The introduction to Palm Beach Finland and Tuomainen’s quote of Groucho Marx are already hinting at things to come…
It all begins with entrepreneur Jorma Leivo, who wants to expand his holiday resort Palm Beach Finland, creating as much Florida in Finland as possible but he needs to acquire the peninsula first to fulfil his dreams. He hires Chico and Robin, two friends that aren’t the brightest candles on the cake, to intimidate the owner of the house on that piece of land, Olivia Koski, to make her sell her property.
But the best-laid plans are doomed to fail and soon accidental and involuntary death is introduced to a stranger nobody in the small town has seen before.
Undercover cop Jan Nyman is sent to investigate who the dead guy is and who killed him. Soon a man named Holma is also on his way to Palm Beach Finland, determined to find out what happened to his brother Antero.
Tuomainen indulges in dark humour, often letting circumstance and chance dictate the fate of his characters, most of them bonkers as hell but all the more likeable for it.
A definite highlight is Nyman’s boss Muurla, over-sharing stories about his sex life that don’t only make poor Nyman cringe inwardly, while the list of Antero’s crimes and the creation of a new rock song by Chico had me in stitches. Tuomainen’s writing is wonderfully entertaining and his observation of human behaviour is sharp and very witty. What his characters say in earnest makes the reader often howl with joy and cough with giggle fits.
After reading Palm Beach Finland you will probably think long and hard about the ‘career’ of Bruce Springsteen. Also, I’m not ashamed to admit no one ever made me laugh louder during death scenes than Antti Tuomainen.
Palm Beach Finland is a Coen Brothers story, the script stolen and rewritten by Groucho Marx. Highly entertaining – it will light up any dull autumn day.