Just one spreadsheet away from chaos…
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
What goes up, must come down – and that applies equally as well to your fortunes as well as the thrills and spills of life in an adventure park with a difference. The dichotomy is the source of the absolute genius here and even though people bandy around the idea that ‘you won’t have read anything else like it’ all the time – in this case it’s absolutely true! There’s a good reason why this book was the talk of Bloody Scotland, and that’s because it’s bloody fantastic and if you haven’t already gone ‘down the Rabbit hole with this book then clear your diary because you’ll be hard pressed to find as fabulous a reading experience this year!
I think that for a lot of people, they have a very rigid idea of what to expect when they order themselves a helping of ‘Scandi-Noir’ – this book subverts your expectations by taking you on a literal and metaphorical wild ride into the ups and downs of Henri Koskinen’s life after he inherits a pleasure park that will challenge his immaculately ordered life in ways that he couldn’t ever have imagined.
Actuaries by their very nature crave order and predictability – that’s why they go into that kind of career. What they don’t crave is uncertainty, chaos and disorder, and it’s the dissonance here that makes it such a work of art. You will definitely fall for Henri, who brings a whole new meaning to the idea of someone being a fish out of water. A lone wolf, who’d rather die than jump into a hot-desking, brain storming and team building environment, Henri cannot grapple with the finer details of his new world once he inherits the park – and if you think that’s a leap in the dark for him, you can only imagine the challenges that arise once Henri has to penetrate the dark underside of society in order to keep the juggernaut that he has inherited on the right track…
I don’t think that there have been many other characters since Eleanor Oliphant that have bowled me over so much and made me absolutely believe in them, almost from the very first page. I fell for Henri hook, line and sinker and loved seeing the mild mannered actuary have to adapt almost every single one of his coping strategies to exist in this strange technicolour new world that he’s been plunged into. It’s a testament to the skill of the writing that age, nationality, language and culture might divide us, but I absolutely bonded with Henri on this wild ride and enjoyed every single second that we spent together and have been recommending The Rabbit Factor to everyone as soon as I finished reading it.
I also loved the colourful cavalcade of other characters that we come to know and love across the arc of the story. Henri might prefer to put things in nice tidy boxes, but the characters here fundamentally resist stereotypes and spring to life as fully-formed as Henri, straight off the page. Esa might be ‘only’ a security guard, but there can be fewer people in the world to ever have taken their job so seriously – and the way that this tale unfolds – and I’m determined to avoid spoilers – it’s a bloody good job that he does! I also loved the character of Laura and enjoyed the way that her freewheeling creative world view causes Henri to rethink some of the ways he looks at the world and start to loosen his necktie and embrace a less rigid and automated world view.
If you are after something completely different then this is the Orentober read for you! I love the way that in Karen Sullivan’s ‘Adventure Park’ within her Orenda writers’ stable there are so many diverse voices and different spills and thrills, yet what unites them is the quality of their writing and a way of making the reader a thinking participant rather than merely a passive observer in their reading adventures. All you need to know is that this is another five star winner from Antti – his sense of humour, originality and turn of phrase will ensure that this book stays with you for a long time after you finish reading it. Here’s to you enjoying the first slice of Henri’s adventures every bit as much as I did. If you are anything like me, you will be longing for the second instalment and as delighted that I was to hear that we will shortly be treated to seeing The Rabbit Factor on the big screen in a town near you!
So what are you waiting for? Get ordering your very own copy and see how all the statistics in this book mean that it adds up to being one of the most unforgettable reads of 2021
Strap yourselves in and scream if you want to go faster – this is one adventure that you won’t want to end
‘Antti Tuomainen turns the clichéd idea of dour, humourless Scandi noir upside down with The Rabbit Factor. Dark, gripping and hilarious … Tuomainen is the Carl Hiaasen of the fjords’ Martyn Waites
‘The Rabbit Factor is a triumph, a joyous, feel-good antidote to troubled times’ Kevin Wignall
‘Finland’s greatest export’ M.J. Arlidge
‘You don’t expect to laugh when you’re reading about terrible crimes, but that’s what you’ll do when you pick up one of Tuomainen’s decidedly quirky thrillers’ New York Times
‘Tuomainen is the funniest writer in Europe’ The Times
‘Right up there with the best’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Tuomainen continues to carve out his own niche in the chilly tundras of northern’ Daily Express
Writer On The Shelf
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.