An insurance mathematician’s carefully ordered life is turned on its head when he unexpectedly loses his job and inherits an adventure park … with a whole host of problems. A quirky, tense and warmly funny thriller from award-winning Finnish author Antti Tuomainen.
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.
“It contains all the main elements of a dark crime/comedy mixed with a peculiar love story that is destined to move and engage the audience. Fans of the Finnish author’s previous work should definitely read this one and the same goes to all those who love quirky crime novels with unique characterization. I will be eagerly waiting for the second installment in the series.” —Tap the Line
“Full of refreshing wit and wisdom, this comic departure from the usual Scandi noir is a treat.” — Publishers Weekly starred review
‘Laconic, thrilling and warmly human. In these uncertain times, what better hero than an actuary?’ —Chris Brookmyre
‘The funniest writer in Europe, and one of the very finest. There is a beautiful rhythm and poetry to the prose … original and brilliant story-telling’ —Helen FitzGerald
‘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
‘The Rabbit Factor is a triumph, a joyous, feel-good antidote to troubled times‘ —Kevin Wignall
‘The Rabbit Factor is an astounding read. It has the suspenseful twists of a thriller, the laugh-out-loud moments of a comedy and a tragic dimension that brings a tear to the eye’ —Crime Fiction Lover
‘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
‘British readers might think they know what to expect from Nordic noir: a tortured detective, a bleak setting, a brutal crime that shakes a small community. Finnish crime novelist Tuomainen turns all of this on its head … The ear of a giant plastic rabbit becomes a key weapon. It only gets darker and funnier’ —Guardian
‘The antic novels of Antti Tuomainen prove that comedy is not lost in translation … Tuomainen, like Carl Hiaasen before him, has the knack of combining slapstick with genuine emotion‘ —The Times
About the author & translator
Finnish 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. Palm Beach Finland was an immense success, with Marcel Berlins (The Times) calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’. Little Siberia (2020), 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. The Rabbit Factor (2021), the first book in Antti’s first ever series, is in production by Amazon Studios with Steve Carell starring. The Moose Paradox, book two in the series is out in 2022.
David Hackston is a British Translator of Finnish and Swedish literature and drama. Notable publications include The Dedalus Book of Finnish Fantasy, Maria Peura’s coming-of-age novel At the Edge of Light, Johanna Sinisalo’s eco-thriller Birdbrain, two crime novels by Matti Joensuu and Kati Hiekkapelto’s Anna Fekete series (which currently includes The Hummingbird, The Defenceless and The Exiled, all published by Orenda Books). He also translates Antti Tuomainen’s stories. In 2007 he was awarded the Finnish State Prize for Translation. David is also a professional countertenor and a founding member of the English Vocal Consort of Helsinki. Follow David on Twitter @Countertenorist
Hmm, how to define this: to say it’s not your typical Nordic crim novel would be a massive understatement. I don’t generally find much to laugh about in such novels, but The Rabbit Factor is funny, quirky, heart-warming and a crime novel.
Henri Koskinen is the most unlikely man to run an adventure park (not an amusement park, as he will tell you frequently), he’s even less likely to kill someone. He’s an actuary! A numbers man. Not a killer. And you probably wouldn’t expect a romantic encounter either … so, be warned – nothing here is as it seems at first glance!
The story starts with Henri “quitting” his job because he cannot live with all the team-building and jargon-busting changes brought in by his boss. Faced with a choice of sitting in a basement office, poring over old accounts, or being more of a team player, he quits. The laws of probability comfort him, he’s certain he’ll find a new job within days.
And he does, just not in insurance. A lawyer advises him of his brother’s death and the inheritance of YouMeFun, an expansive adventure park. With no other plans holding him back, Henri visits the park and meets the staff – a motley crew of individuals who keep the park ticking over, and they’re not doing a bad job as visitor numbers prove. So why does the park have so many debts? What was his brother involved in? Henri’s questions are answered when two men (thugs) visit the park to inform him of his brother’s substantial debts, debts which they say have now passed to him.
As you might expect, Henri is not too happy about this, nor about the consequences of not paying. His only option is to devise a way to repay the money – hey presto, Mr Actuary comes up with a money laundering plan that should in theory pay the debts and enable him to keep the park going. You see, he’s grown rather fond of the park, and of one staff member in particular.
The plan is launched and the waiting game for the payoff begins … Henri’s new life couldn’t be farther removed from his old one. But does it pay the dividends expected of it? Can Henri truly fit into this new lifestyle, dodging gangster-type thugs and following his brother’s wish to keep the park business afloat? Well, that would be telling … as there is way more involved that Henri could possibly have calculated, suggesting there is more to life than the numbers in his spreadsheet.
The story is engaging, amusing, awkward and complex – an original crime novel from start to finish. Highly recommended.
PS – the translation is amazing, seamless, and effortlessly easy to read without losing any of the author’s voice.