland, Jorma, breathing down her neck over buying her land for expansion, Olivia is struggling to put her life back together. Holma’s brother is dead and he wants to know who is responsible and will manipulate anyone to find them for his revenge. Jorma has built the vision of Palm Beach, Finland and he will do anything to see his labours come to fruition.
Musician/Lifeguard Chico is a dreamer, but dreams cost money. Chico has to play the criminal game to raise money to fuel his talent but is he up to the task? All these individuals are brought together by a unexpected death. As these individuals continue to cross paths the stakes increase and everyone becomes a suspect in the others eyes. Everyone has something to lose and everything to gain. Leverage, money, ambition, self preservation and retribution all hang in the balance.
I thought AT’s approach to this story was quality and the way he divulged and developed it across many different distinct players was very clever. The different story arcs bring alternative atmospheres, tones and attitudes which I appreciated. I had interesting times with each of the different characters but I would say Holma was the most gripping because of how deluded and psychotic he was. I also really liked Chico and Jan as they had some really great moments that pulled me in and made me care.
It was interesting to see AT cultivate such an approachable, readable and enjoyable novel experience on such short time. For me it was the imagery that made this book whole. The colour, the underlying cracks in the facade and the varied character interactions all stick in my mind, some pleasant, funny or disturbing. Blending tension with wonder; amusement and concern; drama with humour. I also loved the unpredictable nature of AT’s writing, that is something I am constantly looking for in my crime reads. If you dig a little deeper into the setting and the characters actions, it is easy to glean plenty of meaning behind AT’s story telling which is great too. A reminder to be more ambitious, to stand your ground and not to take yourself so seriously. I am becoming addicted to Scandi-Noir and Antti Tuomainen is leading the charge. I don’t have anything bad to say about this novel, it was over before I knew it.
Palm Beach, Finland is an incredibly satisfying and thrilling Noir romp with all the risk, desire and criminal ineptitude you could ever want. Antti Toumainen delivers on all fronts yet again following The Man Who Died with another clever and classic crime story with a variety of characters and a ton of charm and personality. I enjoyed the multi character overlaps, the circumstantial comedic themes and how AT manages to address another common existential crisis in his own way. The unavoidable milestone in life… turning 40. It’s little touches like this that give AT’s work extra depth and charm.
If you want a page-turner that flies by quickly and leaves you refreshingly entertained then Palm Beach, Finland belongs on your reading list. Antti Tuomainen is a talent that should be celebrated and I can’t wait until I get experience another one of his unforgettable outings.
About Antti Tuomainen
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: http://www.antituomainen.com