Translated by David Hackston
And so we come to the final part of Antti Tuomainen’s Rabbit Factor Trilogy featuring the awakening of Henri Koskinen, an actuary, a man who thinks in numbers. It began in The Rabbit Factor when Henri learns he has inherited his brother’s adventure park, the failing YouMeFun. Henri discovers that Juvani had run up huge loans and in dealing with the financial stress, Henri discovers a hidden side to his own character that allows him to deal with the gangsters his brother was in debt to in new and unique ways. Along the way he begins to fall for Laura, an artist and the park’s manager. Henri’s adventures continued in The Moose Paradox where Juvani turned out not to be dead, and the new management of the supplier of the theme park attractions started playing dirty when Henri tries to buy the latest ride, but his romance with Laura blossoms.
Which brings us to The Beaver Theory, and as the novel starts, Henri is taking the biggest step of his life so far – moving in with Laura and her daughter Tuuli. Frankly, he’s loving it – until he puts his hand up at a parents meeting to look at the finances of the Dads group who are fundraising to take the kids to Paris. Henri finds himself dragged into a whirlwind of meetings, bake sales and the like by a group of over-enthusiastic puppies who refuse to acknowledge the huge task they have set themselves.
Meanwhile, business at YouMeFun has taken a downturn for there is a new competitor on the block. Somersault City is throwing money at taking away all of Henri’s customers. Not only are they giving free entry, but free hot dogs too, plus they have the latest attraction, the Beaver!
As in the preceding novels, The Beaver Theory begins with a prologue looking forward to later in the book, and as before Henri is in trouble – having snuck into Somersault City in the dead of night only to discover the corpse of the park manager inside the Beaver! There are shady goings on happening behind the scenes at Somersault City, and as a business rival Henri finds himself in the frame when cop duo Salmi and Lastumäki put their attention on him. However, Henri finds help from an unexpected quarter in Inspector Osmala with whom Henri had played cat and mouse before.
This final installment has everything we’ve come to expect from the previous two in terms of people up to no good, an increasing body count, all told with great dark humour. This time, however, the staff of YouMeFun rather take a back seat, as the antics of Henri and the dads form the supporting act, with Laura and Tuuli cementing it all together. The whole is witty and droll and just delightful with Henri as far from his comfort zone as usual until he finally finds his place in the world and discovers the meaning of family in all senses of the word.
You need to start at the first book with this trilogy and reading it will compel you to read to the end. Tuomainen has such a lightness of touch even in the darker moments, which, combined with the complexities of Henri’s personality makes for a joyous, fun read, which brings Henri’s story to a fitting conclusion.
Bring on the movie! Steve Carrell is down to star as Henri in the film of the first novel for Amazon Studios. No release details known yet.
Source: Review copy – Thank you! Orenda hardback, 272 pages. BUY at Blackwell’s via my affiliate link.