Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen (translated by David Hackston) #BookReview #BlogTour

Sex, lies and ill-fitting swimwear ... Sun Protection Factor 100
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’.

I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Palm Beach, Finland today, huge thanks to Antti Tuomainen, Orenda Books and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.

It's my birthday today and what better way to celebrate than to share my thoughts on another superb book by one of my favourite authors? The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen was probably my favourite novel of 2017 and I was thrilled to learn Palm Beach, Finland would be another black comedy thriller.
The book opens with a death involving a whisk and an unfortunate slip and as a result an undercover detective, Jan Nyman is sent to the beach resort to investigate the mystery, which has stumped local officers. In the guise of Jan Kaunisto, a maths teacher on holiday, he must decide whether their main suspect, Olivia Koski ordered the killing or was just unlucky to have had a suspicious death occur in her home. Jan arrives in a town unlike any other in the country. The resort has been bought and rebranded by Jorma Leivo who aims to bring the pleasures of Florida to Finland and has created a holiday village inspired by Miami Vice, including a row of brightly coloured chalets named after the characters of the show.
The residents of Palm Beach, Finland are as colourful as the chalets, and none more so than Leivo who has a unique line in sales patter, whether extolling the virtues of the amenities of the resort,

"Volleyball, tennis, mini golf. Three holes, so Tiger Woods would approve. Dancing classes - our instructor's been to Mexico, so we're talking world-class salsa."

or attempting to persuade Olivia to sell her 'sex-murder' house and land to him. Jan isn't the only visitor trying to uncover the truth about the murder and the victim's brother, Holma also arrives in town - and he's a dangerous man... What follows is a thoroughly engaging, frequently hilarious plot involving half-baked plans and sneaky double-crossing with often farcical results. The introduction of Holma definitely adds bite to the proceedings; much of the black humour comes from his inner thoughts but there's no doubting his menace and his eventual plans for Olivia are genuinely disturbing.
Many of the laughs in the book come about from the juxtaposition between how other people see the characters and what they believe of themselves. Holma considers himself a Renaissance Man and berates the organiser of a talent show for allowing just one talent per entrant, explaining that some people are blessed with many talents. Other people just see a rather odd man with strange features and a bad haircut. Jorma Leivo is almost alone in seeing himself as a visionary entrepreneur even though his deckchairs are empty with the Finnish climate meaning people are more likely to be shivering than sunbathing, and while the rest of the town view Chico as a penniless beach-bum, he still dreams of being the next rock god -  if only he had the money to buy a decent guitar. Even Jan has issues with his fabricated persona and his true self although he at least is more aware of the difference, reminiscing about a previous undercover case where he'd made many new friends to whom he couldn't give his real name and whom he could never see again.
From the very funny set pieces to the wryly amusing observations peppered throughout the story, Palm Beach, Finland is a sheer delight from start to finish. It's probably a slightly annoying novel to read in company judging by my family's response every time I interrupted their activities by laughing loudly several times, including at the lyrics of Chico's magnum opus, Beach Princess and at an unfortunate young man's problems with his joystick... It is, however, the book to read for anybody seeking something a bit different from their usual choices, particularly those who love crime novels but can't help feeling they're often reading variations on a theme. This is the only book I've read twice this year and I loved it just as much second time around; it is a uniquely irreverent, very cleverly crafted story which kept me guessing throughout as to the eventual outcome and left me smiling long after I finished it. I really must also praise David Hackston's sterling work in translating the novel, he once again has brought Antti Tuomainen's words seamlessly to English readers. Palm Beach, Finland is another absolute triumph of a book by the King of Helsinki Noir and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Palm Beach, Finland is published by Orenda Books, purchasing links can be found here. Don't forget to check out some of the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

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.


  1. Happy Birthday Karen and thank you so much for this awesome Blog Tour support x


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