Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Snow Angels - James Thompson

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)

Read an excerpt of Snow Angels.

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!


Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Yay! I'm glad you loved it as much as I did! I agree, once you start reading this one you can't put it down. I can't wait to read more from this author!

bermudaonion said...

The fact that it's set in Finland intrigues me. It sounds like quite a page-turner.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to be reading this one soon. It's getting some really good notices and I love a book that has the setting or the weather as a character.

Mrs Suvi said...

Oh gosh, now I really have to get this book! I've somehow managed to miss the hype around the book here in Finland which was around last summer. But thanks Luanne, I totally trust your taste in books, so I'm going to get this from the library soon.

Luanne said...

And I definitely want to hear what you think Pinkilili!!