What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal. Until he is faced with the incalculable, after a series of unforeseeable events. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from some dangerous men who are very keen to get their money back. All improbable and complicated problems. But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, a happy-go-lucky artist with a chequered past, whose erratic lifestyle bewilders him. As the criminals go to increasingly extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri’s relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…
ABOUT ANTTI TUOMAINEN Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author 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. A TV adaptation is in the works, and Jussi Vatanen (Man In Room 301) has just been announced as a leading role. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing/Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, Antti Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.
My thoughts: this is a very funny book, I giggled all the way through. My sense of humour is a bit weird. I think Henri would be confused as to why I found his misadventures so funny.
Henri is part of what makes it so entertaining, he has a very precise way of seeing the world, he is an actuary after all. Everything he does he weighs up and runs the numbers.
Having worked at an indoor soft play centre (known as Hell to staff) I could picture the adventure park Henri inherits from his financially disastrous brother very well. The hordes of screaming children, the deeply obnoxious parents, the dead eyed staff. I doubt our bosses ever had the bright idea of turning it into a bank though. Or getting involved with criminals who like to bake. Mostly because I’m pretty sure they were the criminals.
But Henri decides to save the park, his oddball employees, and the giant rabbit by the entrance with his rather crazy idea, and that means getting involved with loan sharks, avoiding the police inspector who’s showing a keen interest in the park, and generally trying not to panic.
It’s all utterly hilarious and charming, especially as his only ally is Schopenhauer the cat, who can’t exactly help out. And maybe Laura, who he’s rather charmed by. But Henri is determined to prevail and win the day. It’s that or a rather ugly death at the hands of the baking loan shark. I loved this book, it was over far too quickly and I need to know what became of Henri and Laura.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.