A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. Can he uncover the truth before it’s too late?
Caution: a tiny, tiny (revealed early anyway so not that huge) spoiler could be found in this review.
From the PR: “In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.
A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.”
I’m writing this review as closely to finishing the book as possible; I’ve not long turned the final page on Antti Tuomainen’s fantastic The Mine and relished every second of reading it. The pacing and style are brilliantly effective; calmly drawing you in until you realise you’re practically up to your knees in Finnish snow and up to your neck in a complex mystery and there’s no way you’re gonna want to leave this story even after the last page is turned.
Antti Tuomainen does a crackingc job of evoking a sense of place and the remote setting of most of the action – the isolated mine sits in Northern Finland, snowbound, dangerously cold and practically deserted – adds to both the sense of dread and the intensity.
I love a good, complex conspiracy in a book and The Mine delivers this in spades. Taking on some heavy and important themes, this is, indeed, an intelligent thriller, hugely gripping and immensely rewarding.
While I might not have liked Janne as a character – perhaps because his own work-first, family-second approach is so at odds to my own – his determination to get to the bottom of the story is contagious and this is another of Orenda’s recent publications that was ripped through at a pace.
The sub-plot surrounding Janne’s hitman father Emil is perhaps my favourite part of this book. Here is a man who takes life for a living – in manners described in some darkly delicious scenes – yet his own calm, pedestrian manner are so counter-intuitive as to the preconceived, literary portrayals of such characters as to be utterly fascinating. Here he is calmly throwing a man off a balcony to his death, here he is just as calmly and routinely browsing through books in a bookshop, here calmly snapping someone’s neck mid-run. It’s handled so fantastically and as though run-of-the-mill that he might just as well be – as he initially tells his son – working in HR.
That Emil’s calm, mild-mannered and thorough manner of carrying through his own occupation contrasts with Janne’s investigative urgency is a great device, especially as the older-man, now so-removed from such concern for taking life, is returning to his son almost as he himself is on the precipice of throwing away his family – giving Janne a much a warning not to repeat mistakes, that it’s the people that matter in life – just adds to the overall richness of this multi-faceted book.
A huge thanks to Karen at Orenda for sending me yet another ripper of a read, encouragement to check out the other spots on this Finnish Invasion blog tour and a wholehearted recommendation to go and get your hands on Antti Tuomainen’s The Mine.