Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen Orenda Books August 31st 2018
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’
Oh my goodness, what struck me first of all about Palm Beach Finland, was the so called resort of the books title. Run by Jorma Leivo, this was the hottest resort on earth, a resort to rival any other, where celebrities would flock and make it the place to be, except this resort was on a windswept, cold Finnish coastline, it was cold and desolate! Tuomainen’s, description was utterly brilliant and I loved the plastic palm trees swaying in the wind, the cabins named after characters from Miami Vice and the sheer tackiness of the whole place, sending my imagination into overdrive.
If I thought that was good, the myriad of characters that littered the novel were even better. First up was resort owner Jorma Lveivo, a man powered by his dreams to make Palm Beach the best resort in the world. I couldn’t decide if he was a genius or merely delusional, but his lumbering sweating figure and scheming plans certainly made me laugh.
His two henchmen, Chico and Robin were a bit like Laurel and Hardy, cumbersome, and clueless, driven by a desire to earn money and pursue their own delusional dreams. Their blundered attempts to drive Olivia Koski out of her home set off a chain of events that would have consequences that they would never have dreamt of, with often hilarious results.
Olivia Koski, seemed like the only sensible and normal character, returning to her family home after the death of her father, intent on renovating and making a new life for herself. The discovery of a dead body in her house was definitely not what she was expecting and I loved the journey she went on, her determination and astuteness at attempting to make something good out of bad circumstances, she was a woman on a mission!
I loved Jan Nyman, undercover policeman, recovering divorcee, thrust into the middle of Palm Beach to root out the murderer.
And finally we had the brother of the dead body, Holma, not a nice man but hell bent on avenging his brothers death. He was the real villain of the story, a man who could pull out varying identities to suit the differing situations he found himself in. I loved his resourcefulness, and actually thought his scheme to eek out the murderer quite cunning and clever. he was almost like a pantomime villain and everytime he appeared I wanted to boo and hiss and sincerely hoped that he would meet a bad end!
The combination of the characters, each pitted against the other to solve a murder, was brilliantly done giving the novel a real comedic feel. You never quite knew what they were going to get upto next and I found it hard to tear myself away.
The pace didn’t let up and the latter parts were tension filled, funny and damned good, an author not afraid to let his imagination run wild.
I think this is why I liked this novel so much, yes it is very much along the long lines of your typical thriller, but the ideas and settings were utterly unique and it didn’t take itself too seriously.
If you want a thriller with a light humourous touch that is well written, addictive and just very good then I suggest you rush off to your local library and borrow a copy, you will not regret it.
I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Palm Beach Finland to read and review and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
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.