Isolation Read #74

(translated by David Hackston)

I think – and there is no one around and no one bothered enough, to disprove me – that this is the first book I have read by a Finnish author. It is billed as a comedic-noir thriller and is apparently “effortlessly funny”.

We start with a former star rally driver, now raging alcoholic who wants ‘one more shot’ at the big time, speeding – really, really speeding – along narrow country lanes in the far north of Finland, near the Russian border, at night, while swigging from a bottle of vodka, when there is a blinding flash and a meteorite crashes through the roof of his car and out through the passenger side seat. It is a pretty good start.

Sadly for me, then it just became bogged down in a series of too-silly-to-be-predictable-or-even-interesting twists – variously, there is some kind of femme fatale who works in the bar, there is a pastor (the main character) and his wife, who becomes pregnant “mysteriously” – he is unable to father children following an injury while serving in Afghanistan – a pair of dodgy Russians who suddenly appear in town and at the centre of it all, the meteorite straight from The Big Bang. Which is being stored in the local museum – where the pastor is also the nightwatchman – pending transportation to Helsinki then London, and is deemed to be worth a million Euros. So naturally, everybody hatches a plan to get their hands on the start of the universe.

Although the final 30-40 pages gallop along to a bonkers denouement, it was not very noir, more of an off-grey.

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