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Thursday 3 November 2022

‘The Moose Paradox’ Antti Toumainen

Translated by
David Hackston

Published by Orenda Books,
27 October 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-914585-34-4 (HB)

I was drawn in right at the start of this, with the wonderful narrative voice: the story’s being told by Henri Koskinen, an insurance probabilities calculator, who puts his faith in mathematics to get his adventure park back on its financial feet – except, it seems, it’s not his adventure park after all ... and I daren’t say any more than that, because this story carries straight on from the end of the first in this trilogy, The Rabbit Factor.

This Finnish thriller begins with action: the park has just closed when Henri sees a bicycle that shouldn’t be there – ridden, it turns out, by someone who’s apparently out to kill him. The story then twists to eight days earlier, and the puzzling behaviour of Henri’s employees – it looks like they’re being extra nice to him – but why? Because they know he has a shock in store ...  and the plot spins off from there, with black comedy mixed in with breathless action.

The characters are great: Henri has a sly humour of his own, but there’s also huge entertainment in watching him try to make sense of this chaotic world where even mathematics doesn’t help much – particularly with the gorgeous Laura Helanto, who seems, well, can he believe it, interested in him. There’s a real sense of place, both the Adventure Park and Finnish life in general. The Moose of the title is a new ride which for some sinister reason the makers don’t want to sell Henri. The characters are great: Kristian, who just wants an important-sounding title, Esa, who may or may not have been in the Marines, Johanna who runs the Curly Cake Café and dreams of a French bistro, Minttu K, the usually sozzled office manager ... and of course the wonderfully-drawn joker in the pack. You all know someone like him, and you’re cheering for poor Henri all the way to the twist at the end.

A fantastic Finnish roller-coaster thriller. I hadn’t read The Rabbit Factor, the first in the trilogy, before I’d read The Moose Paradox, but it didn’t matter at all – except that I enjoyed The Moose Paradox so much that I went straight to Amazon to get The Rabbit Factor on Kindle. If you haven’t read that one, start there - and enjoy!

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
A Shetland Winter Mystery 

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