The Mine, by Antti Tuomainen (translated by David Hackston), introduces the reader to journalist Janne Vuori who works for a small newspaper in Helsinki. He receives an anonymous email suggesting he should investigate a nickel mine in Suomalahti, a small town in the weather challenged north of the country. The mine has received funding from the government and provides much needed employment in an area where work is scarce. The cost to the environment is not so well understood.
Janne is a diligent and determined investigative reporter who believes his job is of vital importance. He derides the work his wife does for a consultancy firm with clients in the weapons and tobacco industries. She is equally scathing of his attitude, especially when he chooses to neglect her and their toddler daughter. She accuses him of chasing personal glory.
Despite his boss’s reluctance to pursue the tip-off, Janne travels north. He is denied access to the mine but sees enough to convince him that something untoward is going on. He makes contact with a former board member, and discovers that a predessessor at his newspaper had also started an investigation. This reporter is now dead, his notes mysteriously removed from storage.
Alongside Janne’s investigations the reader is taken inside the mind of a killer, an experienced hitman who is chillingly good at his job. As the body count rises these two men will find their lives colliding.
The writing is utterly compelling – I read this book in a sitting. I shivered at the bleakness and cold of a wintery Finland evoked. The layers of Janne’s character – his need to write, his desire not to let his family down, his demand for validation and support despite offering little in return – made for thought provoking reading. It was hard not to sympathise with all concerned.
The denouement tied up each plot thread whilst skillfully maintaining the bones of all that had gone before. Questionable decisions were made but they fit perfectly the characters and story. In many ways this is a straightforward crime thriller but the execution achieves so much more. It provides a dark and altogether satisfying read.
My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher.
This post is a stop on The Finnish Invasion Blog Tour. Do check out the other blogs taking part, detailed below.
The Mine is published by Orenda Books and is available to buy now.