James Thompson: Helsinki White



Fer s Tears I m about 70% in now and I m really wondering what the I m reading It s like a friend you know uite well who s brilliant company when he s sober who suddenly becomes unrecognisable when he s drunk violent amoral foul mouthed It s a shock The previous books were sharp focused sure This is chaos I seriously cannot recognise Kari the MC of the series in this book Sure he s had brain surgery for a benign tumour and the author is brilliantly showing the after ffects of such invasive intrusion in the mind but still This is a novel on steroids Guns and knives described in great lurid detail violent deaths thrown in almost as an afterthought I FEEL LIKE I M BEING SHOUTED AT THE WHOLE TIME AND IT S GETTING VERY TIRING I HAVE A HEADACHE NOW ALONG WITH THE AUTHOR AND THE MAIN CHARACTERI actually liked the way Thompson dealt with the race issues in the previous books He calls things as they are and doesn t try to appease limp willy liberals by tiptoeing around the cultural pressures that vast swathes of immigration from sub Saharan Africa can place on a small isolated Nordic peoples particularly on its police force But in this one it s almost too LOUD TO HEAR THE MESSAGE AND I M GETTING LOST IN THE SHOUTINGI will finish this I m acutely conscious of the fact that James Thompson gave his character the headaches because he too was suffering from them Whether he too had brain surgery and suffered the same cutting off of all his Mr. Christmas emotional responses is unclear he was an intensely private author If James Thompson s life spiralled downhill as Kari s is doing then I feel I owe it to him to finish this book I can t say I mxactly Where My Heart Used to Beat enjoying thexperience so far thoughI will update when I finish and my headache has subsided Finished I must say it was a relief I didn t The Truth (Discworld, enjoy this novel at all I couldn t care less now if Kari or his wife Kate live or die or any of the other odd people he s chosen to surround himself with There was a scene in this novel view spoiler where an 8 month pregnant woman gets deliberately shot in the stomach to force her to admit the location of some money It wasn tven that horrific cruelty that got to me it was the terrible writing of the scene One man had three very dangerous police officers one other woman and a baby all at his mercy with one gun and was alternately shooting them or cutting bits off but none of them were tied up or seemed to be resisting but worse not one sound was made The whole scene was silent Mr. Perfect except for the guy asking about the money I mean can you imagine such a bloodbath Ears coming off people being shot in the face teeth being shattered by bullets knees being blown apart the poor woman and her stomachbut silent No description of it other than almost what I ve given above hide spoiler There s a great myth believed by nearlyveryone that Finland is corruption free Police and politicians are scripture pure dedicated to the good of the nation beyond all things Foreigners Secret Suffragette even write about it in travel guides for tourists That s Kari Vaara telling us about his country in the first pages of James Thompson s new novel Helsinki White Shortly thereafter he goes on to say I run a heist gang I m a police inspector shakedown artist strong arm specialist andnforcerThree months ago I was an honest copWhat a way to kick off a bookSnow Angels James Thompson s first novel to feature Vaara as a protagonist was named by Booklist as one of the ten best debut crime novels of 2010 and was nominated for both an Edgar and an AnthonyHis second Lucifer s Tears was included in Kirkus s List of the Best Novels of 2011 And anyone who knows Kirkus also knows that they re the toughest critics that 7 Secrets of the Goddess ever there were or areNow Thompson has given us the third in his series Helsinki White and it s as cool as a Nordic windAs the book begins Vaara s personal life is bittersweet on the positive side he s a new dad deeply in love with his American wife Kate and infant daughter Anu on the negative he continues to suffer from paralyzing headaches is haunted by his pastxploits and is obsessed by thoughts about the type of man he has becomeMeanwhile his professional life keeps getting worse He and his boss Jyri Ivalo are polar no pun intended opposites The National Chief of Police is as corrupt and twisted as they come Vaara on the other hand is an Indianomix essentially moral man who sees his position in the police as a path to doing good perhaps the only thing he s ualified for in the doing good departmentThe men hateach other and the Chief would fire Vaara if he couldBut Vaara has something on him that would destroy the Chief s careerAnd despite the fact that the rot doesn t stop with Ivalo despite the fact that his principal assistant a man he can t get rid of is a sociopath despite the fact that he s been put in charge of a clandestine unit which has been specifically created to function outside the law Vaara wants to stay onCouldn t get any worse you thinkThen you don t know James ThompsonBefore the first chapter is out Vaara discovers his headaches are being caused by a brain tumor You might conclude from the little I ve told you that Helsinki White isn t a cheerful bookWell you d be right there But it s a fascinating one superbly written and full of insights about Thompson s adopted country Take this one about drinkingIt s May second a sunny SundayThe outdoor bars are packedYesterday was Vappu May Day the heaviest drinking holiday of the year and most of these people have been drunk non stop morning to night since they got off from work on FridayOr this one a scene that takes place on a tramTwo My Favorite Earthling (Otherworldly Men, elderly women one on a walker asked the driver a black immigrant a uestion about where to get off to reach her destination He answered in accented but understandable Finnish The two grannies sat in front of me and spoke in loud voices to make certain he could hear and discussed how the racialpithet deleted ought