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The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath #Review

  We travel back to the 12th Century for this gorgeous historical novel, The Lost Queen by Carol McGrath . It was published by Headline Accent on 18th July. 1191 and the Third Crusade is underway . .  It is 1191 and King Richard the Lionheart is on crusade to pitch battle against Saladin and liberate the city of Jerusalem and her lands. His mother, the formidable Eleanor of Aquitaine and his promised bride, Princess Berengaria of Navarre, make a perilous journey over the Alps in midwinter. They are to rendezvous with Richard in the Sicilian port of Messina. There are hazards along the way - vicious assassins, marauding pirates, violent storms and a shipwreck. Berengaria is as feisty as her foes and, surviving it all, she and Richard marry in Cyprus. England needs an heir. But first, Richard and his Queen must return home . . . The Lost Queen is a thrilling medieval story of high adventure, survival, friendship and the enduring love of a Queen for her King.   My Thoughts

The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen #Review

 

I am delighted to be on another wonderful Orenda blog tour. The Rabbit Factor by Finnish author, Antti Tuomainen, was published in paperback on April 14th. 

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Steve Carell for Amazon Studios, this is the first in Antti's first ever series and has been critically acclaimed.

'Laconic, thrilling and warmly human. In these uncertain times, what better hero than an actuary?' Chris Brookmyre 

‘The antic novels of Antti Tuomainen prove that comedy is not lost in translation ... Tuomainen, like Carl Hiaasen before him, has the knack of combining slapstick with genuine emotion’ The Times 

'The funniest writer in Europe, and one of the very finest. There is a beautiful rhythm and poetry to the prose ... original and brilliant story-telling' Helen FitzGerald 

‘The ear of a giant plastic rabbit becomes a key weapon. It only gets darker and funnier’ Guardian 

'Antti Tuomainen turns the clichéd idea of dour, humourless Scandi noir upside down with The Rabbit Factor. Dark, gripping and hilarious ... Tuomainen is the Carl Hiaasen of the fjords' Martyn Waites 

• 'The Rabbit Factor is a triumph, a joyous, feel-good antidote to troubled times' Kevin Wignall


Just one spreadsheet away from chaos…

 

What makes life perfect? Insurance mathematician Henri Koskinen knows the answer because he calculates everything down to the very last decimal.

 

And then, for the first time, Henri is faced with the incalculable. After suddenly losing his job, Henri inherits an adventure park from his brother – its peculiar employees and troubling financial problems included. The worst of the financial issues appear to originate from big loans taken from criminal quarters … and some dangerous men are very keen to get their money back.

But what Henri really can’t compute is love. In the adventure park, Henri crosses paths with Laura, an artist with a chequered past, and a joie de vivre and erratic lifestyle that bewilders him. As the criminals go to extreme lengths to collect their debts and as Henri's relationship with Laura deepens, he finds himself faced with situations and emotions that simply cannot be pinned down on his spreadsheets…

Warmly funny, rich with quirky characters and absurd situations, The Rabbit Factor is a triumph of a dark thriller, its tension matched only by its ability to make us rejoice in the beauty and random nature of life.

My Thoughts

This is a quirky, dark comedy thriller which gives it an edge and a sense of individuality. The author's distinctive voice takes you into the life of Henri Koskinen who has a complete change of life plan and finds himself the owner of  what he thinks of as an adventure park. It is rundown, with obvious financial difficulties. Can his actuarial experience and mathematical brain bail it out?  You get to meet some unusual characters and there are some surprising twists in the novel which is the first in a series.

    Although there is an element of suspense in this crime thriller, there is also a gentle love story and lots of dark humour. You find yourself willing Henri on, at the same time, realising that his inexperience is causing him to miscalculate the outcome of his cunning plan. Human nature is more complicated than he gives it credence for. This is certainly a different read from your run of the mill thriller. 

In short: one to be savoured 

About the Author


Finnish Antti Tuomainen was an award-winning copywriter when he made his literary debut in 2007 as a suspense author. In 2011, Tuomainen’s third novel, The Healer, was awarded the Clue Award for ‘Best Finnish Crime Novel of 2011’ and was shortlisted for the Glass Key Award. Two years later, in 2013, the Finnish press crowned Tuomainen the ‘King of Helsinki Noir’ when Dark as My Heart was published. With a piercing and evocative style, Tuomainen was one of the first to challenge the Scandinavian crime genre formula, and his poignant, dark and hilarious The Man Who Died (2017) became an international bestseller, shortlisting for the Petrona and Last Laugh Awards. Palm Beach Finland (2018) was an immense success, with The Times calling Tuomainen ‘the funniest writer in Europe’.

 
You can follow Antti here: Website   |  Twitter   |  Instagram
                                           | Facebook  

Book links: Amazon UK
 

Thanks to Antti Tuomainen, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.
 
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