Saturday, February 18, 2012

Helsinki White-James Thompson

Helsinki White

James Thompson

Putnam, Mar 15 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9780399158322

In Helsinki, police inspector Kari Vaara is ecstatic with the birth of his daughter Anu and that his beloved American wife Kate is okay. However, a few days later, he informs Kate that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor. If that is not enough of a shocker, Kari also tells her Finland’s national chief of police Jyr Ivalo assigns him to head up SUPO; a police unit fighting organized crime by committing crimes against these mobs. SUPO, who reports to Jyr only, consists of Kari, his former partner Milo Nieminien and his mentee Sulo “Sweetness” Polvinen.

Kati goes on sick leave to have the tumor removed. After recovering, he his two teammates begin the robbery campaign as they successfully steal cash, drugs, and weapons from the mobs. Although rumors of his being on the take abound, when the Minister of Immigration Lisbet Soderlund is beheaded in a racial assault, Tom is assigned to investigate this and the cold case kidnapping of wealthy superego Veikko Saukko’s children Antti and Kaarina, and Kaarina's murder just after her return home. He obtains needed help from former French legionnaire Adrien Moreau while he fears he has become part of the cesspool destroying the city.

The latest Vaara Finnish police procedural Kari (see Snow Angels and Lucifer's Tears) is an ultra-dark thriller that grips readers with its insightful look at racism and the related anti-immigration fervor. Action-packed yet character driven by the protagonist who fears he has become one of the sordid unworthy of his two females, aptly titled Helsinki White depressingly reminds readers that this may be fiction, but real incidents makes it sadly easier for James Thompson to write his exciting grim tale.

Harriet Klausner

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