to learn to speak the Doglands expletive deleted language The grannies garnered guffawsNote both the racialpithet and the Riveted (Iron Seas, expletive add flavor and the anecdote can t be fully appreciated without them but this review wouldn t be published in certain venues if I d left them inAnd how about this unpleasant truth Here in Finland and the surrounding countries thousands of gangsters orchestrate the buying and selling of young girls and hundreds or thousands of those girls pass through this nationvery yearCorruption crooked cops racism wholesale An Officer and a Spy exploitation of minors not what you imagined Finland to be like is itNo Me neither White slavery issues play the most prominent roles in Helsinki White but there are a lot of other things going on as well the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire s children the murder of a Swedish speaking Finn a champion of immigrants rights the drug trade Vaara s blooming relationship with Arvid Lahtinen and the increasingly sinister role of Adrien MoreauTalk about rich characters Lahtinen is a war hero wanted forxtradition by the Germans Arvid knew Vaara s grandfather during the war They killed men together And Moreau is a French policeman Finnish by birth who spent fifteen years in the French Foreign Legion xercised his right as a Legionnaire and took French citizenship and identityThere s only one thing wrong with Helsinki White it s too short And if it was twice as long it would still be too short It s a first class crime novel and I don t think it will harm your njoyment of the book to share the words Thompson uses to conclude the final chapter By then the mysteries have been cleared up and most of the bad guys have gotten their just deserts June twenty sixth is mid summer s Recipe for Temptation (Madewood Brothers, eve the third anniversary of Kate and my first meeting On the twenty fourth I text Kate ask her if she would like to spend our anniversary together She doesn t reply Except for our two disastrous dinners I ve seen no one since I went into self imposed isolation I call my brother Timo He s having a party He invited me a while ago and I ask if I can still come Sure I go get whacked on Timo s pontikkaat grilled sausages They light the bonfire at midnight I get a text from Kate I miss you I don t think she wants a reply I put the phone back in my pocket have a long drink from my glass of pontikka and watch the flames climb higherWhere will the author take Kate and Kari Vaara from here Has Thompson backed himself into a corner with their relationship I hope notBut we re going to have to wait a year to find out. G no agenda besides xenophobia When the country's leading immigrants' rights advocate is assassinated and her head sent by mail to the Finnish Somalia Network the president assigns Kari to the murder Cracking this case will involve the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire's children a Faustian bargain with a former French legionnaire and Kat.

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Four and half star Pleasantly surprised after Lucifer s Tears xpectations after that were a little tuned down An half Star is missing only for certain plot points that went too far I don t want go to a politics but making True Finns Perus Suomalaiset just an anti immigrant assholes and bad guys was bit too much but i can forgive that because National Coalition Party Kokoomus gets some of the blame and they are the true Evil Ones who probably worship the Great CthulhuAll the racism war going on and a snooping on politicians went to James Ellroy territory in a good way A book structure is not conventional main plot starts somewhere after hundred pages or so and there is not much of an investigation work going on The main bulk consist of the Vaara s black op team work and it s most njoyable part to read The Family part gets it s fair share of pages and it s Kari Vaara is a cop in Finland whose wife Kate just had a baby girl and he is recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor The operation has left him with a loss of OBaby emotion something his brother assures him will pass Now that he is back at work his boss wants him to run a rogue unit and he is allowed to pick his own team Sweetness is the muscle of the group while Milo is the computerxpert They fall Nerds easily into their job of stealing drugs guns and money from thugs putting trackers on the cars of drug dealers so they can rob them again Kari had thought he would be doing something goodrescuing young girls who are being forced into prostitution but convinces himself that cutting the legs out from under criminals is just as good Kari has a lot of dirt on the higher ups but realizes that he and his team are also under surveillance There is an unsolved kidnapping case involving a billionaire s kids as well as the suspicious aid of a former French LegionnaireKate reluctantly agrees that Kari should work with this special unitven though he now is basically a dirty cop Arvid is back the Zack (Areion Fury MC elderly man who had served in the military with Kari s grandfather He has taken a liking to Kate and the babyKari s boss Jyri isn t to be trusted but Kari hasnough on him to keep him in line It s difficult to keep track of who s stabbing who in the back who to trust while trying to keep one step ahead of the powers that be Thompson gives an inside look into the political atmosphere in Finland as well as the culture Kate is drawn into Kari s dangerous life and almost loses her own which forces her to make a decision that will impact both of their lives American author James Thompson s Helsinki White GP Putnam Sons 2012 is as much about Finnish politics as it is about heroine crime and catching the bad guys with unorthodox methods What caught my attention when I selected the novel was that it s based in Finland a country that isn t often the setting for detective stories and it s told from the first person present tense of Inspector Kari Vaara a Finnish law Shadow on the Crown (The Emma of Normandy Trilogy, enforcement