The Man Who Dies
by Antti Tuomainen
(trans. David Hackston)
A successful entrepreneur in the mushroom industry, Jaakko Kaunismaa is a man in his prime. At just 37 years of age, he is shocked when his doctor tells him that he's dying. What is more, the cause is discovered to be prolonged exposure to toxins; in other words, someone has slowly but surely been poisoning him. Determined to find out who wants him dead, Jaakko embarks on a suspenseful rollercoaster journey full of unusual characters, bizarre situations and unexpected twists.
The Man Who Died might sound like a Hitchcock movie but it’s another fine offering from Finish author Antti Tuomainen.
This one is a quirky little thriller with a story involving mushrooms, a samurai sword, and a main character facing his own impending death. Mushroom industry businessman Jaakko Kaunismaa, aged 37, is told by his doctor that he’s dying. After the initial shock that a prolonged exposure to toxins has done for him, he begins to wonder who would want him dead.
Knowing he’s perhaps only got days left to live this becomes a race against time, to catch his own murderer - a clever premise. But who can he trust? No one it seems, despite initially struggling to think of an enemy, Jaakko soon has his suspicious fingers pointed. After discovering that his cheating wife wants him out of the way, there appears to be others of a like mind.
It would make a good black comedy film or TV series in the style of Fargo. There are several memorable scenes, original and visual, as guilt is exploited, and a couple of deadly pursuits complicate matters in all sorts of entertaining ways.
About Antti Tuomainen
Finnish Antti Tuomainen (b. 1971) 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, won Best Finnish Crime Novel of the Year, and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. The Finnish press labelled The Healer – the story of a writer desperately searching for his missing wife in a post-apocalyptic Helsinki – ‘unputdownable’. Two years later in 2013 they crowned Tuomainen ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. His third book published in English, The Mine, has confirmed his place at the heart of the genre. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen is one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his books are published in 29 countries. The Man Who Died marks yet another departure, and rights have been sold at auction internationally.