Tuesday, May 07, 2013

The Boy with the Climate Change Catastrophe

Part of Stieg Larsson’s ongoing legacy has been that everyone is always on the lookout for the hot new writer from one of the Nordic countries. And it’s true: a number of really great authors who might previously have been overlooked in English-reading countries have come to the surface during the endless search for someone who can give us the kind of fictional rush offered posthumously by he-who-created-books-featuring-girls-and-dragon-tattoos. The funny thing is, though, sometimes they just don’t get them to us quickly enough.

One obvious place to look for potentially appealing new literary voices is in awards competitions for Nordic crime fiction. That’s why the identity of the winner of the Clue Award for Best Finnish Crime Novel might be of particular interest to Rap Sheet readers. Especially when a winning book becomes available in English.

The Vuoden Johtolanka (Clue) Award is presented annually by the Finnish Crime Society to what its members believe was the year’s best Finnish crime novel. Beginning in 1993, the society has also annually recognized a foreign author whose work has been translated into Finnish. You can see a complete list of winners here.

In 2013, the award was given to Reijo Mäki for his novel Sheriffi (The Sheriff). The author’s name was previously completely unknown to me because, as far as I know, his work is not available in English. Yet. This recent win has likely (hopefully?) already put into motion the forces that will change that. Still, it seems at least a little inexplicable that we haven’t heard much about Mäki before, because he’s kind of a big deal in his home country. Eight of his nearly 30 novels have been adapted for the screen. Four of the resulting films have opened in Finnish theaters and another four are still to be released.

In 2011, Antti Tuomainen was given the Clue Award for his third novel, The Healer, and Henry Holt will be releasing the book in North America on May 14. In a starred review, Booklist said that “Readers attracted either to dystopian fiction or to Scandinavian crime will find gold here: Tuomainen’s nostalgic style emphasizes the definitive nature of climate catastrophe, where neither revolution nor cure offers respite.” I can’t wait!

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