I’m very pleased today to be able to share my review for The Man Who Died by Annti Tuomainen published by Orenda Books. My thanks go to them and Anne Cater for the copy and opportunity to review in exchange for an honest opinion.
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.
Jaakko Kaunismaa is a successful entrepreneur, at 37 years old he’s in his prime until he is confronted with the truth by his Dr, he’s been poisoned and doesn’t have long to live. Jaakko then decides to do some investigating and find who wants him dead, but things aren’t quite so easy for poor Jaakko and with time not on his side his investigations turn up some unexpected shocks.
Oh I really like Jaakko, he is such a great character. It was really easy to connect with him and I couldn’t help feeling quite in awe of the way he dealt with his diagnosis. I mean if it was me I’d probably be in total shock, not able to function properly and go a bit crazy but Jaakko, although in shock understandably, takes matters into his own hands, he’s got a determination to live and find out what the heck is going on.
There are number of suspects in The Man Who Died, the main one being Taina. Jaakko’s wife. So not only has he been poisoned he finds out that his marriage of seven years might not be quite as happy as he’d thought but with lots of twists and turns and quite a few red herrings thrown in, this isn’t an open and shut case.
I have to admit that The Man Who Died took me totally by surprise. I’d read the description a while ago, so by the time I read the book I’d forgotten basically what it was about. I was expecting quite a dark read, I wasn’t expecting the humour though. I spat my coffee out a couple of times laughing, and I think this really made the book for me.
The Man Who Died is filled with some fabulous characters, it’s suspenseful, thrilling and with the dark humour added, it’s just an absolute cracker of a read. Tuomainen has produced a story that’s really hard to put down and one I really didn’t want to end. It’s a story that’s so easy to visualise while you’re reading with beautiful descriptions of Finland making it feel like you are there along with Jaakko.
Brilliantly translated by David Hackston, The Man Who Died is an exciting rollercoaster of a story that I will be highly recommending.
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 of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labeled 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.