Every time I start a blog tour I tell you guys that I am excited to be bringing you the book that is on the blog tour but here is the thing – I AM EXCITED! This year has been amazing for books and today is no exception so, guess what, I am excited to be reviewing The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen for you!!!!! Here we have yet another amazing read from Orenda Books…anyone surprised by that?!
Okay…you know the drill…
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.
I have to say that this story was a strange, but awesome, concept. Imagine investigating your own death while still alive…told you, strange concept!
The opening line had me laughing so hard I soaked myself. Let me explain, it isn’t what it seems! I was drinking a cup of tea and it came out my nose, mouth, possibly my ears but there was definitely liquid coming out of my eyes. I sound like Muttley, from the Dastardly and Muttley cartoons, when I laugh then I start to make a loud inhaling shriek that sounds like I am hyperventilating so, in turn, my dogs were barking like someone set their tails on fire (I am wishing that I had video footage of what happened, there would be a £250 cash prize in it for sure)!
Moving swiftly on from that typical Lisa moment I can say that this humour did continue and before you ask, NO I did not drink while reading it after that caper!
Yes, this is a Scandi Noir but not as dark as others that I have read lately. We have the ability to laugh (obviously!) and the humour is akin to the Coen Brothers, in my opinion. The antics are rather drôle which is something that really draws me in. Given that I am a massive fan of the Coen Brothers there was no doubt that this was going to tickle my funny bone. (I just saw that the synopsis does mention a nod to Fargo but I am still doing the not reading the synopsis prior to reading so at the time of writing this review I didn’t remember this.)
Set the scene in your mind: you are poisoned and alive but on borrowed time, you can’t have your murder investigated as you aren’t dead so what should you do? There are two choices, feel sorry for yourself and wait for death or find out who would do this and why. I know which choice I would make, pass the pen and paper and let’s get started on a list of names!
The beautiful thing about The Man Who Died is the visualisation that takes place while reading, thanks to Tuomainen’s writing style. Who needs the movie when all the story is unfolding in your mind?!
Thank you so much to Anne Carter and Orenda Books for my review copy.
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) 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. The Mine, published in 2016, was an international bestseller. All of his books have been optioned for TV/film. With his piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and The Man Who Died sees him at his literary best.