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American-born Thompson, who's lived in Finland for the past decade, offers a bleak look at the ravages of that country's long, dark winter as well as intriguing glimpses of Finnish culture in his solid U.S. debut, the first in a new crime series. Shortly before Christmas, Kari Vaara, the police chief of the Lapland town of Kittilä, gets a phone call informing him that the body of Sufia Elmi, a Somali refugee and minor film star, has been found in a snowfield on a reindeer farm. The victim has also been mutilated, perhaps raped, and a racial slur carved into her flesh. When Kari's ex-wife's lover becomes the prime suspect, Kari spurns the chance to recuse himself and presses on. The winter hazards of alcoholism, suicide and murder all play a part as Kari uncovers more suspects. Sufia's imperious father, Abdi Barre, who was a doctor in his native country and now runs a cleaning service, puts added pressure on Kari. Tangled smalltown relationships and lust also fuel this noirish thriller.(Jan.)
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Details

ISBN-10:  0399156178
ISBN-13:  978-0399156175
Author:  James Thompson
Publisher:  Putnam Adult
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review by . October 05, 2012
In a dark novel, Finnish Inspector Vaara is called by Sgt. Valtteri, informing him that black actress Suffia Elim's body has been found. She has been murdered and it looks like a hate crime.      There is instant drama in the novel as Vaara narrates the story in the hard boiled tradition of Hammett and Chandler. He is analytical and unemotional when dealing with these brutal crimes. His descriptions of the setting are also well done as when he describes …
review by . January 12, 2010
An American ex-pat who makes his home in Finland, Thompson combines a visceral American sensibility with the traditional melancholy distance of the Scandinavian thriller.    Racism and an insularity drive the investigation in this debut Inspector Kari Vaara novel, which centers on the extremely brutal murder of a beautiful Somali immigrant actress.    It's just before Christmas. Vaara is married to an American ski resort manager, pregnant with their first …
review by . December 01, 2009
It's always interesting to read a book that begins a new series, particularly one involving police procedurals. This extremely well written work, set in Finland, is the first in a proposed new series featuring a police inspector in a small Finnish town around the Arctic Circle. In the winter, there is really no daylight, and the people tend to be morose, drink a lot, and either kill someone else or themselves. A grim way of life!    The story concerns the brutal murder of a young …
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