Award-winning author Antti Tuomainen launches his first series with The Rabbit Factor, an energetic black comedy, currently being adapted for the screen by Amazon/Mandeville Films with Steve Carell to star, and Antti executive producing.
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.
If Tuomainen hadn’t informed me that Henri was 42 I would have guessed he was in his 50’s. Why? His whole demeanour was that of a much older, but definitely not wiser man. Tuomainen gave him set routines, a life ruled by endless mathematical calculations as to the probability of outcomes, in other words a controlled and constrained existence.
At times it was funny, those tense nervous moments when a normal individual would just get on with it, Henri, stopped and calculated before proceeding. At other times it was frustrating, and I often found myself furious, wanting to shout at him.
Yet Tuomainen had a purpose, one that saw Henri lose his job as an actuary and to his and our amazement inherit an adventure park. The questions we now asked ourselves were just how would Henri cope, the clamouring noise and chaos of children, parents, and the staff with their myriad of idiosyncrasies. As if that wasn’t enough, Tuomainen added a few wonderful criminals, criminals who were owed money, who would stop at nothing to get it back.
You prepared yourself for a Henri on the run, the uncertainty an absolute killer. Instead here was a Henri who continually surprised, who literally mathematically calculated his way through the numerous encounters with Lizard Man, AJ and the big boss.
At times it was comical, cinnamon buns, wheel barrows and freezers all part of Henri’s new experiences. I never sensed any fear, just an unwavering intellect, a certainty that mathematics would always provide the answer.
Of course it wasn’t all criminals and dark moments, Tuomainen didn’t forget that lurking underneath Henri’s stern exterior was a new softer man just waiting to emerge.
What better way than for Tuomainen to access than Laura, general manager of the park, a hidden past, a talented artist. They made a brilliant working team, but on a personal level the careful tiptoeing around each other, their thoughts and feelings went unsaid. I wanted to knock their heads together, but knew it would be in vain until Tuomainen decided their fate and I had to temper my impatience. Typically the course of true love never runs smoothly and Tuomainen certainly made them and ourselves wait to discover if love conquered all.
I loved Tuomainen’s mix of the serious and the funny, of physical violence versus intelligent and strategic thought, and if a man who discovered that life could and would be so much different from what he envisaged.
It will be interesting to see who the film company will cast as Henri, what the adventure park will look like and to finally see the giant rabbit with the damaged ear materialise on the screen.
I would like to thank Orenda Books For a copy of the Rabbit Factor to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
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, Antti Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.