Fancy a totally entertaining and intriguing read? OK, try this. The central character is a pastor, dedicated to serving the spiritual needs of a small Finnish town, while the central plot revolves around a meteorite which lands from the heavens – as meteorites do – passing through a drunken rally driver’s car as it does so. This may be a unique set of fictional circumstances. The heavenly body turns out to be considerably valuable, which means that everyone involved claims ownership and shady characters queue up to steal it.
And of course there are several sub-plots to provide entertainment while the main action plays itself out. And as is often the case, the sub-plots are more interesting than the main tale – even when it’s as unusual as this one. This is because basically the main plot is about a heist, and the criminal fictional world is filled with those. The relationships between the characters and their sometimes radical views on many topics are the best bits. And they are clever, no doubt about it, starting with the fact that the pastor, Joel, is a veteran of the Afghan wars and stepped on a mine while serving, with uncomfortable consequences.
I confess to being a little puzzled by the whole reading experience. I enjoyed it and have just bought another book by the same author, but cannot pretend that I found it funny. Why should anyone find it funny? Because it’s sold as being darkly comic. It is dark, certainly, and in several ways, but comic? Maybe I simply lost my sense of humour somewhere along the way. Hard to say.
Superbly translated – and Finnish is not an easy language – the narrative is fast, the mysteries engaging and the background unusual for a Brit to read about. And I think the very last chapter was an afterthought…
Reviewed by Frank Westworth
Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen is available at Amazon
If you’re looking for wit and grit with a killer cast of characters…
Try the STONER STORIES, available at Amazon