Today I’m thrilled to welcome the critically acclaimed Finnish crime writer Antti Tuomainen to the CTG Blog. Antti’s latest novel – THE MINE (translated by David Hackston) is out now in paperback, and as part of his blog tour he’s talking about three books that he recommends …
Recently, on occasion of my third novel in the UK (The Mine) having been published, I have had the pleasure of doing many guest posts about topics such as favorite authors, favorite crime films and so forth. I have enjoyed this and am grateful for the chance. There is something I’d like to add, however. Below you’ll find books that I’ve enjoyed immensely but maybe haven’t crossed your path. Sometimes they have been marginal in the first place, sometimes it’s been a few years since their publication. The list is only three books long which is not fair to all the other brilliant books in my shelves. But if this list gives any of these fantastic novels even one more chance with a reader anywhere, it has served its purpose.
Norman Green: Shooting Dr. Jack
True-to-life characters and a great New York atmosphere drive this cross between a literary novel and a crime novel. The story takes place in un-gentrified Brooklyn and is really the story of one man coming to terms with life and getting straight. This following quote is from near the beginning where the main character Stoney is contemplating his current situation: “He’d never intended it to be this way. Who would choose this? Oh, yeah, I’m gonna go into the city, get blind fucking drunk, blow six hundred bucks that used to be in my wallet and ain’t there now, drive home blasted, already on the revoked list. Pass out on the floor. Really impress the old lady. Jesus.” And it only accelerates from there. Highly recommended.
Kenneth Fearing: The Big Clock
They’ve made two movies from this book. The first is from 1948 with Ray Milland, the second is from 1987 with Kevin Costner titled No Way Out. The book is better than both those movies combined. The set-up is simple and quite fantastic: a man is the main suspect in a murder case in which he is the leading investigator. Kenneth Fearing was also a poet and you can see that in the text. This compact novel is written with skill, finesse and precision. This is also a masterclass in building suspense. Read it.
Tom Kakonis: Michigan Roll
I had never heard of Tom Kakonis until one day I started looking for crime novels that took place in Michigan, USA. The reason for this was that I had been, a long time ago, an exchange student in Michigan, near the city of Grand Rapids, and I thought it would be cool to read something from that area again. I was already familiar with Elmore Leonard and his marvelous Detroit novels and Steve Hamilton’s wonderful Alex McKnight series. To my surprise, I found something new. Well, relatively new. Michigan Roll had been published in 1988. It was only one of three crime novels Tom Kakonis published, at least under his own name. (He wrote two more under a pen name, I think.)
Michigan Roll is filled with great dialogue, rough and real and quirky characters, brutal violence and wonderful settings. Speaking of settings, one of them is Traverse City in Northern Michigan. Which is again another coincidence: my American family had a weekend place, an old farm, near Traverse City. I was there in 1989. The events depicted in the novel take place presumably one year earlier. I never noticed anything. Anyway, a great writer and a great book. Read it if you can find it.
A massive thank you to Antti Tuomainen for chatting on the CTG blog today (and giving me three more books to add to my TBR pile!).
Antti’s latest novel THE MINE is out now – here’s the blurb: “A hitman. A journalist. A family torn apart. A mine spewing toxic secrets that threaten to poison them all … 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.”
You can buy THE MINE from Amazon here
And find out more about Antti Tuomainen and his books pop over to his website here and be sure to follow him on Twitter @antti_tuomainen