Friday, November 30, 2018

TV News: Young Wallander

It's recently been announced that Netflix has ordered a UK-Swedish production of a "Young Wallander" series, a six-parter featuring a 20-something Wallander and his first case. Details via Variety:
The adventures of “Young Wallander” are coming to Netflix. The streaming giant has ordered a U.K.-Swedish series based on the early life of Henning Mankell’s popular police inspector, who has already been already depicted on the small screen in the BBC “Wallander” series with Kenneth Branagh and a Swedish version with Krister Henriksson.

“Young Wallander” will see the titular detective tackling his first-ever case. Netflix’s VP of international originals, Erik Barmack, announced the project Wednesday at C21’s Content London event.

“We’re looking at Wallander when he was in his early 20s, before he became so jaded,” he said, noting that Mankell’s books had sold 50 million copies around the world in multiple languages. “When we talked to Berna [Levin] at Yellow Bird and saw the opportunity to work on a project like this, we got really excited.”

Production starts on the serialized six-parter, which will be in English, in 2019.

Levin, creative director at Banijay-owned Yellow Bird U.K., said that “getting to meet Wallander as a young man and explore how the times and his new experiences will shape him to eventually become the man we already know and love is a thrilling opportunity. We are confident he will captivate new audiences and delight longstanding fans once again with his sharp intelligence, youthful enthusiasm and unmistakable humanity.”

Monday, November 19, 2018

Website Updates: November 2018

I've updated the main files on the Euro Crime website today. "Euro Crime" includes both British and other European crime fiction writers (that have been published in English); non-British/European born crime writers who are strongly associated with British/European crime fiction (eg. Donna Leon), and crime writers in translation from outside of Europe.

I've also streamlined the site a little by removing several pages which were obsolete and/or out of date: Competition, Links, and News. New entries have been added to the sidebar for the Euro Crime Facebook page and the Petrona Award website.

Just a couple of reminders regarding the New Releases page:

1. The main by month/by author pages refer to when a book is published (in English) anywhere in the world however the 'by category ie historical, translated etc' is specific to when it's published in the UK.

2. When a book is released "early" in ebook I am taking the publication date as to be when the print edition comes out (this is the rule we use for determining Petrona Award eligibility).

As always, if you spot something wrong or missing, please do let me know.

Here's a summary of the usual updates:

The Author Websites page now lists 1083 sites.

In Bibliographies there are now bibliographies for 2696 authors (13532 titles of which 3098 are reviewed).

I've added new bibliographies for: G D Abson, Michelle Adams, Claire Askew, Lizzy Barber, Hannah Begbie, Alison Belsham, Rachael Blok, Guy Bolton, Jonas Bonnier, James Brabazon, Simone Buchholz, Laura Carlin, B M Carroll, Holly Cave, Lezanne Clannachan, Louisa de Lange, James Deegan, Angus Donald, Sophie Draper, Charlotte Duckworth Nuala Ellwood, Clare Empson, Mick Finlay, Jack Ford, M J Ford, E C Fremantle, Anthony Good, Emily Gunnis, Bradley Harper, Paul Harrison, James Hazel, Kate Helm, K J Howe Christopher Huang, Stina Jackson, Jo Jakeman, B E Jones, Bill Jones, Sandie Jones, Lesley Kara, Serena Kent, Tony Kent, Merle Kroger, Antoine Laurain, Caroline Lea, Mariette Lindstein, Asia MacKay, Louise Mangos, Kate Mascarenhas, H P Maskew, S R Masters, Sarah Meuleman, Alex Michaelides, Emiliano Monge, Phoebe Morgan, Anthony Mosawi, Niklas Natt och Dag, Alex North, Martin Osterdahl, Darren O'Sullivan, Vikki Patis, S W Perry, Heather Redmond, Rebecca Reid, Ane Riel, Maggie Robinson, Palle Rosenkrantz, Jacob Ross, Emma Rous, Michael Rutger, Joanne Sefton, Victoria Selman, Laura Shepherd-Robinson, John Simpson, C J Skuse, A M Taylor, Michael Theurillat, Rebecca Tinnelly, Alan Trotter, Harriet Tyce, Pål Undall, Jessica Vallance, Holly Watt and Yigal Zur.

