Palm Beach – Antti Tuomainen #blogtour

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I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Palm Beach written by Antti Tuomainen and published by Orenda Books. Many thanks to Anne Cater for organising the blog tour.

Jan Nyman, the ace detective of the covert operations unit of the National Central Police, is sent to a sleepy seaside town to investigate a mysterious death. Nyman arrives in the town dominated by a bizarre holiday village – the ‘hottest beach in Finland’. The suspect: Olivia Koski, who has only recently returned to her old hometown. The mission: find out what happened, by any means necessary.

With a nod to Fargo, and dark noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives – chasing their fantasies regardless of reason.

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Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. The critically acclaimed My Brother’s Keeper was published two years later. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, 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.

BLOG CONTENT – The Hottest Beach in Finland:
The title of this guest blog post – the hottest beach in Finland – might require an explanation, especially if you’re in any way acquainted with the general weather conditions in Finland. (Hint: they’re bad.) Also, I feel an explanation is in order when I make my next statement concerning my latest crime novel in English, Palm Beach Finland. Which, as my statement goes, seems to me to be both my seventh and my second novel. Ahem. We shall start from the very beginning.

Roughly four years ago, after having written and published five very dark and very serious crime novels ranging from the bleakest dystopia of The Healer to the icy snowy hitman noir of The Mine I started to feel that a slight change might be needed. At the same time, I think I needed to be more me; in my writing. I wanted to have more fun in my writing. This might have to do with a few things. My two artistic loves are comedy and noir. I love both. I have also always loved writers like Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake and Elmore Leonard. All of them wrote, at least at some point, in a way that, in one way or another, combined crime and humor. And I had enjoyed their books so much just for that reason. (Reader, please note that I am in no way comparing myself to these legends.) Anyway, I got to work.

My first book in this new direction was The Man Who Died. It was a real discovery for me. After a few false starts and a generous amount of writerly desperation, I found the story and enjoyed writing more than ever before. Much to my surprise and immense joy, the readers seemed to feel the same way. Two years after its original publication in Finland (one year ago in the UK) it is safe to say that The Man Who Died is my most popular and best liked novel. So far, I hope, of course. Which brings us to my second and seventh book the same time: Palm Beach Finland.

After The Man Who Died, it was obvious to me that I wanted to continue in the same vein. Roughly speaking. I write standalones so every book is different. Different story, different characters, different setting. But the one thing I wanted to keep doing was humor. And crime, naturally. It turned out to be not so easy. To write certain kind of books, you need certain elements. The characters are one thing, so is the plot. For this second and seventh novel, those came quite early: I wanted multiple narrators and those appeared quite naturally. With good characters and their (insurmountable) problems come the plot. I got those. And then I ran into a wall. The setting and the premise – these need to be slightly off-kilter as well if you’re trying to do what I wanted to do: to write a crazy funny crime book where anything can and will happen.

And I just couldn’t figure it out.

Looking back, it seems so obvious. I mean, all I had to do was look around. The weather here in Finland is mostly bad, and there are times when it’s really bad. (Nearly always when it’s supposed to be good.) The summer might be like a permanent early April, the cruelest month that begins in, yes, April, and ends windy, barren and cold sometime in September – when it takes a turn for the even-much-worse. In other words: just perfect.

Just perfect for a shady business man who wants to save the Finns (and other heat-sensitive nationalities) from the oppressive sun of the popular holiday destinations in southern Europe and southeast Asia. Finally, a beach where you can be comfortable in your own un-suntan-lotioned skin and still enjoy – cancer-risk-free, as they advertise – everything the beach life offers. Even if it means wearing mittens. So that’s where I needed to go: the hottest beach in Finland. Which Jorma Leivo, the fearless and highly inventive (not to mention charmingly unscrupulous) businessman, christens Palm Beach Finland.

Off I went – into the freezing winds, shivering-cold sun chairs and ill-fitting swimwear. I did feel at start some of the trepidation associated with an author’s second novel, especially if the first book has been successful. (And The Man Who Died had undeniably been just that.) But here it helped that this was also my seventh novel. One does get better at this, I believe. And in the end, I enjoyed writing Palm Beach Finland. Hugely. It turned out the way I had hoped. All in all, I think I found what I was looking for: the hottest beach in Finland. I hope to see you there.

If you would like to follow the Palm Beach Blog Tour, you can do so at the following dates:
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Website: click here
Amazon: click here
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