by Antti Tuomainen
In the dead of winter, investigative reporter Janne Vuori sets out to uncover the truth about a mining company, whose illegal activities have created an environmental disaster in a small town in Northern Finland. When the company’s executives begin to die in a string of mysterious accidents, and Janne’s personal life starts to unravel, past meets present in a catastrophic series of events that could cost him his life.
A traumatic story of family, a study in corruption, and a shocking reminder that secrets from the past can return to haunt us, with deadly results … The Mine is a gripping, beautifully written, terrifying and explosive thriller by the King of Helsinki Noir.
Janne Vuori is a reporter. When he is sent an email asking him to investigate corruption and illegal activity at a mine in Northern Finland and then company executives start dying under mysterious circumstances, Janne is determined to uncover the truth of what is happening at the mine, even to the detriment of his home life.
Janne is not only a reporter, he is a man with a family, and a family that is cracking under the strain of his commitment to his job, When Janne’s father reappears after 30 years of abandonment he is forced to confront his own attitudes and responsibilities.
Whilst this book is about corruption on an industrial scale and the subsequent effects on the environment; the story of Janne’s relationship with his wife and father is equally as strong if not stronger. The mistakes made with his wife and the slow disintigration of love and trust is achingly real.
Emil, Janne’s father, has a secret life that he is hoping to leave behind. He has his own story told through separate chapters, they give us an insight into his life and the reasons why he had to leave.
Janne is torn between his conviction that the environmental disaster at the mine must be exposed and the worry that he is his father’s son and would put his work before his family. Pauliina, his wife, never misses an opportunity to tell him that this is so.
This is a beautifully written book with some very strong characters. Janne and Emil with their tortured relationship, but also Pauliina, finding it difficult to cope with Janne’s career and the fact that he invests so much time and effort into it.
The sense of place is very strong with the scenery and weather playing a huge part in the story and the descriptions are captivating:
The snow-covered landscape was full of motion: it rose and fell, twisted and turned, stretched out flat. At times the forest rushed past, then the trees disappeared and the world was again nothing but endless sheets of snow.
If I have one small criticism it is that the ending was slightly underwhelming, after all the tension in the book everything seemed to come together too neatly rather than explode, but I’m sure other will disagree.
I really enjoyed this book which was beautifully written, and credit must go to the translator, David Hackston, as it is impossible to tell it is in translation.
Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for sending me a copy