I've updated the bibliographies (ie added new titles) for: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jane Adams, Tasha Alexander, Hania Allen, Lin Anderson, M J Arlidge, Jennifer Ashley, R J Bailey, Jackie Baldwin, Fiona Barton, Samuel Bjork, Helen Black, Sara Blaedel, Robin Blake, Hilary Bonner, Oliver Bottini, Rhys Bowen, Alan Bradley, Conor Brady, Gyles Brandreth, Simon Brett, Neil Broadfoot, Frances Brody, Ken Bruen, Steve Burrows, Andrea Camilleri, Sam Carrington, Chris Carter, Will Carver, Steve Cavanagh, Ray Celestin, Kimberley Chambers, Paul Charles, Clare Chase, E O Chirovici, P F Chisholm, Rosie Claverton, Rory Clements, Daniel Cole, John Connolly, Lesley Cookman, Julie Corbin, Jane Corry, Colin Cotterill, James Craig, Mike/M W Craven, Richard Crompton, A J Cross, Bill Daly, Paula Daly, Lindsey Davis, Giancarlo De Cataldo, Maurizio De Giovanni, Anja de Jager, Will Dean, J P Delaney, Hannah Dennison, Katerina Diamond, P C/Paul Doherty, Claire Douglas, David Downing, Teresa Driscoll, Joy Ellis, Thomas Enger, Ramon Diaz Eterovic Jessica Fellowes, T P Fielden, Helen Fields, Paul Finch, Elena Forbes, Frederick Forsyth, Christopher Fowler, Dick Francis, Guy Fraser-Sampson Agnete Friis, Robert Galbraith, Robert Goddard, Dolores Gordon-Smith, Andrew Grant, Alex Gray, Camilla Grebe, Susanna Gregory, J M Gregson, Bear Grylls, Patricia Hall, Adam Hamdy, Peter Hanington, Mari Hannah, Elodie Harper, C S Harris Cora Harrison, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles, L V Hay, Elizabeth Haynes, Mandasue Heller, James Henry, Mick/M Herron, Nir Hezroni, Sarah Hilary, Casey Hill, Martin Holmen, Anthony Horowitz, Anna Lee Huber, Graham Ison, Hanna Jameson, Diane Janes, Quintin Jardine, Michael Jecks, Luke Jennings, Philip Gwynne Jones, Emma Kavanagh, Jessie Keane, Erin Kelly, Claire Kendal, Simon Kernick, T E Kinsey, Ali Knight, Renee Knight, Roberta Kray, Snorri Kristjansson, David Lagercrantz, J S Law, Anna Legat, Leena Lehtolainen, Simon Lelic, Donna Leon Catherine Lloyd, Frances Lloyd, H B Lyle, Shona/S G MacLean, Torquil MacLeod, Gilly Macmillan Susan Elia MacNeal, Adrian Magson, Karen Maitland, Michael J Malone, Antonio Manzini, Scott Mariani, David Mark, Edward Marston, Andrew Martin, Faith Martin, Priscilla Masters, Peter May, Nigel McCrery, Andy McDermott, Catriona McPherson, Danny Miller, Caroline Mitchell, Mandy Morton, Peter Murphy, Amy Myers, Jo Nesbo, Hakan Nesser, Vicky Newham, Chris Nickson, John Niven, Ronnie O'Sullivan, James Oswald, Alan Parks, Tony Parsons, Ben Pastor, Anne Perry, Christoffer Petersen, Andreas Pfluger, Henry Porter, Marc Raabe, Cay Rademacher, Deanna Raybourn, Sarah Rayne, Eric Mayer & Mary Reed, Alex Reeve, Rod Reynolds, Matthew Richardson, Phil Rickman, Stella Rimington, Mike Ripley, Peter Robinson, Jenny Rogneby, Jacqui Rose, Emma Rowley James Runcie, Leigh Russell, Simon Scarrow, Jan-Philipp Sendker, Gerald Seymour, Sara Sheridan, Mel Sherratt, Soji Shimada, Jeffrey Siger, Alexander McCall Smith, Anna Smith, Helen Smith, Teresa Solana, Roz Southey, Jo Spain, Michael Stanley Mel/Melvin R Starr, Viveca Sten, Abbie Taylor, Andrew Taylor, Aline Templeton, Sherry Thomas, Will Thomas, E S Thomson, Lesley Thomson, Peter Tickler, M J Tija, Rebecca Tope, Peter Tremayne, S K Tremayne, C J Tudor, Helene Tursten, L C Tyler, Martin Walker, Rachel Ward, Ruth Ware, Douglas Watt, Ashley Weaver, Matt Wesolowski, Neil White, Lucie Whitehouse, Andrew Williams, Andrew Wilson, Jacqueline Winspear, Michael Wood, Tom Wood, Jake Woodhouse and Joakim Zander.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Review: Never Proven by Bill Daly

