The arrival of a meteorite in a small Finnish town causes chaos and crime in this poignant, chilling and hilarious new thriller from the King of Helsinki Noir A man with dark thoughts on his mind is racing along the remote snowy roads of Hurmevaara in Finland when there is flash in the sky and something crashes into the car That something turns about to be a highly valuable meteorite With euro signs lighting up the eyes of the locals, the unexpected treasure is temporarily placed in a neighbourhood museum, under the watchful eye of a priest named Joel But Joel has a lot on his mind than simply protecting the riches that have apparently rained down from heaven His wife has just revealed that she is pregnant Unfortunately Joel has strong reason to think the baby isn t his As Joel tries to fend off repeated and bungled attempts to steal the meteorite, he must also come to terms with his own situation and discover who the father of the baby really is Transporting the listener to the culture, landscape and s of northern Finland,Little Siberia is both a crime novel and a hilarious, blacker than black comedy about faith and disbelief, love and death, and what to do when bolts from the blue both literal and figurative turn your life upside down No spoilers The little village of Hurmevaara in Finland is about to see some big actionit starts with a meteor falling out of the sky and landing in a car driven by local professional race car driver Tarvainen who was trying to commit suicide at the timeThe meteor, worth a million euros, is promptly taken away from Tarvainen, given to the village museum and put on display Volunteers, including Pastor Joel Huhta, are standing night watch over itthat isuntil there is an attempt to steal the meteor during Pastor Joel s watch one night causing Joel to volunteer for all the remaining watchesbecause it s personal nowmeanwhile, back at home, Joel s wife Krista announces that she is pregnant The childless couple should be happy butunknown to Krista, Joel is sterile after an injury he suffered while he was deployed in AfghanistanJoel soon learns that someone is again planning to steal the meteor and will stop at nothing this time to get it but who can it be behind this scheme is it Tarvainen, whose car the meteor fell into as if he were picking up a passenger, jokinen the local storekeeper and butcher, or Raystainen who is a fitness traineror it could be Himanka, a retired pensioner or Pirkko the church secretary who seems to have an eye for Joelor how about Turunmaa the potato farmer it could also be Karoliina, the local bartender, and her two tough guy Russian cohorts Grigori and Leonid Joel must find out who is trying to steal the meteor and stop themoh and while he s at it, find the man responsible for Krista s pregnancy because it sure ain t himIKEA anyone 4 stars for this complex and at times comical whodunit I was happy to find another book by this author after reading his excellent THE MAN WHO DIED I removed a star because at times the story dragged, moving very slowly Overall quite enjoyable Antti Tuomainen has absolutely managed to find that special understated humour, but this time wrapped it up in a novel which seems to have a much serious core, one that examines the nature of faith, family, trust and forgiveness through the eyes of a weary Pastor and under the spell of a falling meteorite The novel opens in a thrilling and spectacular way A high speed car ride alongside a former racing driver, the the author managing to capture perfectly the thrill of the rising speed, the ache in the drivers heart for what he loves and is missing, and the sense of peril for the circumstances of the drive right up to the point that everything changes and the real story begins For this isn t a story about racing drivers well not exactly, although Finland is well known for the high pedigree of their petrol heads This is the story of how one small twist of fate brings change to a whole town Hurmevaara isn t exactly a party town Actually, it is a town that gives you the isolated, snowbound Fargo vibes once again, but in a very different way It is not peppered with unconventional or comedic characters, in fact they seem mostly rational compared to those we met in previous books But even the rational can have their head turned by the thought of money, and when a meteor falls into their lap almost literally in one case they think less of the rarity and scientific implications of the town s new found fame, of its value on the open market More than that though, this is a story of the human condition It is told primarily through the eyes of the Parish Pastor, Joel Huhta He is a man with a lot on his mind, the least of which is either his parishioners or the security of a lump of rock And yet that very lump of rock gives him a much needed sense of purpose and a distraction from all that is going wrong in his life I really liked Joel and the way the author had portrayed him He is at a crossroads, questioning his faith and his marriage, and why he still carries on with the small town that has offered him little and yet looks set to cost him everything There is something about him that draws you in as a reader, and I wanted to see him succeed, finding myself than happy to go on this slightly madcap journey with him Despite the sleepy setting, and the fact that they are by and large a slave to