I started Snow Angels on a lazy Sunday morning. I finished Snow Angels the same night. Yes, it was that good. And a genre I love - mystery thrillers. It's newly released today from Penguin Canada.
It is Kaamos in Finland - the darkest time of the year, just before Christmas. Inspector Kari Vaara is looking forward to Christmas with his newly pregnant, American wife. Instead, he is called out to a murder scene in the bitter cold. The victim is a beautiful Somali refugee who had become a minor movie star in Finland. The crime is horrific and seems both racially and sexually motivated. Vaara resists having another squad from Helsinki coming in to run the case. But has he bitten off more than he can handle?
And that's just the beginning. The plot twists and turns. What seemed to be an obvious solve took a sharp left turn more than once, keeping me guessing. Vaara himself is an interesting character. He is highly intelligent, but sometimes makes a call based on emotion, with repercussions. The subplot involving his wife's unhappiness with Finland lets us discover Vaara as a human, not just a cop. And his wife's unhappiness brings another character to the book - the dark, the bleakness, the isolation that is Finland in the dead of winter. Thompson writes what he knows. The descriptions of the cold and the lives of those enduring that cold made me shiver. (-40 degrees)
Caught up with Steig Larsson? Definitely read Snow Angels. Fans of Michael Connelly take note - he has provided a cover blurb for Snow Angels - "Masterful".
James Thompson's story is interesting as well. He was born and raised in Kentucky, but has lived in Finland for 10 years now. He is fluent in both Swedish and Finnish. Snow Angels is his first English book. An author who is now firmly on my must read list. Cannot wait for #2 in the Vaara series!