Never Proven by Bill Daly, November 2018, 320 pages, Old Street Publishing, ISBN: 1910400777

Reviewed by Terry Halligan.
(Read more of Terry's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

This is the fourth book in the Charlie Anderson series by this very talented writer from Glasgow and set in around the town he knows so well.

John Preston an IT consultant is found dead on the streets of Glasgow and DCI Charlie Anderson is very disturbed by the circumstances of the killing which indicate that the victim perhaps knew his assailant. On the same night a local man was attacked in a local pub and had his hand nailed to the floor and it looked like the assailants were connected to the killing but the DCI has a hard case attempting to prove the connection.

As this is the fourth book in the series the detectives in the story become more familiar to the regular reader and their back story provides the author with a rich seam of content to pass on.

As is usual in books of this kind there are many false trails before the ultimate reveal in the final paragraphs.

Bill Daly originally came from Renfrew (near Glasgow). Having spent forty years away from Scotland (living mainly in France) he returned to live in Glasgow in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded The Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Trophy for his novel writing. His first DCI Charlie Anderson thriller BLACK MAIL, published in 2014 became a No 1 Kindle Bestseller in the “Scottish Crime” category.

I always look forward to reading Bill Daly's books as they effortlessly incorporate the seedy nastiness of the tougher parts of Glasgow. They are always very fast moving and evocative and the characters all have a rich credibility. I was, as usual, absolutely gripped until the final dramatic paragraph and look forward to reading more from this very exciting and gifted author.

Very strongly recommended.

Terry Halligan, November 2018.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review: Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen tr. Don Bartlett

Big Sister by Gunnar Staalesen translated by Don Bartlett, June 2018, 271 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 9781912374199

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here and here.)

Norway, Bergen, Spring 2003
Moving out of his office whilst the owners redevelop the building has been unsettling enough for private investigator Varg Veum. But now he is back behind his desk and the woman sitting across from him is telling him that she is his sister. Varg tells her that he found a birth certificate and adoption papers amongst his mother’s things but he admits that he had been reluctant to look for her. His sister in turn had visited their mother back in 1975, to find out who her father was. However big sister Norma Johanne can’t tell Varg anything about the yellowed newspaper cutting he also found amongst their mother’s papers, an article about a jazz band called The Hurrycanes. In fact Norma has really come to Varg to ask him to find her god-daughter Emma, a 19-year-old trainee nurse who disappeared several weeks ago. Her Bergen landlord and flatmates say that she packed up and moved out but they don’t know where to and she isn’t answering her phone. Emma’s father happens to live in Bergen but he left the family under a cloud when Emma was only two years old. Norma Johanne has tried the police but they think she has just taken off somewhere and aren’t interested in pursuing an investigation. So she has come to Varg. Explaining that only the police can check Emma’s bank cards and phone, Varg agrees to investigate.

