Lucifer's Tears (Inspector Vaara Series #2)

( 8 )

Overview

From the acclaimed author of Snow Angels comes a new novel featuring Inspector Vaara.

Inspector Kari Vaara has left the Arctic Circle and returned- reluctantly-to Helsinki, where headaches and sleeplessness plague him. But he must work through the pain. He has two cases on his plate: the brutal murder of a Russian businessman's wife, and-more secretively-an investigation into an elderly Finnish national hero who may have played a darker role in World War II than the public ...

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Lucifer's Tears (Inspector Vaara Series #2)

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Overview

From the acclaimed author of Snow Angels comes a new novel featuring Inspector Vaara.

Inspector Kari Vaara has left the Arctic Circle and returned- reluctantly-to Helsinki, where headaches and sleeplessness plague him. But he must work through the pain. He has two cases on his plate: the brutal murder of a Russian businessman's wife, and-more secretively-an investigation into an elderly Finnish national hero who may have played a darker role in World War II than the public knows. Vaara's past has turned him into a haunted man. The questions he's asking now may turn him into a hunted man as well...

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Editorial Reviews

Patrick Anderson
…a fast-moving, readable slice of Nordic noir…Despite his multiplicity of plotlines, Thompson's narrative skill keeps things moving at a lively pace…the haunted, trouble-prone Vaara is an intriguing character, one who recalls Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch and Ian Rankin's John Rebus.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Thompson's stellar second thriller featuring Insp. Kari Vaara (after Snow Angels) finds Vaara working as a homicide detective in Helsinki, where he investigates the torture murder of Iisa Filippov. While Vaara suspects the victim's Russian husband, Ivan, he can't touch Ivan because the Russian is well connected within the police department. Vaara also looks into international accusations of war crimes against a Finnish national hero, 90-year-old Arvid Lahtinen, who allegedly executed Jews and other POWs at a secret Finnish stalag during WWII. But he soon learns that not only did his own grandfather serve in the same unit but the stalag is just one of the wartime secrets Lahtinen is hiding that are potentially embarrassing to the Finnish government. The arrival of Vaara's pregnant wife's brother and sister from the States doesn't make his home life easy. Thompson elegantly threads Finland's compelling national history with Vaara's own demons in this taut, emotionally wrought novel. (Mar.)
Library Journal
In Thompson's second crime novel featuring Inspector Kari Vaara (Snow Angels), the brooding Finnish homicide detective has moved from small-town Lapland to urban Helsinki for a fresh start. Instead, Kari juggles a multitude of woes. He's racked by migraines and petrified that the pregnancy of his American wife, Kate, will end badly. Meanwhile, Kate's alcoholic brother and self-righteous sister are visiting. The interior minister wants him to investigate a 90-year-old security police veteran accused of committing war crimes—atrocities that also implicate Kari's beloved grandfather. To top it off, a case involving the grisly S&M-tinged murder of a Russian businessman's wife has stalled. The husband is guilty, but Kari can't prove it—until an unlikely ally intervenes. VERDICT Thompson, an American expat living in Finland, tends to let his affinity for multiple story lines get the better of him. Fortunately, his intriguing insights into Nordic cultures help compensate, as does the book's hard-boiled sensibility. Give this to readers of gritty procedurals both international and domestic [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/10.]—Annabelle Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews

Inspector Kari Vaara's success in cracking the Sufia Elmi murder (Snow Angels, 2010) wins him a transfer from the sticks to Helsinki, below the Arctic Circle but just as hospitable to cold-blooded murder.

Two cases compete with his wife's pregnancy, already complicated by pre-eclampsia and an extended visit from her boorish American brother and sister, for Kari's attention. The more florid case is the murder of Iisa Filippov, who was stripped, bound, beaten with a riding crop and burned with cigarettes before she died. Everything about the ritual killing points to her ice-water husband Ivan, who owns an asbestos-removal business, and his secretary Linda Pohjoda, who bears an uncanny resemblance to both the murder victim and the 1950s bondage pinup girl Bettie Page. But Kari is repeatedly stonewalled by Ivan and hamstrung by his boss, national police chief Jyri Ivalo. More intriguingly, Jyri seems just as interested in the more obscure case, an allegation that Finnish war hero Arvid Lahtinen, at 90 the sole survivor of Stalag 309, was actually complicit with the Nazis in running the camp and executing its inmates. Recognizing that Arvid may have been in cahoots with government higher-ups and Kari's own grandfather, Kari keeps returning to him for one more round of questions till his two leading cases (there are others as well) collide with a satisfying snap.

