Helsinki White (Inspector Vaara Series #3)by James Thompson
Inspector Kari Vaara, recovering from brain surgery, is back to doing police work—under circumstances most cops only dream of. Reporting directly to the national chief of police, Kari and his partners Milo and Sulo have been granted secrecy and autonomy for their new black-ops unit, and plenty of cash to work with, including whatever they can steal from Helsinki’s mobsters.
But Kari's team is too good, and their actions have unintended consequences...The president of Finland wants the team on a new case: the vicious assassination of a prominent immigrants' rights activist. Against a backdrop of simmering hatred spreading across the country, Kari must solve a case that involves the kidnapping of a billionaire’s children, a Faustian bargain with a former French Legionnaire—and his own wife.
“Thompson's style is on the dark end of the ‘Nordic Noir’ spectrum. The genre — with its stark and often violent police procedurals — has proved wildly successful…The marquee names have come from Sweden — think Stieg Larsson's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or Henning Mankell's Wallander series — but Norway's Jo Nesbo and Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir have also made their mark with international readers. Thompson stands out from that crowd by writing in English and telling Vaara's gritty narrative in the first person. ”--The New York Times
“In his dozen years of living in Finland…Thompson has absorbed enough cold, dark atmosphere for a spot on the roster of top Nordic crime writers—Mankell, Nesbø, Indrioason and the like.”—The New York Post
“A must-read for fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell.”—Booklist
“The laconic voice of Inspector Kari Vaara is at the same time dangerous and human, his world cold, barren, yet intriguingly exotic.”—Peter Høeg, New York Times bestselling author of Smilla’s Sense of Snow
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Meet the Author
James Thompson, eastern Kentucky-born and –raised, has lived in Finland for more than a dozen years; he now resides in Helsinki with his wife. His debut novel, Snow Angels, was selected as a Booklist Best Crime Novel Debut of the Year and was nominated for Edgar®, Anthony, and Strand Magazine critics awards. Before becoming a full-time writer, Thompson studied Finnish—in which he is fluent—and Swedish, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker and soldier. He is also the author of Lucifer's Tears, also in the Inspector Vaara series.
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An enjoyable read and one of a excellant series
There is a chracter shift (textally explanatory)which is qute a bit jarring in comparison with th previous novels but it was necessary and crafted well. Kari just took readers to a bit darker place in this book. It was a very good thought provoking read which will make readers think and be forced to look at things people pretend not to. Thompson in truth was quite brave and ballsy in writing this book and i commend his courage. Yes it is fiction however the truths in it are the things people cannot ignore as their realities are beyond terrible. Cannot wait for the next book.
I have read each of the Inspector Vaara series. Just read the fourth book, Helsinki Blood. I am learning much about the problems that have surrounded this country that exists partly north of the Arctic Circle. I was happy with the 4th book's ending, after being upset after book # 3.
Inspector Kari Vaara, the protagonist in this series, in which this is the third entry, has a reputation as a “hero cop,” having been shot twice in the line of duty and decorated for bravery both times. Possessed of “annoying incorruptibility,” he has just been offered, and accepted, a job running a black-ops unit in his native Helsinki, using crime to fight crime with hand-selected (and admittedly sociopathic) cohorts who have “secrecy, autonomy, and the resources to buy anything they need for the job.” As the tale opens, Kari is recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor, the unsettling after-effects of which are psychological/emotional rather than physical. His motives were primarily altruistic: “I took this job and started this illegal operation after being promised that it was for the purpose of helping people” specifically “young women being forced into the slave trade and prostitution.” He has, however, been misled: things take unexpected turns, and he soon discovers that “corruption has no limits among the powerful, even when it involves murder.” The plot is a complex one, involving as it does national problems, not entirely, or even partially, fictional, primarily the racism and anti-immigration feelings rampant in modern society in Nordic and other European Union countries, and in other parts of the world as well, with rising fears about “the contagion of non-white immigration.” The author makes these social issues palpable. Though not the page-turner I initially expected, this is an absorbing book, well-written, and one in which, be forewarned, the closing pages are not for the faint of heart. I enjoyed this book so much that next up for this reader is “Helsinki Blood,” published one month following this entry in the series. Recommended.