Aug 112013

Valkoinen Kääpiö coverTaavi Soininvaara joined Ilkka Remes in the “annually delivering domestic techno-thriller author”-niche more than a decade ago.

Unlike Remes whose books are at best loosely connected, Soininvaara writes a tighter integration.

His latest four form a tetralogy that describes various kinds of high income illegal work (gunrunning, people trafficking and so on).

The series covers more than a thousand pages, and at best provides quality entertainment. Sadly, that’s not the norm, the text feels artificially elongated and several of the characters have too complex histories for comfort.

The former issue is less prominent in the final volume, as the strings of many plots and sub-plots are tied together instead of being shown flying all over the place in just another cliffhanger.

The latter, however, doesn’t get any better here. The past is a multifaceted beast, and it’s not getting that much simpler with the pieces of the puzzle being laid out.

But despite the criticism, I found the series a pleasant experience. Soininvaara has clearly done his homework on an awesome number of topics and that’s reflected in the writing, exposition feels more natural than in a lot of his colleagues’ work.

Aug 102013

Beat the Reaper coverPicked up Wild Thing, the sequel to Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper, and decided to re-read the original in anticipation of hot continuity.

Beat the Reaper was a surprise hit back in 2010, and my words of it still stand.

On a second round the book remains great debut novel, well-written and packed with a plot and characters straddling the edge of improbability.

Comic crime is hard to do, but Bazell delivers the best since Donald E. Westlake. And the novel House/Sopranos-mixture gives him a voice of his own. A confident voice that uses footnotes to an impressively good effect, too.

The film seems to be turning into an HBO series.