Just one spreadsheet away from chaos…
What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.
And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. 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 criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.
But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to 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…
Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.
I am a massive fan of Antti Tuomainen’s writing and was excited to open the pages of his new novel and delve right in. His writing is always dark and quirky, full of characters that leap straight off the page into the reader’s mind. So fully formed, you can almost imagine them walking down the street next to you.
Henri is a delight, he is warm, funny and in an oddly comforting way isolated from the often-crazy world around him. I loved the way the writer didn’t alter his natural inclination towards resisting change as if by magic, but gradually opening him up to the possibility of a life where allowing others in, has its own rewards. He is honest, prefers the company of his cat and yet when thrown into a world of criminal activity, murder and violence, his quiet resilience is his greatest strength. Antii Tuomainen draws characters that defy the expectations you have of them, especially in The Rabbit Factor. He takes Henri from the ordered world of an insurance mathematician, turns his life upside down and proves that not all hero’s wear cloaks and sometimes they are capable of actions that are bat shit crazy, so out of character, that you will find yourself cheering him on, no matter what he does. In Henri the writer has created a warm, loving character and in doing so, manages to make him funny and surprising, off-centre in a way any reader can understand and never predict. That is the beauty of the way Antti Tuomainen writes his characters, you can always relate to Henri, love him and cheer him on, laughing at the most unexpected moments, never at him, but because part of you can’t help but find the absurdity of the situation he finds himself in very entertaining.
The story itself is both funny and moving. I didn’t expect to feel such an emotional attachment to Henri, but by the end, I found his quirky reaction to his new life, his palatable shock at being removed from a world of order into criminal chaos, deeply endearing. I laughed at the assemble cast of peculiar characters and loved how the writer wove them in and out of the story, using them to distract and deceive the reader, while the true mastermind of what you hope will be their combined redemption or fear could be their failure, worked their magic behind the scenes. The joy is that you never really know, if the adventure park can be saved, if Henri can not just find love, but navigate his way through the chaos to grab it with both hands, until Antti Tuomainen flicks the switch to reveal all. He weaves all these characters and the absurdity of the events into what is a well-controlled, perfectly played out drama about the random, crazy way,life sometimes throws us curve balls, that we either catch or find our lives in free fall. As Henri and we discover, sometimes life cannot be predicted, that mathematical equations don’t provide all the answers, but in the richness of the world outside his normal world, Henri is about to find out just what he is capable of.
It is one hell of a ride, full of surprises and always, funny.
The Rabbit Factor can be purchased directly from the publisher Orenda Books.
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About the author
Finnish 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 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 (2018) was an immense success, with The Times calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’, and Little Siberia (2019) was shortlisted for the Capital Crime/Amazon Publishing Readers Awards, the Last Laugh Award and the CWA International Dagger, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel. The Rabbit Factor is the first book in Antti’s first-ever series. Follow Antti on Twitter @antti_tuomainen, or on Facebook: facebook.com/AnttiTuomainen.
About the translator
David Hackston is a British translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain, two crime novels by Matti Joensuu and Kati Hiekkapelto’s Anna Fekete series (which currently includes The Hummingbird, The Defenceless and The Exiled, all published by Orenda Books). He also translates Antti Tuomainen’s stories. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki.
Follow David on Twitter @Countertenorist