I am breaking my own rule. I am reviewing an Orenda Books novel. Why? Because I loved it to pieces. Also, it feels so good to review without a deadline! I just read, wrote, and now I am posting. And it feels right to start the summer holiday on a beach in Finland!
Thank you Orenda Books for feeding me with the most extraordinary novels and for being responsible for my lack of sleep.
This review is my unbiased thank you to the publisher and the author.
Title: Palm Beach, Finland
Author: Antti Tuomainen
Date of publication: 30th October 2018
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: uncorrected proof
Number of pages: 300
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 dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.
How do I even begin this review?
Everywhere you look, there is Scandi fiction, old or new authors getting known because we can’t get enough of this genre, those settings, the freezing exotic side of books coming from the north.
But as much as I love the trend that has been going on for more than ten years now, like with every genre, you end up feeling many titles sound the same. You know what to expect when you open the book. You can rely on many names for a good reading time.
Well now you can rely on Antti Tuomainen for a new Scandi genre. Scandi perfect, I would call it. Mr Tuomainen is the bearer of a new wave of Nordic fiction. Palm Beach, Finland is the epitome of dark humour brilliantly mixed with genuine, touching characters bound to make you react in the most inappropriate but human ways and a strongly-weaved plot which brings to life a world you won’t want to get away from.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Palm Beach Finland when I started it. The name made me smile. What possible connection could there be between the hot and sweaty Palm Beach and the beautiful but freezing Finland? You might think like just for oil and water, these ingredients don’t match. You are wrong. They do. Oh yes, they do.
The opening is a killer.
It usually takes me a few sentences to get into a book, to get the feeling of the novel and get used or re-used to the author’s style but here. Love at first sight. Punchy lines. Raw truths.
A mundane resort with a small community and non-Catholic things happening. What’s not to love???
Jan is sent to investigate a weird case. A man died in a house that wasn’t his. Woohoo.
I see you here. I can hear your thoughts. What’s different from all the books already published? The author is the difference. Antti Tuomainen’s narrative is sharp, his humour as dark as the ink flowing out of the tip of his pen. (Yes, in my mind, authors still write on paper. My review, my rules.) There is no other way to convey how the superb and smooth writing breathes life into a satire of life and human nature.
Meet the thick, the intriguing, the beautiful, the greedy. Fall for the improbable setting. Feel the sand between your toes. Keep company to the characters. I did. I loved every minute of it. There is not a single chapter, scene or word I would gloss over. I laughed out loud. My eyes grew as big as a goldfish’s bowl at times. I kept wondering what surprises the next page would bring. Be prepared for ‘What the…?!’ wonderful moments!
As the name implies, Scandi Noir can be quite heavy and intense. Palm Beach, Finland offers the best of a police investigation with an undercover cop you can’t help but fall for, and it doesn’t stop there. Suspicions are all around, everyone has something to hide, and yet…
And yet there is so much pleasure to take from reading about this murder. Yes, pure pleasure coming from a different literary voice tackling the issues we are used read about. The case is the perfect pretext to take a closer look at what drives us to do what we do. Like a summer breeze, swimming in and out of the muddy water with witty remarks, spot-on comments, and an attention to details that make this trip to the ocean a million times worth it, the author hits the mark and provides a unique and unforgettable tale of dreams.
I will not give anything away regarding the plot, or even the characters. This must me one of the vaguest reviews I have ever written. But this is okay. I truly believe in Palm Beach, Finland, in its cover, and in the novel itself, and I have no doubts you will love it.
The only thing that prevented me from finishing this book in one sitting was sleep. I stayed up as late as my eyes permitted it, promising myself to return to Palm Beach, Finland with my morning apple juice. Now I feel like an orphan waiting for the next flight to Antti Tuomainen’s world.
Pre-order the book on Amazon to get the ebook format in August!!!
(Ps: He is SUPER TALL)