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Friday 17 January 2020

‘Little Siberia’ Antti Tuomainen

Tranlated by David Hackston
Publsihed by Orenda Books,
17 October 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-912374-51-9 (PBO)

A remote town in Finland, in the dead of winter. A man is driving at speed along a road when a meteorite crashes into his car. It turns out to be immensely valuable, and villagers take turns guarding it in their local museum until it can be collected for secure storage.  One of the guards is the local pastor, and there’s a break-in on his first watch, which involves him in an escalating cycle of violence.

Apart from the opening chapter, Pastor Joel narrates this fast-moving thriller about sudden bolts from the blue - manna from heaven. He’s an engaging, honest narrator whose dilemma quickly draws you in: his beloved wife, Krista, has told him that she’s pregnant. However Joel was injured in Afghanistan, and hasn’t dared to confess to Krista that he can’t father a child. His attempts to find out who Krista’s lover is while simultanously dealing with several plots to take the meteor provide a good deal of black humour, and his time in the army has left him capable of dealing in a most un-pastor-like way with a set of Russian gangsters. Other characters are both entertainingly and sympathetically drawn: the siren Kristiina; Tarvainen, the ex-rally driver; the village elder with selective deafness; enigmatic Krista, and of course Joel’s recurrent doomster parishioner. The background is vividly created, a small town where everyone knows everything, in the grip of Finland’s long, snowy winter.

Fast, funny and surprisingly touching, with memorable characters, non-stop action and a satisfying ending.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

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.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book
Death on a Shetland Isle

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