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Wednesday 28 November 2018

‘Palm Beach Finland’ by Antii Tuomainen

Published by Orenda Books,
18th October 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-912374-31-1 (PB)

How can one shy away from what’s described as Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear…Sun Protection Factor 100? In some ten years in the genre of crime fiction   this Finnish author has amply demonstrated his talent and   versatility. Three acclaimed books precede this one, namely  The Healer, The Mine and The Man Who Died all quite different and page-turning and earning him the accolade from the Finnish media as the King of Helsinki Noir.  

Assuredly translated by David Hackston, the story whisks the reader to a sleepy seaside town that has been subjected to a rebranding, as the title suggests, as a must go to holiday resort, by businessman Jorma Leivo, a small-time fraudster.   Desperate to get his hands on the last piece of real estate to add value to his garish chalet village dotted with plastic palm trees, he hires, on the cheap, a couple of hapless bungling amateurs to scare and wear down its owner, glamorous windsurfer Olivia recently back in her home town to claim her dilapidated inheritance.

Their tactics goes awry and Jan Nyman, a canny detective in the covert operations unit of the National Central Police is rushed in undercover (a Maths teacher on holiday) to investigate a professional hit that has taken place. 

Written from multiple viewpoints which render the story truly engaging, the cast of characters is diverse and wildly eccentric, and simply leap from the page; the situations are satirical, slapstick and farcical and the dialogue is crisp and darkly comic.  The author’s skill in weaving a riveting tale that never falters or bores is not only highly original, deeply tongue in cheek, and imaginatively spunky but also masterful.  What’s not to like?  It’s a fantastic read that doesn’t disappoint.  
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax

Finnish author Antti Tuomainen was born in Helsinki, Finland where he lives with his wife. He 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.

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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