Varg's first try is Emma’s last known address starting with the landlord's flat on the top floor of the building. There is not much there for him except the landlord’s wife who is drunk and available, her husband being away on business. Varg makes his way downstairs to Emma’s apartment where he speaks to one of the flat mates. She seems disinterested and vague, explaining that they hadn’t really known Emma, she had simply answered their advert for a housemate. But she does remember her once talking about trying to see her father. Emma’s father must be Varg’s next step. There he is greeted by the father’s second wife, Emma’s stepmother, dressed in a tracksuit and impatient to get out on her twice daily run. She dismisses any talk about “that hysterical daughter”. There is a sizeable motorbike chained in the carport and Emma’s father, dressed in leather and denim, is hostile too. He doesn’t want anything to do with Emma. He doesn’t care what, if anything, has happened to her. He never really knew her anyway. Varg continues his search: Emma’s schoolfriend, now studying in Berlin; Emma’s college; her fellow students. But he draws a blank and his impression is that nobody cares much about the girl except perhaps her friend in Berlin.

The past begins to haunt both Emma’s story and that of Varg as he and his new sister make their tentative first steps in connection. Shadowy motives and past traumas begin to emerge alongside connections to a biker gang. Another death closer to home ensnares Varg into real physical danger but still the mystery of Emma refuses to yield its answers until the end of this surprisingly poignant story.

BIG SISTER is the first novel that I have read in Staalesen’s mammoth, established and prize-winning Varg Veum series. I can only hang my head in shame that it has taken so long for me to arrive here. But this also means that there is one thing I can vouch for: Staalesen weaves Veum’s past into the narrative so deftly that the reader can pick up the thread of his life, in as much as it relates to the story, seamlessly. Neither too much is explained nor too little. My hat is doffed. This is the ninth of the UK published Varg Veum series and reads easily and fluently in this translation by Don Bartlett, veteran translator of Nesbo and Knausgaard.
Bartlett himself once described Staalesen’s crime writing as “soft hard-boiled crime”. I suspect Staalesen pays homage to Raymond Chandler and his American West Coast creation Philip Marlowe in its details: the bottle of spirit in the office desk drawer; Norma Johanne Bakkevik – does that ring a bell for Norma Jean Baker/Marilyn Monroe? Even the title of this novel recalls Chandler’s own titled work “The Little Sister”. But perhaps I’m getting carried away.

In BIG SISTER, Staalesen has written a densely interwoven mystery and it's down to Varg Veum to pick apart the strands; a solidly satisfying private eye tale crafted with detailed storytelling, pace, wit and a compassionate eye.
A definite recommend.

Lynn Harvey, November 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

TV News: The Brokenwood Mysteries Series 5

New Zealand's equivalent to Midsomer Murders, The Brokenwood Mysteries, returns to tv channel Drama on 23 November. This is the fifth series, and I believe, like the others is four episodes long.

You can watch previous episodes via the Drama homepage. If you want to watch them in HD - the Drama channel is SD only - then HD copies can be purchased via Amazon Prime Video. They are currently £8.99 a series. This price does fluctuate - I bought series 4 a few days ago at £4.99.

From the Drama website:
On the face of it, Brokenwood is another quiet, country town in New Zealand, the kind you might find just a few hours drive from any city. The people are pleasant and there's a strong sense of community. It has a golf club, regular wine shows, everything you would expect... and a few things you wouldn't, like buried secrets, treacherous lies and fiendish murders. DI Mike Shepherd (Neill Rea) and DC Kristin Simms (Fern Sutherland) are on hand to investigate these small-town crimes in big-sky country. 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: No Time to Cry by James Oswald

No Time to Cry by James Oswald, November 2018, 336 pages, Wildfire, ISBN: 1472249895

Reviewed by Geoff Jones.

