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Snow Angels

A book by James Thompson

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"In any man who dies, there dies with him, his first snow, and kiss and fight." Yevtishenko

  • Oct 5, 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 the nights being so cold, he removed the battery from his car and brought it inside his home to be sure it would start in the morning.

This is an intense and deeply interesting novel about a part of the world so different from what we are accustomed to. With the story being told during the Christmas season, we also have the juxtaposition of the happiness with the tragedy of death.

It's the time of darkness that adds to the depression of many people leading to alcoholism in many instances. In addition, when viewing the community's struggle in the winter, it is compelling to view what some people do to survive while others succumb.

This is a well written novel with an original plot. Inspector Vaara is an appealing character with love for his current wife and dedication to his job.

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October 05, 2012
Nice review! I read this one a while back and I remember how different the legal system is there and wondering also, why Vaara relocated from a fairly metropolitan area to there. It was an interesting read and I understand the author already has a sequel out.

Here is my review:
October 05, 2012
Well conveyed!
More Snow Angels reviews
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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Mike Draper ()
Ranked #54
Michael A.Draper retired from working as a financial planner with Mass Mutual.   Married to Diana for 48 years, one son and daughter-in-law and two lovely granddaughters.      … more
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About this book


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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ISBN-10: 0399156178
ISBN-13: 978-0399156175
Author: James Thompson
Publisher: Putnam Adult

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