Finnish author Antti Tuomainen has been a favourite at Crime Fiction Lover ever since his first novel, The Healer, was first translated into English. Since then, he’s come a long way and his crime writing has grown lighter, funnier and quite a bit weirder – but in a good way. He delights in taking unusual characters and taking them way outside their comfort zone, and in The Rabbit Factor we meet statistical mathematician Henri Koskinen, who has just lost his job as an actuary at an insurance company. Probability theorem rules all his decision making, but what lies ahead he can’t seem to calculate for.
First of all, he inherits an adventure park in Helsinki from his brother, who has suddenly died. Secondly, the park is in debt to loan sharks, they want their money back and they’ll use violence on Henri get it. Thirdly, he unexpectedly falls in love with an artist called Laura who is very unlike him and yet is similar to him in many ways. And finally, there’s a large fibreglass rabbit effigy in the adventure park that plays a role in the plot, but we’re not going to go there right now…
The Rabbit Factor comes with our 5-star seal of approval, and it was also the number one novel of 2021 in my own top five for the year. It’s a superb read, not just for the crime story – it’s also a love story, with a hint of tragedy too, and a personal journey for the main character.
Join our CFL Book Club discussion
We thought it would be fun to open a discussion about the book, and see what other readers thought of it. If you’ve read it, please join in. Here are our questions and discussion points:
1 – What did you think of Henri Koskinen as a character? What did you relate to most, did he remind you of anyone you know and how much were you able to sympathise with him?
2 – The supporting cast are fascinating too, and they’re portrayed in a funny way. Which left the biggest impression on you and why?
3 – I always struggle to describe the humour Antti Tuomainen uses in his novels. There’s a touch of satire, it’s dark in places but also gets pretty absurd and gonzo at times. What do you think of his use of comedy in The Rabbit Factor and how would you best sum it up?
4 – If anything bothered me about this novel it was the bad guys. They didn’t feel real to me. I don’t necessarily mean they were unrealistic, but I had a hard time believing in them and relating to them. Maybe there’s a reason they’re like this, though. What did you think of them?
5 – The Rabbit Factor is being turned into a TV production by Amazon Studios with Steve Carell from the American version of The Office as Henri. Do you think this is good casting, and if so why? If not, who should play the role and why?