(Read more of Geoff's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

Detective Constable Constance Fairchild has a major problem; Lady Constance to give her correct title, or Con as she prefers. Her father is Lord of the Manor in a Northamptonshire village but she is now based with the Met Police in London.

Con has just discovered her boss and good friend Detective Inspector Peter Copperthwaite brutally murdered. He was on an undercover operation and Con was his liaison. Her colleagues believe that she compromised his cover. Detective Superintendent Bailey is scathing of Con's role and immediately suspends her.

Con is desperate to clear her name but gets sidetracked when her brother Ben's girlfriend Charlotte asks her to find her sister Izzy. Izzy has gone missing from her exclusive school (Con went there and was expelled on her last day) and her parents the DeVilliers seem unconcerned. Con is estranged from her parents but is close to her father's sister, her Aunt Felicity. She moves in with her aunt when life gets complicated in London as someone wants her dead! Can Con clear her name? Can she find Izzy and why has she disappeared?

This seems like a new series for the author who is best known for his Detective Inspector McLean series which has eight books (nine in February 2019). Fast paced but at times fairly implausible, Con is a likeable character and there is more to be revealed in her background, so I will look forward to reading more about her in the next instalment. Recommended.

Geoff Jones, November 2018

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Waterstones & Crime Sections

I visited the Waterstones in Birmingham yesterday and I posted these photos on the Euro Crime Facebook page last night commenting that the crime section is separate to the fiction. My local Waterstones took the decision to integrate their crime into the fiction, quite a while back and I thought the Birmingham branch did the same. I'm hoping that the trend is to revert to separate sections. My local library also did this a few years ago but when they reopened after a refurbishment the crime section was back!

I know there is an argument that genre books will sell better/be checked out more when integrated but I find it a bit of a chore to browse as I rarely read anything but crime.

How does your Waterstones/library shelve its crime?

