Original title: Ilta on julma
Class/genre: Crime & Thriller
Three cell phones ring in an opulent London apartment. The calls go unanswered because their recipients are all dead.
Earlier that night, four Finnish friends meet for dinner. It’s been ten years since the host, Robert, has seen his once-best friend, Mikko. The two had an ideological falling-out because Robert, a banker, made millions off of unethical (but not illegal) interest rate manipulation. Mikko, meanwhile, is an investigative journalist who has dedicated his career to bringing down corrupt financiers and politicians. Mikko’s wife, Veera—with whom Robert once had a secret affair—and Robert’s young trophy wife, Elise, are also joining the fray. Mikko has arrived in London with an agenda and thinks he’s about to get away with murder, but he has no idea what’s on the menu for the night: not only does every diner have a bone to pick with another, but there’s an arsenal of deadly weapons hiding in plain sight.
And by the end of the night, there will only be one survivor…
FRANCE, Actes Sud
ITALY, Newton Compton Editori
WORLD ENGLISH, Soho Press
“A compelling setup. The diners’ repartee and the flashbacks revealing their relationships call to mind Herman Koch’s The Dinner . . . But Hämäläinen’s novel takes things to a completely different level. The reader follows the events safely through a wall of Plexiglas, holding back laughter, yet absolutely absorbed.” —Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland
“In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the night is tender, but in Karo Hämäläinen’s hands, it becomes extremely cruel. Champagne sabres are drawn, cyanide capsules get broken . . . Hämäläinen has produced a thriller that is not only imaginative and over the top, but also fitting within genre bounds while being far from generic.” —Kauppalehti newspaper, Finland
“This English-language debut by a prize-winning Finnish author has a great hook…[for] readers who enjoy books like L.S. Hilton’s Maestra and Caroline Kepnes’s You, in which the game is the goal.” — Library Journal
“A very dark comedy… enjoy the ride.” — International Noir
“Hämäläinen makes his English-language debut with a darkly humorous, carefully crafted Finnish take on the classic British locked-room mystery. Hämäläinen is at ease with using the four distinct character voices to shift the apparent power balance constantly over the course of the evening, providing both thrilling surprises and the dread of inevitability, all in the context of some truly delightful dinner dialogue.” — Publishers Weekly, starred review
“It’s hard to separate the potential killers from the probable victims, and the mood ranges from darkly humorous to just plain terrifying. Hamalainen is a wicked and controlled writer who rarely allows his readers a moment of peace.” — Toronto Star
“[A] well-paced thriller… raises thought-provoking questions and makes relevant political commentary. Crime-fiction readers shouldn’t think twice about accepting Hämäläinen’s invitation to this lethal dinner. ” — Shelf Awareness, starred review
“[A] darkly elegant locked-room thriller .” — Stop, You’re Killing Me!