Nazi collaboration, government cover-ups, kinky sex, a baby daughter waiting impatiently to be born and a vigilante-minded hero who talks back to his boss more irreverently than Dirty Harry. What more could you want?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781410438867
  • Publisher: Gale Cengage Learning
  • Publication date: 7/20/2011
  • Series: Inspector Vaara Series , #2
  • Edition description: Large Print Edition
  • Pages: 430
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

James Thompson, eastern Kentucky born and raised, has lived in Finland for the past decade and currently makes his home in Helsinki with his wife. Before becoming a full-time writer, Thompson studied Swedish and Finnish, in which he is fluent, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker, photographer, rare coin dealer, and soldier. He is also the author of the Inspector Vaara novels Snow Angels and Helsinki White.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great flawed character

    I read James Thompson's first Inspector Vaara novel - Snow Angels- last year. I loved it and was thrilled to see the next book - Lucifer's Tears - in the series.
    Inspector Kari Vaara has moved from the far north of Finland to Helsinki. His American born wife Kate is expecting their child any day. Their first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and Vaara is terrified that the same will happen again. He is trying to stay close to home and keep reasonable hours, but he is the new guy on the Homicide squad and he hasn't exactly been welcomed with open arms. He's on the graveyard shift with the other new guy- a wunderkid who seems a bit...off, somehow. But then again, so does Vaara.

    He and his new partner Milo are called out to what appears to be a domestic murder. A husband wakes up and realizes he's been sleeping with a corpse - his dead wife. He pleads innocence, that it's her lover they should be after, but the powers that be seem to have the case already solved - with the verdict they want.

    At the same time, the Interior Minister wants Vaara to investigate a 90 year old man for war crimes. He wants an innocent verdict, but Germany wants the man extradited as a Nazi war criminal. It gets more complicated when Vaara realizes he has a family connection to the old man's story.

    Vaara is battling crippling headaches, insomnia and corrupt leaders on every level. And his wife's brother and sister have just arrived from the US to help with the baby. They're not much help.

    Inspector Kari Vaara is just a great flawed character. He's highly intelligent, but sometimes acts without thinking. He constantly defies his superiors, but he gets results. His personal demons drive him, but he is a dedicated husband and soon to be father. Supporting characters are just as well drawn. Milo kept me off balance and I really disliked Kate's family.

    The plot has enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the end. Nothing is straight forward and the two cases intersect in a way I didn't see coming. A word of warning to readers - the crimes are graphic in nature.

    The setting is yet another character. The history and politics of Finland play a large part in this book. I also found the culture and food references interesting. The cold and the weather are tangible as well.

    "My home, Finland. The ninth and innermost circle of hell. A frozen lake of blood and guilt formed from Lucifer's tears, turned to ice by the flapping of his leathery wings."

    James Thompson's story is interesting as well. He was born and raised in eastern Kentucky, but has lived in Finland for 12 years now. He is also fluent in both Swedish and Finnish.

    Fans of Michael Connelly would love Kari Vaara. Any yes - if you've finished all the Steig Larssons, you'd enjoy this series as well.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Lucifer's Angels is a super Finnish police procedural

    Police Inspector Kari Vaara now works homicide in Helsinki since his wife Kate detested living in his hometown. Kari has a lot on his plate with his pregnant wife only weeks away from giving birth after miscarrying last year. He is hurting mentally over the Sufia Elmi case that left his face scarred and physically from headache from a three-week long migraine with the end nowhere in sight. Worse than the headache is his new partner Milo who is a certified genius with a Dirty Harry gunslinger perspective. New to homicide, his office peers wonder if he will break solving a homicide. There hasn't been an unsolved homicide in decades

    Kari gets a chance to prove them wrong when he is assigned the torture murder of Lisa Filippov whose lover is arrested for killing his married mistress. His superiors order Kari to find evidence to hang the lover and look nowhere else, but Kari instead notices anomalies that lead him to believe the Finnish government is protecting the husband, influential Russian businessman arrogant Ivan Filippov, abetted by his mistress, who he believes likely committed the murder

    His other inquiry also has high government visibility as Germany demands the extradition of Finnish World War II hero Arvid Lahinen to stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed in Northern Finland. The Interior Minister demands Kari proves the hero is innocent so he cannot be deported; nothing condemning the hero is acceptable.

    .Lucifer's Angels is a super Finnish police procedural that quickly immerses the reader into the exciting story line. The audience learns much about Finnish society today and explosive events not found in history texts about Finland's role in WWII. Kari is a fascinating protagonist with personal issues and whose first two Helsinki investigations have big brother government telling him the acceptable outcome.

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    LUCIFER¿S TEARS by James Thompson.  Inspector Kari Vaara and his

    LUCIFER’S TEARS by James Thompson.  Inspector Kari Vaara and his American wife Kate, in late stage of pregnancy after previously miscarrying twins, have returned to Helsinki after ‘SNOW ANGELS’ case; Vaara has been plagued by continuous headaches and insomnia for months; Kate’s brother and sister, both with problems of their own, arrive for a visit from U.S.; investigates complicated murder of wealthy married woman, which is hindered by superiors; also investigates possible involvement of Finish war hero and Vaara’s own grandfather in war crimes.  Just as good as SA; rating, 4 ½ stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    recommended

    good story well drawn characters

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

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