Thursday, November 01, 2018

New Releases - November 2018

Here's a snapshot of what I think is published for the first time in November 2018 (and is usually a UK date but occasionally will be a US or Australian date). November and future months (and years) can be found on the Future Releases page. If I've missed anything or got the date wrong, do please leave a comment.
• Abbott, Rachel - And So It Begins
• Akunin, Boris - Black City #12 Erast Fandorin, Gentleman Sleuth, Russia
• Alexander, Tasha - Uneasy Lies the Crown #13 Lady Emily
• Bird, A L - The Classroom
• Black, Helen - Bang to Rights #8 Lilly Valentine, Family care lawyer
• Blok, Rachael - Under the Ice
• Brady, Conor - In the Dark River #4 Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow, Dublin, 1880s
• Brett, Simon - Blotto, Twinks and the Intimate Revue #9 Brother and sister sleuths, Blotto and Twinks
• Bruen, Ken - In the Galway Silence #14 Jack Taylor
• Carver, Will - Good Samaritans
• Child, Lee - Past Tense #23 Jack Reacher, ex MP, USA
• Chisholm, P F - A Suspicion of Silver #9 Sir Robert Carey, 16th Century
• Crompton, Richard - Night Runners #3 Mollel, a crime-solving former Maasai warrior, Nairobi, Kenya
• Daly, Bill - Never Proven #4 DCI Charlie Anderson, Glasgow
• de Jager, Anja - A Death in Rembrandt Square #4 Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case Detective, Amsterdam
• Dennison, Hannah - Dangerous Deception at Honeychurch Hall #5 Kat Stanford
• Draper, Sophie - Cuckoo
• Farrelly, Tanya - When Your Eyes Close
• Fielden, T P - A Quarter Past Dead #3 Miss Dimont, Temple Regis, Devon
• Finley, Diana - Finding Lucy
• Fraser-Sampson, Guy - The House on Downshire Hill #5 Hampstead Murders
• Gitsham, Paul - The Common Enemy #4 DCI Warren Jones
• Gordon-Smith, Dolores - Forgotten Murder #10 Jack Haldean, 1920s
• Griffiths, Elly - The Stranger Diaries
• Hamdy, Adam - Aftershock #3 John Wallace
• Hannah, Mari - The Insider #2 Stone and Oliver
• Harris, Robert J - Castle Macnab #2 Richard Hannay
• Herron, Mick - - The Drop #1 Slough House Novella
• Holliday, SJI - The Lingering
• Horowitz, Anthony - The Sentence is Death #2 Detective Daniel Hawthorne
• Jardine, Quintin - Cold Case #30 Detective Chief Superintendent Bob Skinner, Edinburgh
• Kernick, Simon - We Can See You
• Knight, Ali - Before I Find You
• Kray, Roberta - Deceived
• Lapidus, Jens - Top Dog #2 Emelie Jansson, Lawyer & Teddy, Ex-con
• Law, J S - The Coldest Blood #3 Lieutenant Danielle Lewis, Royal Navy (ebook version; pb out in Jan 19)
• MacKenzie, A J - The Body in the Boat #3 The Romney Marsh Mysteries
• MacLeod, Torquil - Malice in Malmo #6 Inspector Anita Sundstrom
• Makovesky, Tess - Gravy Train
• Manzini, Antonio - Out of Season #3 Rocco Schiavone, deputy prefect of police, Italian Alps
• Mariani, Scott - The Rebel's Revenge #18 Ben Hope, Ex-SAS
• Maskew, H P - Innocents to the Slaughter #2 Hudson & Lawes, England,1838
• McDermott, Alan - Seek and Destroy #2 Eva Driscoll
• McPherson, Catriona - A Step So Grave #13 Dandy Gilver, Society Sleuth, 1920s Scotland
• Monge, Emiliano - Among the Lost
• Myers, Amy - Death at the Wychbourne Follies #2 Nell Drury, chef-sleuth, 1920s
• Nesser, Hakan - The Root of Evil #2 Inspector Barbarotti
• Osterdahl, Martin - Ask No Mercy #1 Max Anger
• O'Sullivan, Ronnie - The Break #3 Frankie James
• Oswald, James - No Time to Cry #1 DC Constance Fairchild
• Patis, Vikki - The Diary
• Perry, Karen - Your Closest Friend
• Pfluger, Andreas - A Shadow Falls #2 Jenny Aaron
• Phifer, Helen - Last Light #4 Detective Lucy Harwin
• Rahman, Khurrum - Homegrown Hero #2 Jay Qasim
• Rhodes, Kate - Ruin Beach #2 DI Ben Kitto
• Robinson, Maggie - Nobody's Sweetheart Now #1 Lady Adelaide, England, 1924
• Rogers, Bill - The Blow Out #4 National Crime Agency
• Russell, Leigh - Death Rope #11 DI Geraldine Steel
• Scarrow, Simon - The Blood of Rome #17 Macro and Cato, Roman soldiers
• Sefton, Joanne - If They Knew
• Staincliffe, Cath - Fear of Falling
• Taylor, Marsali - Death on a Shetland Isle #7 Shetland Sailing Mysteries
• Todd, Charles - A Forgotten Place #10 Bess Crawford, battlefield nurse, WWI
• Triggs, Robin - Night Shift
• Vallance, Jessica - Trust Her
• Ward, Rachel - Dead Stock #2 Ant and Bea

Review: Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen tr. David Hackston

Palm Beach, Finland by Antti Tuomainen translated by David Hackston, October 2018, 304 pages, Orenda Books, ISBN: 1912374315

Reviewed by Lynn Harvey.
(Read more of Lynn's reviews for Euro Crime here.)

It was a misunderstanding, a delicate imbalance between push and shove. And thus the neck broke like a plank snapping in two.

