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 the darkest noir, Palm Beach, Finland is both a page-turning thriller and a wicked black comedy about lust for money, fleeing dreams and people struggling at turning points in their lives … from the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’.
Many thanks to Anne from #RandomThingsTours for inviting me on this wonderful #BlogTour I am delighted to be hosting an extract from Palm Beach Finland by Antti Toumainen ……
The property in question was situated at the end of a magnificent peninsula. On either side of the peninsula was a beautiful sandy beach, and looking from the mainland the beach rose gently to the left and ended in a broad, thick area of forest, on the other side of which, completely hidden from view, was the area that belonged to Palm Beach Finland. Chico knew that Jorma Leivo had already come to an arrangement about the purchase of this land. Chico and Robin lay on their stomachs beneath the pines and stared at the house. Darkness had fallen. ‘What’s Leivo got against Olivia?’ asked Robin in a whisper. ‘Nothing, I suppose,’ Chico whispered back. ‘So why does he want us to piss through her letterbox?’ ‘We’re not going to piss through Olivia’s letterbox.’ ‘So what are we going to do then?’ Chico didn’t have a chance to answer. Lights came on in the ground floor. Olivia had come home. To be completely accurate, Olivia had come home a few months earlier, immediately after her father’s death. He had suffered a massive heart attack while out in his kayak. The wind had carried him into the children’s swimming area and he had frightened the kids, hunched over, his face stiffened into a permanent smile and an oar jutting upwards in his hands. Someone had taken a picture, which Chico had later seen. The day after his death, Olivia Koski had returned to her former hometown, alone, and decided to stay. Alone.
And now: lights in the window, a human shadow on the wall. Chico wasn’t the kind of man to operate without a plan of action. He picked a hefty-looking stone up from the ground and showed it to Robin. Robin took the hint, and picked up a stone of his own. Chico explained the plan, which had probably been in existence since Neanderthal times: run up to the house, throw the stone, run away. On the count of three. At two, Robin sped off, and Chico followed him. They ran through the woods and into the yard, and threw the stones at the same time. The illuminated downstairs window shattered. Chico and Robin were about to round the corner of the house and disappear back into the woods when they heard it. Something between a squeal, a gasp of pain, and a shrill cry for help. They stopped in the darkness of the yard, stood on the spot as though turned to pillars of salt. Again, the same sound. ‘I told you we should have pissed through the letterbox,’ Robin whispered. ‘It doesn’t hurt anyone, and it’s fun.’ Chico tried to think. This wasn’t part of the plan. ‘We’re going to have to…’ he began but didn’t know how to con- tinue. They would have to do something. Something. ‘We have to make sure nothing bad has happened.’ The same sound again, this time followed by knocking and banging.
They turned, quietly paced along the wall of the house to the veranda, walked up the steps and opened the door. The veranda, complete with a sofa and all the trappings, looked pleasant and empty. The sound was coming from deep inside the house. Chico walked in front, Robin close behind him. The glass-fronted internal door creaked when Chico opened it. Startled, he clenched his teeth together. He stopped and sensed Robin tight up against him. The light was coming from the right. Chico could see cupboards and furniture typical of any kitchen. He listened carefully, but now everything was silent. No sounds, no knocking, no banging. Again he took a few steps, towards the kitchen door, and when he reached the doorway he stopped and peered inside. A tiled floor, a dark wooden countertop, cupboards, the broken window. But more importantly: blood. Blood and shards of broken glass. Everywhere. A pool of blood right beneath the window. Drop- lets and spatter everywhere. A red streak across the white fridge door leading…
