26 June 2016

Review: DARK AS MY HEART, Antti Tuomainen

  • this edition published 2015 by Harvill Secker London
  • ISBN 978-1-846-55853-5
  • 308 pages
  • translated from Finnish into English by Lola Rogers
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (author website)

Aleksi Kivi lost his mother on a rainy October day in 1993. Twenty years later Aleksi, now 33, is certain that he knows who’s responsible for his mother’s disappearance. Everything points to millionaire Henrik Saarinen. The police doesn’t agree. Aleksi has only one option: to get close to Henrik Saarinen and find out the truth about his mother’s fate – on his own.

Dark As My Heart tells the story of a mother and son and the search for justice. It’s a story of a lifetime of loneliness, of promises made, the cost of obsessions, the price of vengeance and the power of love. Written in a beautiful and precise language with a touch of poetry, Dark As My Heart is crime novel, mystery tale and modern take on the Greek tragedy. Its heart beats fiercely and full of longing – for love, justice and redemption.

My Take

In some ways this plot reminded me of THE TRAP which I read recently, and also one of the themes of Pauline Rowson's Portsmouth series which also deals with a mother who disappears when her son is in his teens.

In the long run, I thought the author was struggling to bring the story of DARK AS MY HEART to a resolution. The central theme is the search for understanding what happened to Aleksi's mother twenty years earlier. Aleksi and the original police investigator are both convinced that the murderer struck again ten years later and so he will strike again on the 20th anniversary of his mother's disappearance.

Aleksi thinks he recognises the voice of millionaire Henrik Saarinen as that of a friend of his mother and becomes convinced that he is the murder. He takes a job as a caretaker on Saarinen's estate so he can keep a close eye on him.

The introduction of other characters: a daughter, a housekeeper, a chauffeur, as well as the detective now semi-retired and dying of cancer, pad the plot out, provide red herrings, and muddy the waters.

The setting has a definite Finnish flavour reinforced by use of a number of Finnish place names. The plot is very noir and for me there were one or two strands that really served no purpose.

My rating: 4.3

About the author
Antti Tuomainen is the award-winning author of five novels: A Killer I Wish, My Brother’s Keeper, The Healer, Dark as My Heart, and his latest – The Mine. He has been called ‘The King of Helsinki Noir’ by the Finnish press and his writing has garnered attention worldwide.
In 2011 his third novel The Healer was awarded the Clue Award for Best Finnish Crime Novel and has subsequently been published in 27 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Brazil, China, Iceland, Turkey and Greece, among others.
His fourth novel Dark as My Heart was optioned for feature film in 2013 and is in development at Making Movies Ltd., the production company behind the Finnish film sensation Black Ice. The novel has also been voted the best crime novel of the past decade by the readers of a Finnish crime fiction magazine.
His fifth novel The Mine was published in Finland in August 2015.

1 comment:

Terra Hangen said...

This plot sounds interesting and I like that it has a different setting of Finland.


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