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Snow Angels: a book

A thriller from James Thompson

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That's The Way They Do Things in Finland?

  • Jan 15, 2010

What made this book so good to me is that I needed to throw out what I ususally know about police thrillers and learn a whole new way of thinking.  That is what happens in a place where it is virtually dark all the time during the winter, super cold, police do things that we would consider ultra corrupt, poor chain of evidence controls and the most gruesome killer only faces a maximum of 12 years in prison.

Kari Vaara is a Finnish detective told to solve quickly a grisly murder of a Somalian actress.  The woman was murdered in the style of the Black Dalhia of the United States.  To top things off the main suspect is Seppo, the man who took Kari's wife Heli away from him several years ago (a conflict of interest that would cause a mistrial in the US).

All this happens around the Christmas holidays and Kari is further pressured by his American wife who has had enough of the Finnish way of doing things and the long dark winters.  She wants Kari to leave the Finnish police and move back to Colorado with her.  

As the book progresses we feel Kari's torment from all ends, including the haunting memories of Kari's sister, who perished in a skating accident while she was with Kari.  As the case progresses Kari can't figure out if the killer was one or different combinations of multiple individuals.  On top of it all, the darkness seems to set off more murders and a suicide. 

I never read a novel quite like this one and found it both fascinating and unsettling at the same time.  The book cover calls the tale a Kari Vaara story so that implies that Kari will be back to do it again.  I will look for future tales.

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I first got on this blog to discuss my first passion which is books. Since I have gotten on I find that books are only a piece of this blog and I can discuss just about anything that comes to mind. It … more
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About this book


The first thriller in a new series featuring Inspector Kari Vaara: the haunted, hardened detective who must delve into Finland's dark and violent underbelly.

Kaamos: Just before Christmas, the bleakest time of the year in Lapland. The unrelenting darkness and extreme cold above the Arctic Circle drive everyone just a little insane . . . perhaps enough to kill.

A beautiful Somali immigrant is found dead in a snowfield, her body gruesomely mutilated, a racial slur carved into her chest. Heading the murder investigation is Inspector Kari Vaara, the lead detective of the small-town police force. The vicious killing may have been a hate crime, a sex crime-or one and the same. Vaara knows he must keep this potentially ex­plosive case out of the national headlines or else it will send shock waves across Finland, an insular nation afraid to face its own xenophobia.

The demands of the investigation begin to take their toll on Vaara and his marriage. His young American wife, Kate, newly pregnant with their first child, is struggling to adapt to both the unforgiving Arctic climate and the Finnish culture of silence and isolation. Meanwhile Vaara himself, haunted by his rough childhood and failed first marriage, discovers that the past keeps biting at his heels: He suspects that the rich man for whom his ex-wife left him years ago may be the killer.

Endless night can drive anyone to murder.
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