Cruel is the Night
by Karo Hämäläinen
Translated from the Finnish by Owen F. Witesman
Published by Soho Crime, April 2017
From the publisher:
Prizewinning Finnish author Karo Hämäläinen’s English-language debut is a literary homage to Agatha Christie and a black comedy locked-room mystery about murder, mayhem, and morality in our cynical modern world.
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.
“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.”
“A very dark comedy… enjoy the ride.”
—INTERNATIONAL NOIR FICTION ON CRUEL IS THE NIGHT
“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 ON CRUEL IS THE NIGHT
“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 ON CRUEL IS THE NIGHT
“[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 ON CRUEL IS THE NIGHT
“[A] darkly elegant locked-room thriller?.”