#RivetingReviews: Barry Forshaw reviews THE RABBIT FACTOR by Antti Tuomainen

In Finnish writer Antti Tuomainen’s much-acclaimed third novel The Healer (2011), Helsinki is almost submerged under torrential rain, and the whole of society – from its infrastructure to its buildings – is in an advanced state of decay. Food supplies are almost non-existent, with brutal gangs ruling the street and shops and social services barely functioning. And as a nagging obbligato to this breakdown, there is the never-ending downpour. When I read The Healer nine years ago in a sodden Britain, the year after it was written and with the UK seemingly crippled by floods, Tuomainen’s prize-winning dystopia seemed edgily prescient. His new book avoids such societal echoes, but is equally accomplished.

In The Rabbit Factor, Henry Koskinen is a forty-ish actuary who has spent his life coping with his impulsive late brother. The latter has left him an adventure park called ‘YouMeFun’, and Henry becomes grimly aware that the place is heavily in debt, with two sinister types out to collect the outstanding monies in whatever way they can. This immensely entertaining novel itself reads like a trip to the most demented kind of amusement park, and fans of the author need not hesitate. Tuomainen remains, pleasingly, the Finnish Carl Hiassen.

Reviewed by Barry Forshaw

THE RABBIT FACTOR

by Antti Tuomainen

Translated from Finnish by David Hackston

Published by Orenda Books (2021)

December 2021 #RivetingReviews titles are available to buy from bookshop.org.


Barry Forshaw’s books include Crime Fiction: A Reader’s Guide, the Keating Award-winning Brit Noir and Euro Noir. Other work: Nordic Noir, Death in a Cold Climate, Sex and Film and the British Crime Writing encyclopedia (also a Keating Award winner). He edits Crime Time (www.crimetime.co.uk).

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Category: ReviewsDecember 2021

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