Monday, March 12, 2012

Nights Of Awe-Harri Nykanen

Nights Of Awe

Harri Nykanen

Bitter Lemon, Mar 20 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781904738923

Helsinki Police Department Violent Crime Unit Inspector Ariel Kafka is assigned to investigate the deaths of two Arabs. One died falling from a railway bridge while the other was stabbed and shot with his nose and ears removed. Ariel assumes the case is to test his work ethics as the only Jewish police officer in the city at a time he mediates during the high holy Nights of Awe between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

A mobile phone is retrieved leading vigilant Ariel to the Iraqi Ali's Body Shop where two more corpses are found. The initial mass murders look gang related, but Ariel feels something is off kilter. Digging deeper, he begins to uncover evidence linking the homicides to terrorism. Meanwhile the Finnish Security Police watch his every move while some members of the synagogue where he prays provide Ariel with information that sends him looking back at his younger days and others want him to remember he is a Jew so he must support Israel regardless.

This is an excellent Finnish police procedural starring a Jewish cop being yanked in several directions by his due diligence as a police officer and his religious affiliation that want him to drop the inquiry to “protect” Israel. Ariel makes the case work as he learns that it has been seven decades since the Holocaust yet that stll remains a powerful influence on Israel and Jews around the world; especially during the Nights of Awe by those living near where the Final Solution was deployed. Readers will appreciate this strong character driven mystery as my nephew would say that Jews in the West don’t become big city cops.

Harriet Klausner

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