Dark as my Heart

Written by Antti Tuomainen

Review written by Angela Hatherell


Dark as my Heart
Harvill Secker
RRP: £12.99
Released: October 1, 2015
Trade Pbk

Twenty years ago, when Aleksi was thirteen, his mother disappeared.

No amount of investigation could discover her or her body. Aleksi and his mother had been very close, and over the years, as he grew up, he brooded over the mystery, until he became convinced that he knew who was responsible: Henrik Saarinen, a wealthy businessman.

Eventually he managed to get the job of caretaker of Saarinen’s country estate. Most of the time he was alone, apart from the cook, Enni, who seemed to be the only permanent staff member.  At times Saarinen, his daughter Amanda, and the chauffeur, Harmala, came and went, as well as Ketomaa, a datective still working on the disappearance of Aleksi’s mother. All have a significant part to play, and even after Saarinen’s death — I don’t think I am giving much away by mentioning this — everything moves on effortlessly  to the final answer, with a truly shocking twist at the end, which I most certainly did not see coming.

It is interesting to come across a crime novel set in an unusual country: Finland, home of geysers and volcanoes, of tales of Vikings and Norse gods – and of very modern crime. The plot is satisfactorily complex and intriguing, with new characters and strands introduced along the way. The time shifts from past to present, and it is important to notice the date at the top of each chapter. I must mention here the translation, which is excellent, flowing smoothly, and conveying the dark, unnerving atmosphere originally written by the author.

Antti Tuomainen was voted best Finnish Crime Writer in 2000, and has apparently not been surpassed. Perhaps we may see some more Finnish crime of this high standard?

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