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Finnish Noir: Dark as My Heart

Dark as My HeartDark as My Heart by Antti Tuomainen

Aleksi lost his mother on a rainy October day when he was thirteen years old. Twenty years later, he is certain that he knows who’s responsible. Everything points to millionaire Henrik Saarinen. The police don’t agree. He has only one option: to get close to Saarinen and find out the truth about his mother’s fate on his own. But as Aleksi soon discovers, delving into Saarinen and his alluring daughter’s family secrets is a confusing and dangerous enterprise.

First Impressions:  I liked Alexi’s measured narrative tone in this novel. The references to his mother definitely made me want to keep reading. It all felt a little…creepy.

Highlights: This is a well paced crime novel and I did not guess the outcome. I liked Scandi crime fiction and this novel really stood out as crime fiction set in Finland is hard to come by. I almost wish I was reading it in paperback rather than on my kindle so I could easily flick back to look up all the location references. Being part Finnish I have visited to Helsinki a few times and couldn’t help but get a thrill when I saw mentions of, for instance, Suomenlinna Fort. I wish I was more familiar with some of the locations! The Helsinki setting is rather poetic and invigorating. I also liked the wizened detective Ketomaa and wish he appeared more.

If I was an editor: Yes, as the reviews state it is part Greek tragedy for Alexsi and part Gothic horror in the Saarinen mansion. It was magnificent as a whole but fell ever so slightly short of making me desperate to keep reading while looking after my toddler.

Overall: Highly recommended. Will be reading Tuomainen’s previous novel The Healer.

Dark as My Heart: 4 Stars