Palm Beach Finland, Summer:
39 year-old lifeguard “Chico” Korhonen waits near the resort’s huge sign as agreed. He thinks the place looks great these days. Its greyness transformed by new owner Jorma Leivo; the place glows. Huts gleam with fresh paint, pink, blue, green; a shop, pizzeria, sunshades dotting the beach, a windsurfing setup. OK, the biting breeze and cold water means the deckchairs are empty but Chico enjoys walking past the newly planted row of plastic palm trees every day. Life is bright and new. The incident with the fat woman, her handbag and the lunch vouchers was tricky but the boss has told Chico that he is looking for someone with a bit of street savvy. He might be able to put “a little extra” his way. So now Chico waits for his best friend Robin (not the sharpest knife in the drawer) and their meeting with Leivo to discuss that “little extra”.

Leivo is a big man with a head-turning fashion sense and fair hair that curls upwards around his bald crown. He is sweating profusely as he explains, in his gruff teddy-bear voice, that the “little extra” he has in mind is to put some pressure on the owner of a neighbouring plot of land. Nothing serious – a smashed window, a stolen bicycle, a bit of urinating through the letterbox – but he needs that land signed over within the month, understand?
Chico and Robin stake out the neighbour’s house that evening. A ground floor light comes on. They throw stones which shatter the window. But then there is all this yelling. The pair erupt into the kitchen. There is blood everywhere, including over the woman’s face. She starts attacking them with an electric whisk, long hair flying, and it all goes west from there. They floor her. Chico grabs her feet, Robin wraps his arm around her neck and they are carrying her towards the door when Chico slips, Robin carries on moving and, crack, she goes limp. They lay her down. Definitely dead. But also … she's a he. How did that happen?

National Bureau of Investigation, Vantaa, two weeks later:
Jan Nyman’s boss briefs him on the new case, a body in a small town; local investigation, no results; regional investigation, no results. But it must be a professional job. The victim was beaten and his neck broken in a way that indicates an expert knowledge of anatomy. The woman who owns the house has an alibi but maybe she was involved, a contract hit. Jan is to make the undercover investigation; he is “Jan Kaunisto”, a maths teacher on holiday. But the boss is convinced that the woman is pulling the strings.

The woman in question, Olivia Koski, is discussing drainage issues with the local plumber. She wants to live in the house left to her by her father but it needs a lot of work, total renovation. She whittles down the plumber’s estimate. They agree an amount. But Olivia knows that her bank account contains zilch. Just as the whole town knows that this is the house where a murder took place. She’s got herself a job and her shift is starts soon. She changes into her uniform, looks at herself in the mirror, and feels just as naked as she did yesterday.

Holma is dangling a man by his knees over a balcony when the news comes through on his phone that his brother is dead. He has had to release his grip on the man in order to answer his phone and hears the subsequent thump. It seems his brother died two weeks ago in some woman’s house in a small town somewhere. Holma knows his brother is – was – a disaster; they started their criminal life together. And whilst Holma has come far, his brother has not. Nevertheless, family is family. Anyone so much as touches his brother – Holma gets into his car...

Jan Nyman may be an undercover policeman but PALM BEACH FINLAND is no police procedural. Award-winning Finnish writer Antti Tuomainen takes a different approach with each novel: environmental speculative fiction; investigative thriller; psychological thriller. This latest, PALM BEACH FINLAND, brings us satire and criminal slapstick. It’s a dark farce in which a group of characters chase their dreams or rather those that money can buy. The resulting intersecting motives, misinterpretations and violent acts take place in and around an unlikely Baltic beach resort. But glimpses of Finland peek through this Americana setting: pine trees, wooden houses, a tide-less Baltic beach and the exquisite portrait of Miss Simola – an elderly, erotic Finnish earth spirit. (Well, I think so.)

Antti Tuomainen always steps into the new with each novel and PALM BEACH FINLAND, in this assured translation by David Hackston, takes a Finnish slice from the comic, crazy, greedy, crime world of the likes of Get Shorty or Fargo. Where will Tuomainen's imagination take us next?
I don’t know but before that – read this one.

Absolutely recommended.

Lynn Harvey, November 2018