Do you dream of sun, sea and sand? Of jetting off to a splendid holiday resort to spend your days relaxing or learning to windsurf? Well, I can tell you one place you shouldn’t go…
Palm Beach Finland* by Antti Tuomainen is set during the beginning of July in a small Finnish town. The new owner of the beach resort has named the place Palm Beach Finland to attract tourists not only from home but also from abroad. A dead man is found in the kitchen of Olivia Kosk’s house and the Central Bureau of Criminal Investigation Unit’s best undercover investigator is sent to solve the case.
This book is Scandi noir at its finest. While the cover may indicate a bright and wonderful place, Palm Beach Finland, in reality, presents the blank, murky landscape expected from the genre. The mood of the story is bleak, of that there is no doubt, but there is also dark humour woven throughout that often brought a smile to my face.
Tuomainen really knows how to set a good scene and as chapters passed by, I really got a feel of what Palm Beach Finland was like. At first, it felt like any bustling holiday resort, with chalets, water sports and a large beach. Then I began to learn about the dated decor, unhappy employees and minimal beach dwellers and it really brought to life how bland this place was. Quite clever as one would never expect anything terrible to happen in this awfully dull place.
The best thing about Palm Beach Finland is the characters, whose lives were intertwined very well. That’s not to say any of them were particularly likable – even the good guys. Each one dealt with moral decisions in the wrong way and that was frustrating. However, they really brought the element of dark humour to life. Whether it was intended by the author or not, the characters attempt to play gangster had me chuckling a lot. If I had to pick favourite characters it would be Chico and Robin. It was their stupidity that really ensured humour in Palm Beach Finland but what endeared me to them most was their friendship. Chico and Robin shared a true friendship that was innocent and sweet to read about. If there was to be a sequel, I would be interested in finding out what happened them. In a way, their friendship made them the “heroes” of the book for me, not Nyman, the probable hero.
Overall, I wasn’t let down by the pages of good reviews that came along with Palm Beach Finland. It was only my second venture into Scandi noir after The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, which I was rather let down by, so I was skeptical opening the first page. However, my fears were soon set to rest and now I am eager to read more from Tuomainen.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.