A Year of Orenda – The Man Who Died by Antti Tuomainen

I make no apologies for saying this – I bloody loved this book. My book of the year in 2017 (and if you pop back in the summer you may just be able to win yourself a signed copy – just saying), this book had a delicious blend of humour and mystery. Oh and a hedgehog. Who doesn’t love a hedgehog? The first book to really display Antti Tuomainen’s The Man Who Died funny side, is Fargo-esque tale of dark deeds, deception and mushroom farming. Obviously. Mandie is going to refresh and re-share her thoughts on the book as part of our Year of Orenda but you can read mine right here if you like. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Amazon

About the Book

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.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

Mandie’s Thoughts

So, on the face of it a book about mushroom farmers might seem rather dull, but trust me, The Man Who Died is far from that. The title itself almost sounds like it should be a spy novel and I guess it is a kind of whodunit.

If you found out you were going to die due to poisoning, what would you do? Would you accept your fate and just enjoy the life you have left, or would you turn detective and try to find out who had done this to you and why? Jaakko Kaunismaa decides to do the latter after all he has nothing to lose.

Throughout the book you are taken through events from Jaakko’s perspective. He tries to continue to run his business and stave off the competition that has recently started trading close by, whilst trying to discover the people behind the attack on his life. You really do have to admire how he handles everything even down to securing the loyalty of his staff when it becomes apparent that his rivals are trying to poach them. You could almost sense the pleasure that Jaakko had knowing that he was not going to let his wife Taina walk away with everything he had worked hard for.

I have to say I really loved this book. Listening to it on Audiobook I found I was out for over 1 ½ hrs and 15 chapters in before I even thought to check what the time was. With the authors easy style and dark humour, I was easily drawn into the life of Jaakko and his work colleagues and was rooting for him to find out not just who but also the why. Just as he was mentally ticking off the suspects in his head, I was doing the same. Despite the fact that it was dealing with the imminent death of someone the injection of humour throughout really made it a joy to listen to and as much as I was going ewwww, I was also chuckling which trust me led to some very odd looks from the people I was passing… well all they saw was a strange person laughing to themselves as I had expertly hidden my headphones under my mop of hair and a hat.

The book might not be fast paced but there certainly is enough going on to keep you reading to the end. I guess the only question I was left with by then end was about the fate of Viekko the hedgehog who may or may not have met with a very undignified end.

About the Author

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. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula. The Man Who Died brought him to his literary best.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook

Books by Antti Tuomainen:

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