Right here. Chico could taste the electric whisk in his mouth. He was falling backwards – he knew that much. He tried to stay upright but his legs weren’t quite in the position he’d imagined them, so he simply spun on the spot. And as he fell, everything around him was bright and then dark- ening, like a series of disparate images: long dark hair, a face covered in blood, Olivia’s slender figure in black jeans and a black polo-neck jumper, the white plastic shell of the electric whisk as it reflected light from the spherical lampshade above. As Chico came crashing to the floor, he saw Robin peer into the kitchen, just as Chico had a moment before. And just like him, he too got a whack from the whisk, this time on his temple. Robin fell to his knees in the doorway as though begging to be let into the kitchen. Chico’s surprise was tinged with annoyance: they are worried about her, they come into the house to check she’s all right only to get whacked in the face with a bloody kitchen appliance. Now Chico heard footsteps, and he guessed what was coming but didn’t have time to do anything about it. Large black spots still obscured his field of vision. The whisk struck him like a bear’s paw: it was painful and dizzying. ‘We only came to help,’ he whimpered. But Olivia wasn’t listening. She had already turned round. The whisk rose into the air and came down like a guillotine. Robin remained on his knees despite the blow. Chico’s ear felt like it was on fire, and a searing pain ran down that side of his head. They had to get the situation under control. Chico grabbed the table for support and pulled himself to his feet. The dark figure was approaching. Chico leapt forwards. He caught Olivia by the thighs, making her lose her balance. He hollered at Robin to grab hold of her. They toppled backwards towards Robin, and he lunged for them. The whisk fell from Olivia’s hand. Olivia ended up lying on her stomach on the floor. Chico was holding her by the legs, while her head was under Robin’s armpit. Chico was shouting instructions. They struggled to their knees. She was light. It turned out there was some use for Robin’s stubbornness after all; his grip on Olivia didn’t flinch. Chico’s plan was the third he’d had that evening: they would take her outside, into the fresh air; they’d talk about it and sort things out, Chico would repay the cost of the broken window. Their down payment would cover it. Of course, paying damages like this wasn’t exactly in the spirit of their agreement with Jorma Leivo, but needs must. Running away is out of the question, he told Robin, she knows who we are. Robin looked as though he understood what Chico was saying. With some difficulty they struggled to their feet. The body dan- gling between them was wriggling, grappling, lashing out. Chico took a firmer grip and shouted at Robin to hold tight. We’ll take her outside. Robin nodded, turned to get into a better position. Chico did the same. He shifted his weight to the other leg, shouted ‘Now’ and tensed his muscles. The pool of blood, in which Olivia had been lying face-down and where Chico now stood in his Adidas trainers, was fresh and slippery. He lost his footing. As he stumbled backwards he instinctively tightened his grip. At the same moment Robin, with Olivia’s head still under his arm, yanked them towards the front door. The crack was like a dry plank snapping in two. Olivia’s body went limp. Robin was still carrying her headfirst into the yard. Chico was holding on to her legs, and staggered to his feet in the pool of blood. Chico bellowed at Robin, shouted at him to stop and let go. Chico let go. Olivia slumped to the floor.
Chico clambered to his hands and knees. Robin was standing in the doorway. ‘I’ve never seen her like this,’ said Robin. Talk about stating the bleeding obvious, thought Chico. He took a few cautious steps towards Robin, then brushed the body’s long dark hair back from its face and wiped one of the cheeks with a sleeve of the T-shirt, just enough to make out its features. The skin on the gaunt face was strangely white and taut, and the eye staring intensely at the tall skirting board in front of it was bright blue, the ear was small, the moustache thin and the goatee on the chin narrow and black, as though etched in pencil. For once Robin was right. Chico had never seen Olivia like this either. The reason was clear: it wasn’t Olivia.
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, whoops! Well that’s some start to a book! You just know it’s going to be a blast! Hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. I would like to thank Orenda Books for an e-copy of Palm Beach Finland. I will be posting my thoughts in the coming weeks. In the meantime do enjoy the rest of this fabulous #BlogTour from Orenda and Anne Cater…..
Enjoy following the #PalmBeachFinland #BlogTour brought to you by @OrendaBooks and @AnneCater
Publishers: Orenda Books (October 2018)
Translator: David Hackston
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.
Author of seven novels:
A Killer I Wish, My Brother’s Keeper, The Healer,
Dark as My Heart, The Mine, The Man Who Died
and his latest – Palm Beach Finland.
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