Cruel Is the Night: Book summary and reviews of Cruel Is the Night by Karo Hamalainen

Cruel Is the Night

by Karo Hamalainen

Cruel Is the Night by Karo Hamalainen X
Cruel Is the Night by Karo Hamalainen
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2017
    320 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

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 manipulations. Mikko, meanwhile, is an investigative journalist who has dedicated his career to bringing down corrupt financiers and politicians. Also along for the evening are Mikko's wife, Veera - with whom Robert once had a secret affair - and Robert's young trophy wife, Elise. 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 be only one survivor.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. 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

"The quartet dance around failed and aborted murder attempts as Hämäläinen initiates a nail-biting shell game of poisons and allegiances. It's clear early on that only one of them will survive the night , but clever storytelling masks Hämäläinen's secrets until the final pages." - Booklist

"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." - Helsingin Sanomat (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 (Finland)

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More Information

Karo Hämäläinen spent 15 years as an economics reporter and currently works as the managing editor of Parnasso, Finland's leading literary publication. His debut novel, The Buyout, was shortlisted for the 2011 Savonia Prize and received the 2012 Tampere Literary Prize. His novel Alone won the 2016 Savonia Prize. Following stints in Munich, Berlin, and Tampere, he now lives in Helsinki. In his spare time, he likes reading and running; his record marathon time is 3:04:04.

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