Source: Review copy
Publication: 27 October 2022 from Orenda Books
My thanks to Orenda Books for an advance copy for review
Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen has finally restored order both to his life and to YouMeFun, the adventure park he now owns, when a man from the past appears – and turns everything upside down again. More problems arise when the park’s equipment supplier is taken over by a shady trio, with confusing demands. Why won’t Toy of Finland Ltd sell the new Moose Chute to Henri when he needs it as the park’s main attraction?
Meanwhile, Henri’s relationship with artist Laura has reached breaking point, and, in order to survive this new chaotic world, he must push every calculation to its limits, before it’s too late…
It’s cold and damp here and rising prices threaten my sense of goodwill, but fear not, The Moose Paradox is here to lift my spirits and make me laugh again. Henri Koskinen, former actuary, is a man who lives his life enjoying order and neatness, now he owns and runs an adventure park which he inherited from his brother.
Strangely he has enjoyed the process of bringing the park back into the black, despite some of the very dubious people he has come into contact with. It’s been a very bumpy ride and the adventure park is not yet out of the woods, but Henri has studied the market carefully and he knows what they need to bring the money in to the YouMeFun park.
He’s even found a way to bring the park’s oddball staff into productivity. So although he isn’t yet drawing a salary, he is a man with a plan and that makes him, for the moment, satisfied. But life isn’t as ordered as Henri would wish it, and just when he thinks he can see a path through the dark woods, a whole thorny forest descends on him.
First of all his team are behaving oddly and then there’s the return of someone he thought he would never see again into his life and suddenly all his order is thrown into chaos.
Antti Tuomainen beautifully creates a situation that is rich in comic humour and that breathes a dry and beautifully wrought wit. Then he merges that with some seriously wrong dudes and throws out actuary into a series of situations that are not of his making but which nevertheless he needs to not only resolve but to do so in a manner that will not bring him under suspicion.
All the while, Henri is also trying to deal with the one bit of chaos that he actually wants in his life – his interest in artist Laura Helanto has grown exponentially since he first met her and her desire to build a sculptural element into her murals in the adventure park has his heart beating all the faster.
Antti Tuomainen has a knack for being able to combine some real darkness with the farcical; and that makes sense, for what is more farcical than intentionally setting out to deprive someone of their life and livelihood through heavily armed force all in pursuit of money – the one thing we know will not buy us happiness? It’s even more so when the focus for all this violence is a piece of adventure park equipment in the shape of a moose? That he brings all this together with a warm and engaging tone is immensely creditable.
Verdict: I loved The Moose Paradox and I have grown to love Henri even more. I laughed and I was chilled by his dangerous and thrilling exploits and feared for Henri as he resorted to ever more risky ways to achieve his goal. This is such a fabulous series and The Moose Paradox really is something very special. A must read.
Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author Iin 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. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. Little Siberia (2020), 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. The Rabbit Factor (2021), the first book in Antti’s first ever series, is in production by Amazon Studios with Steve Carell starring. The Moose Paradox, book two in the series is out in 2022.