officer I know nothing about what drives Finland s governmentconomics or culture so was fascinated by this peek behind the curtains Since Vaara is married to an American I got ContamiNation explanations throughout the story of what was Finnish and how it differed from AmericaBriefly Vaara is asked to lead a black ops group tasked with turning the tide of a crime wave sweeping the country Funding for thisndeavor comes from money they steal from the criminals The only rule Succeed There are no limits on how Vaara s rogue group is so successful and so discreet that the criminals start fighting Taxi ins Glück each other in anffort to stop the crime busters This scalates and sparks political conseuences that were never imagined when the group was formed As the personal danger increases Vaara realizes that his only way out is to solve the political roots and hope he survivesMuch of the book deals with a graphic display of the violence and racial hatred that were both cause and result of the group s operations I was startled by how far Vaara veered from legal to catch his bad guys I would have found it hard to believe a law nforcement officer could swing that far to the dark side Losing My Virginity and Other Dumb Ideas except that Thompson set Vaara uparly in the story with a brain injury that The Magic Rolling Pin erased hismotions and conceivably his conscience As a result the book offers some intriguing insights into the human condition Nothing has intrinsic meaning We give meaning to the things important to us Plus the story s supporting characters are fully as warped as Vaara becomes reveling in the crime and violence they commit without any barometer for how far off center they are Overall these characters are not the sort I would hang out with Vaara seems to figure out that he s gone too far when he saysSo between January 26th the day I asked Kate his wife if I could become a Indecent... Exposure (Indecent, effective cop a manmpowered to truly help people by bending the rules of Not Without a Fight engagement in the war against crime and today I ve gone from if not a paragon of virtue a cop who mostly observed the rules governing my profession to a man who has no ualms about breaking any law committing almost any act to achieve my ownndsAs the book progresses it focuses on the racism that seemed to be drowning Finland Though Vaara isn t racist he does an Garden Bouquets and Beyond expert job of sharing the vileness of thextreme xenophobic Finnish groups and The Unseen Wonder enveloping you in theirvil taste and feelOverall this is a uniue approach to the noir crime stoppers genre made The Management Bible even so by a strong author with the ability to weave a fast moving intricate plot that never lets you go I recommend it with the reservation that its themes are in your face If you re weak of stomach you might want to skip it Having read and loved the first two books in the Inspector Vaara series by James Thompson I wasxcited to receive a copy of the latest book Helsinki White Inspector Vaara is a complex fascinating character a stoic man of principle married to an American Zu schnell ex pat living and working in the harsh winternvironment of Finland The political atmosphere rivals that of the Sleepless (Bird of Stone, elements Finland isxperiencing an onslaught of immigrants from Somalia the Arab nations and muslims And this predominantly insular nation finds itself needing police nforcement to curb the angry sometimes violent manifests against these immigrantsAnd that is why I liked the character of Inspector Vaara In the first 2 books he solved the heinous murders of Somalians and saved a school of children from a psycho with a gun He s a national hero not an angel by no means but a decent cop and loving family man Until this bookA new father recently diagnosed with a benign brain tumor Vaara is offered a dream job running a black ops unit to fight human trafficking He can t resist He and his partner Milo a talented computer hack and a two fisted civilian goon strangely named Sweetness make up the unit They break into the homes of criminals steal their money and drugs bug their phones and computer software leave incriminating vidence share the profits with the their police commissioner and Vaara goes home to change his daughter s diapers His unit is uite ffective but he has become as his wife succinctly points out a dirty copThis new Vaara commiting crimes to fight crime is acceptable until he has his brain surgery It unfortunately leaves him motionally and Invisible (The Curse of Avalon empathetically vacant He is unable to feel love or happiness for his family and must practice smiling in front of a mirror to maintain any pretense of the former Vaara When Sweetness pounds a dealer until he is bloody and his teeth are on the ground Vaara feels no revulsion And he definitely feels no remorse for the increasingly criminal behavior of his unit The man has lost his moral compass and this vacant shell with antisocial tendancies is what makes him intolerable to the readerYes there are times he has doubt about his actions and lack ofmotion but it is fleeting and superficial He can tell his wife the bloody details of Yummy Supper everything the unit does and sheven benefits from the outcome but he can t tell her the surgery has left him joyless and indifferent If Vaara was truly torn by the political violence in his country and the reprehensible acts commited by his team his character would be sympathetic and flawed Helsinki White makes him a sociopathThompson s comprehension that Finns no longer hate in silence and have become a nation of social and political xenophobes is the background of his novels specially this one His adopted country s aggressive sta. Two days after their daughter is born Kari Vaara drops a bombshell on his American wife Kate He has a brain tumor and he's been handpicked to run a rogue black ops unit using crime to fight crimeAfter recovering from surgery he gets to work The black ops unit is small and reports directly to Finland's national chief of police They have secre.

