Sunday, May 5, 2013

Review: Helsinki White

Helsinki White
Helsinki White by James Thompson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Noir
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of dark mysteries, well-told stories, surprises galore, good characters
Trigger Warnings: murder, vigilantism, hate speech (n-word), hate crimes, torture, drug use and abuse, drug dealing
Animal 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 tourniquet, and they then threaten to amputate its leg. There is no follow-up as to how badly injured the dog is.

My Thoughts: This book takes place about 5 months after the 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—I enjoyed this one the most. I think it's because Vaara's emotional flatness made everything so intellectually interesting to him; everything is told with dispassion that helps to distance the reader to a large extent. 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 even realize how ridiculous they sound? I was disappointed in how things ended with Moreau—I rather liked him—but like every book so far in this series, this one is absolutely full of surprises.

I'm even more desperate to continue this series now. I want to know what happens next. I'm hoping for the best but 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 who enjoy 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 already.

Series Information: Helsinki White is the third book in the Inspector Vaara series.
Book 1: Snow Angels, review linked here where formatting allowed.
Book 2: Lucifer's Tears, review linked here where formatting allowed
Book 4: Helsinki Blood, I do not have, but it is on my wishlist

Disclosure: I received a paperback galley from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis (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 consequences...

Meanwhile, Finland roils with hatred as its most extreme-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.

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