Award-winning author Antti Tuomainen launches his first series with The Rabbit Factor, an energetic black comedy, currently being adapted for the screen by Amazon/Mandeville Films with Steve Carell to star, and Antti executive producing.
What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal. Until he is faced with the incalculable, after a series of unforeseeable events.
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 some dangerous men who are very keen to get their money back.
All improbable and complicated problems. But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, a happy-go-lucky artist with a chequered past, whose erratic lifestyle bewilders him. As the criminals go to increasingly 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…
I often say there is very little out there that is totally original. Until I read The Rabbit Factor. Henri reminds me of a cross between the main character in The Rosie Project and Mr Spock. Except he’s not looking for love or any kind of illogical or logical connection, that is until he meets Laura Helanto. Henri is an actuary. His life revolves around mathematics and relationships just don’t compute.
Henri has one friend in his life and that’s his cat Schopenhauer. He tells the cat almost everything, though he leaves out some of the more sinister parts that involve the criminals his brother owed money to. According to Wikipedia, “Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher. He is best known for his 1818 work The World as Will and Representation, which characterises the phenomenal world as the product of a blind noumenal will.” I have no idea what that means and I expect the cat doesn’t either. But Henri does, because that’s how his mind works.
But let’s start at the beginning. Henri has lost his job as an actuary. He’s just not moving with the times. He can’t get his head round all the modern, team-building crap his boss spouts so he’s out on his ear. But before he can say ‘constructive dismissal’, his brother Juhani dies and leaves him an adventure park called YouMeFun. Henri’s idea of fun is drinking a beer while setting up a new spreadsheet. I doubt he’s ever even visited an adventure park let alone knows how one works, but he has no option than to give it a go.
Unfortunately he has also inherited the staff and a rum lot they are. Kristian wants to be the general manager but does he have the right credentials. Esa is the park’s head of security and his office needs fumigating. Minttu K is the marketing and sales manager. Her clothes are too tight, she’s so tanned she looks like David Dickinson’s love-child and she reeks of gin and cigarettes. Samppa is in charge of play, while Johanna runs the Curly Cake Cafe with precision and turns out cakes and snacks for the parents and children.
And then of course there’s Laura Helanto. She seems to find him amusing, which no-one else has ever done, and he is drawn to her in a way that is way out of his comfort zone.
The park has massive debts but according to the accounts it should be turning a profit. So where is the rest of the money going? We know from the very start that criminals are involved and that Henri has had an unfortunate and violent encounter with a thug and a giant rabbit’s ear. And that’s only the start. His attempts to solve the park’s financial problems are crazy and hilarious, while all the time he knows he is doing it, not for his brother, but for Laura.
I loved this book. It’s so refreshing to read something new and different and dark humour is probably my favourite genre.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours
About the Author
Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir ’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. A TV adaptation is in the works, and Jussi Vatanen (Man In Room 301) has just been announced as a leading role. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. His latest thriller, Little Siberia, was shortlisted for the CWA International Dagger, the Amazon Publishing /Capital Crime Awards and the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award, and won the Petrona Award for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year. In total, Antti Tuomainen has been short- and longlisted for 12 UK awards.
Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four ’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.