All Henri Koskinen wants is for things to be logical, sensible, and optimal. He is—as he constantly tells people—an actuary, which means that he’s very good at figuring out the most likely outcomes for events or working out the most efficient way to do a thing. This does not impress people. In fact, his inability to do anything other than math makes it very hard to get along with other people who don’t want to be logical, sensible, or optimal. You know, the rest of us. Shortly after the opening of Antti Tuomainen’s latest off-kilter thriller The Rabbit Factor (perfectly translated by David Hackston), Henri’s manager sacks him from an insurance firm because Henri refuses to take part in the firm’s ultra feely trainings and initiatives. Then he gets the news that his brother has died and left Henri his adventure park, YouMeFun. Things could not get worse.
Except, this is Tuomainen. So of course things get worse for Henri, in the form of two reptilian and menacing men who curtly (and painfully) inform Henri that his late brother was hugely in debt to the Reptiles’ boss. They give him an ultimatum: his euros or his life. And because this is Tuomainen, this is where things start to get really entertaining. Henri is forced to live two lives. He has a public one as a reluctant owner of the park and manager of its strange collection of employees. In his private life, Henri has to think faster than he’s ever had to in order to find a way to save his life and the park that he comes to think of as his to protect. And then things get even more complicated, in the form of a woman who Henri—for the first time in his life—clicks with.
The Rabbit Factor is a wildly entertaining ride into shadowy finances, baking mafiosos, artistic cons, managers who get way too into feelings, revenge, self-defense, and—above all—learning to shed all the limitations we’ve learned to live with so that we can become new, more optimal selves. I really enjoyed this weird little thriller. I would definitely recommend it to readers who like stories that get their hearts pounding but who are tired of the same old thriller fare. Tuomainen is doing stellar work reinventing mysteries and thrillers by demolishing tropes and creating original characters.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss for review consideration.