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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Finnish author Antti Tuomainen 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 labelled 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.
The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen begins with a startling revelation for our protagonist, Jaakko. Jaakko has been informed by his doctor that he has just weeks or potentially days to live. Jaakko is convinced that he has been murdered and he sets his eyes upon his wife. Can he find out if his wife is involved in his death before his time is up? How long exactly does he have left?
A topic I always find prompts discussion from a group is what would you do if you found out you had a day to live. The question prompts a round of answers: I would raid my bank account; I would eat fast food all day. But what if you thought that you had been murdered? Would you use your final days trying to prove if this was true and to try and find out who did it? I think personally, if this was the situation I was faced with, I would try and spend my final days having fun or at least spending time with friends and relatives.
Many of you will know that I read a lot of crime fiction and to me this book felt very fresh, it’s hard to stand out in such an overcrowded market but I think the author has done just that. There is also plenty of humour in this book which I really liked. We delve into Jaakko’s mind as he contemplates what he has learnt from the doctor and he paints a very philosophical view about our lifetime on this planet.
This is a brilliant book by a talented writer. If you’re looking for something that is a bit different then I would highly recommend The Man Who Died. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for sending me a copy of the book to review and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication date: 10th October 2017
Print length: 300 pages
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