Nce against immigration mirrors that of America including ven the Deep Listening existence of a growing political party that unfortunately resembles the Teabaggers Thislement fleshes out the story significantly it helps the reader understand why a good cop would want to fight against this growing tide of racial hatred But it does not justify why a national hero and loving family man becomes a morally repugnant rogue with a badgeI know the series will continue and I want to read the next book I need to see if Vaara realizes what he has lost and if he will rectify his actions He may be able to fight the criminal lement but I would rather he not be part of the problem POSSIBLE SPOILERSPOSSIBLE SPOILERSPOSSIBLE SPOILERSI must say that I have had a really rough time with reviewing this book This is my second review I have ven gone outside to others to seek feedback Here is whyI on average read over 400 books per year In those 400 books I would say that 90% of the time after I have read them they are out of sight out of mind with the ability to pull up a very basic synopsis if needed However I have a couple of characters and authors whom I have grown particularly fond of Really for the most part these are limited to Alex McKnight by Steve Hamilton Louis Kincaid by P J Parr Book Info Genre MysteryNoirReading Level AdultRecommended for Fans of dark mysteries well told stories surprises galore good charactersTrigger Warnings murder vigilantism hate speech n word hate crimes torture drug use and abuse drug dealingAnimal Abuse cat murder x4 I liked Arvid but I don t think I can forgive him for murdering four grieving cats A dog a Fila Brasileiro attacks the group and is hit with a razor tipped cane and Tasered its leg put in a tourniuet and they then threaten to amputate its leg There is no follow up as to how badly injured the dog isMy Thoughts This book takes place about 5 months after the Evolution, Me Other Freaks of Nature end of the previous one or at least the bulk of it does There is a long flashback segment that covers most of those five months Despite the overall ugliness of this story and have no doubt about it it s very ugly Injoyed this one the most I think it s because Vaara s Lara and the Gray Mare (Hoofbeats: Lara and the Gray Mare, emotional flatness madeverything so intellectually interesting to him Trajan everything is told with dispassion that helps to distance the reader to a largextent I also often found myself laughing at the nonsense that the haters would say I know it isn t funny but honestly you have to laugh at this stuff if you don t want to cry Do these people Bunnys Book Club Goes to School even realize how ridiculous they sound I was disappointed in how thingsnded with Moreau I rather liked him but like The Peculiar Pig every book so far in this series this one is absolutely full of surprisesI mven desperate to continue this series now I want to know what happens next I m hoping for the best but Cherry Ingram expecting the worst as that seems to be the way this series is going However speaking for the series as a whole now I can highly recommend it to those whonjoy their murder mysteries dark their characters interesting if not necessarily nice and their stories well told Be sure to check them out if you haven t alreadySeries Information Helsinki White is the third book in the Inspector Vaara seriesBook 1 Snow Angels review linked here where formatting allowedBook 2 Lucifer s Tears review linked here where formatting allowedBook 4 Helsinki Blood I do not have but it is on my wishlistDisclosure I received a paperback galley from Vine in The Mermaids Shoes exchange for an honest review All opinions are my ownSynopsis from the back of the book Two days after their daughter is born Kari Vaara drops a bombshell on his American wife Kate he s been handpicked to run a rogue black ops unit using crime to fight crime But Kari s team is too good and their actions have unintended conseuencesMeanwhile Finland roils with hatred as its mostxtreme right political party gains popularity despite having no agenda besides xenophobia When the country s leading immigrants rights advocate is assassinated the president assigns Kari to the case Cracking it will involve the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire s children a Faustian bargain with a former French Legionnaire and Kate First a recommendation for anyone new to Jim s books read the Inspector Vaara series in order Snow Angels Lucifer s Tears then Helsinki White And then hopefully a lot books to follow The characters grow and change a lot in Untameable Rogue (Bennett each book Even if the book and the story would work a standaloneach book will show you a different Finland A wild very The McKettrick Way (McKettricks, exotic Lapland which was veryxotic to someone who grew up in Helsinki too then a classic KallioHelsinki with modern issues and now Helsinki White which not only is a crime story but it also captures the political feel of Finland for the past few years Corruption racism Real Finns party all 300 pages reflect some of the reasons why I ll never have desire to live in that country again The political atmosphere and so many people s attitudes are captured well They are also things that no one is supposed to see and talk about in Finland a foreigner ven less It s all supposed to be still the image created on the times of Kekkonen the worker s paradise with well I guess happy people and where all the things the state does are for the good of its people And I thought the racism was bad in the 90sSo before I ven go to the story here s my recommendation I d say not just the book but the whole series is definitely recommended for anyone who likes or is interested in Finland and Maybe This Time (Belonging especially for anyone who wants to go to live there for any reason The Real Finns party and how popular it apparently is isn t unfortunately just fiction it s the other part of the white country up there in the North that you re not supposed to see and not supposed to talk about It s not supposed to be there It s time someone in Finland did a version of Black Like Me John Howard Griffin style make it Somali Like Me Instead of the dark and very honky Mississippi visit the Alabama of Europe Joensuu region as a Somali with perfect Finnish skills Please someone do it film it and write it I want to see that things have changed that the racist memory of that country only belongs in the past and imagination Until I see it I don t believe it At thend of Lucifer s Tears the Vaaras had their first daughter Helsinki White continues from just a few days after that Kari drops Kate the bomb brain tumor Which will change him and make his character Finnish colder void of most Effetto domino emotion His morals seem to change too and he becomes in a short time a rotten cop in his new role cleaning the city from its worst criminals How does it feel being married to a famous cop asks a girl who s got a crush with Kari from Kate Like being married to Tony SopranoHe s called to investigate a murder of a Swedish speaking Finnish politician whose head is found at the Finnish Somalia Network headuarters Add politics racist politics corruption corrupt politicians Milo s and Sulo s take on some surveillance drugs drug dealers anx Finnish servant of the French secret police a missing politician s son and another child of the same politician murdered and stir Keep adding racist and political stuff drugs corruption and some sexy spy and cop gear and stir Oh and add alcohol and stir Suggested pairing for the book vodka Any decent one you can drink without getting a morkkis or a hangover on doses you can manage The next Vaara will need again a Fresh new take on Finland a few new characters and then a few hundred twists and turns to hit the spot for all the Nesb fans Can t wait Sigh I didn t like itThe thing that made me come back to the Kari Vaara books was Kari Vaara himself He wasn t in this book not the Kari Vaara I likedSadly I think this wasn t a thriller at all It was a political book with an agenda Very very Americanized It s clearly aimed at American public A Finn like me just gaped at the interpretation of our country and its people Okay I know it s fiction but I was insulted by the picture painted of some thinly disguised politicians It just wasn t believableIt wasn t a book about the country where I live Nor about the Helsinki I love It was well Chicago New York whatever moved to Finland The things described in the book can very well happen over there set here they just sound ridiculous I found the picture of my country oversimplified and seen through malevolent The Midwifes Miracle Baby eyes I crashed straight into this one from reading Snow Angels and Luci. Cy autonomy and the cash to buy all the high tech gear Soon the unit is cleaning house robbing Helsinki's mobsters blind of their cash dope and illegal firearms But Kari's team is too good and their actions have unintended conseuences Meanwhile Finland roils with hatred as its mostxtreme right political party gains popularity despite havin.

Jim has suddenly passed away on August 1 2014With his first internationally published novel Snow Angels James Thompson proved himself Finland’s best and most popular representative in the rise of Nordic noir It was selected as one of Booklist’ s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and nominated for an Edgar Award an Anthony Award and a Strand Critics Award His novel Lucifer’s Tears has r