the elements, there is still a good amount of action in this novel It is not a fast paced read, although I did find myself turning through the pages at quite some speed, but it is strangely compelling There are moments of great jeopardy for Joel, segments of a chase that echo the opening chapter, where the contrast between the pace of life in the town and the action on the page is quite stark There are also a lot of moments of introspection, where we are privy to as much emotion and inner conflict as we are physical altercation And there are so many characters to be suspicious of, for so many different reasons, it is hard to know who, beyond Joel, to trust So while this did feel like a very different read to the past two novels, I still absolutely loved it It was a brilliant blend of dark and rich humour, mystery and thrill, all cloaked in a winter chill that was described so clearly, felt so real, I was close to turning my own heating on while reading, even in the height of summer Brilliant stuff. A simple lump of rock, travelling for billions of years across the universe finally makes its mark on Planet Earth, choosing to make icy cold Finland its destination But this simple lump of rock is about to cause a storm among the locals With an estimated worth of one million euros, it catches the eye of than a few crooks, who are desperate to get their hands on it before it makes its journey to London Charged with protecting the meteorite is Pastor Joel Huhta, a former soldier who takes up the duty of night watchman And this simple lump of rock is about to turn his life on its hinges.What I loved about this book was how fresh the story felt Antti Tuomainen has a real talent for putting a different spin on a thriller, and he does this here by choosing a hero who you wouldn t expect, and this is what I like about his writing It certainly is never predictable.The language is very poetic, and once again, I was drawn into the icy, Finnish landscape The last book I read by Antti Tuomainen was The Man Who Died The writing makes you experience the cold, the chill coming off the frozen lakes and the deep drifts of snow.Little Siberia does appear to have a darker, sinister edge to it, in my opinion, and this is what drew me into the story Antti Tuomainen is a writer known for his humour, and while this is still here, I thought that the darkness came through much stronger Pastor Joel goes through a lot in this book, I really was wondering how he had the ability to keep going, but this was what I admired about his character He isn t a character who will very easily back down.I thought Pastor Joel was such a brilliant character to explore, and there are so many aspects about him that make him interesting He is a former soldier and has experience of fighting in the field This part of his life intrigued me He came from a deeply religious family, and I wanted to know what prompted him to join the army Not only does he have to worry about crooks who are attempting to get their hands on the meteorite, but his wife has suddenly announced that she s pregnant He has so far neglected to tell her that he can t have children, so he knows the baby can t be his.Little Siberia is a deeply chilling novel with a cast of brilliant, well formed characters to follow With atmospheric and gripping writing, what could you want from a novel This book definitely comes highly recommended from me One of my favourite reads of the year. Little Siberia is about Joel, who is a priest and former military man, and he also works in the local veterans museum as a guard At the beginning of the book, a race car driver is pushing his car to the limit on the dark and snowy roads of rural Finland, when a meteorite strikes and lands on his passenger seat I don t know if you ve noticed but this opening scene is brilliantly summed up in the striking cover of this book.The meteorite is placed in the local museum before it will be transported to London A few of people realise that the meteorite is worth a lot of money and it becomes a target, and in the process so does Joel, who volunteered to take the night shifts in the museum for as long as the meteorite is there But stopping thieves from getting away with the treasure that fell from the sky is not Joel s only problem his wife tells him she s pregnant and he s sure that he can t have created this new life, but then who did Both as a priest and as a man his faith has become quite wobbly Who and what should he even believe in In God In himself In what the doctors told him In what his wife tells him In the Almighty Elk Don t ask As I ve come to expect from Antti Tuomainen, I found Little Siberia a suspenseful, dark and funny book It s hard to explain to those who are new to Tuomainen, you have to experience it to fully understand it I think his books are truly unique, I personally haven t found this Tuomainen trait anywhere else It s not what I would call comedy It s this very suspenseful crime thriller story, you re practically biting your nails sitting on the edge of your seat and then there s this one funny remark or a hilarious observation or a scene filled to the brim with this dark and dry sense of humour and it takes you completely by surprise and you just burst out laughing And while there are other authors who rely on comic relief to ease the tension, none I ve read do it quite like Antti does.Recommended