Today I’m delighted to be sharing my review of “The Man Who Died”, by Antti Tuomainen, as part of his Blog Tour.
About the book:
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he’s dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists. With a nod to Fargo and the best elements of the Scandinavian noir tradition, “The Man Who Died” is a page-turning thriller brimming with the blackest comedy surrounding life and death, and love and betrayal, marking a stunning new departure for the King of Helsinki Noir.
*Firstly, thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the free copy in exchange for a review, and to Anne Cater for arranging the tour*
The book opens with a conversation in a Doctor’s surgery, between the protagonist, Jaakko Kaunismaa and his Doctor. Jaakko has had some tests done, and the Doctor is breaking the news that he is slowly dying from being poisoned very slowly. Jaakko has not taken the news well, and chooses to try and discover who is killing him before he dies. Whilst a chunk of the book is taken with this storyline, there is another storyline running through – the day to day running of his mushroom business and run ins with a newly opening mushroom business. Is there room for both? And who wants him dead, and why?
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and I couldn’t put it down. It is full of dark humour and interesting and amusing characters. Fast paced and full of twists and turns. I cannot compare it with his other books as he is a new writer to me – although I have been aware of his books for some time. It’s very different from anything that I have read before.
I was very impressed by the translation – it felt like one of the better pieces of translated fiction I have read. The words almost seemed poetic.
As a character, I loved Jaakko. His sheer determination, his emotions and paranoia meant you never knew what was real and what was his imagination.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
I gave it 5*
About the author:
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) 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 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labeled The Healer – the story of a writer who is desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – as “unputdownable”. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.