#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2021
My day twenty one #bookvent selection is from an author who always manages to make me smile. This latest offering was no exception, offering a wonderful blend of crime, character and laughter and what has to be one of the best covers I have seen on a book this year. So memorable and so absolutely perfect for this book. In a strange way in could identify with the protagonist (to a degree) but in every way, I absolutely loved this book. With a story that takes a very straightforward, literal kind of guy and transplants him into a world so very far out of his comfort zone, my twenty-first pick is …
The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen
An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.
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.
This book … One of my most anticipated reads of the year (and best of all it’s the start of a trilogy), I was so thrilled to see Antti Tuomainen back and this story really didn’t disappoint. I love the author’s sense of humour, the very relaxed, understated but almost slapstick styling of some of the sequences, infused with mystery, the odd bit of tension and sometimes ,some of the most unexpected action sequences, that manage to stand out and yet fit in at the same time. The opening scenes of the book make clear the significance of the giant cartoon bunny which is festooned on the cover, and pulls readers into Henri’s world in darkly humorous style. From here we are taken through the week leading up to this most eventful after work encounter, and the events which bring us to Henri’s unenviable position. A mixture of organised crime, armed heavies, loan sharks and deep deception mean that whilst Henri may have gotten away from his former boss’s overuse of pretentious business jargon, his life is very far from simple or, for that matter, free of, or even limited in, risk. I really fell in love with the character of Henri. He may be a little too straight laced and literal at times, but there is something strangely warm about him, and whilst he may not fully understand or be able to express his feelings, he is a good man. Character is always something Antti Tuomainen excels in creating, and whether friend or foe, Henri is surrounded by people who really make the story the success, and the sheer joy, that it is to read. From ambitious employees, to potential love interests, to the bakery loving gangster who holds Henri’s future in his flour covered hands, and all of them add a mixture of humour, and sometimes emotion to the story.
Don’t be fooled by the setting. This children’s adventure park is far from safe and there is a dark side to the story which really taps into my twisted sense of humour. The pacing ebbs and flows as the story dictates, the writing absolutely spot on and the tone of the story both hopeful and worrying in equal measure, with a real sense of threat threaded throughout. A story of second chances and a man who lives his life in a completely risk averse way and yet takes perhaps the biggest gamble of them all. With brilliant characters, a crazy plotline and a setting which adds both danger (apparently) and great humour, the book made me laugh, it made me smile and it had the adrenalin pumping in all the right places. It really makes me wonder what fresh hell will descend upon poo Henri next time around. Can’t wait to find out. Loved it.
You can read my full review of The Rabbit Factor right here.
Happy #bookvent reading all