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Lucifer's Tears (Inspector Vaara, Book 2) Hardcover – March 17, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; First Edition edition (March 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039915700X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157004
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #962,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Thompson's stellar second thriller featuring Insp. Kari Vaara (after Snow Angels) finds Vaara working as a homicide detective in Helsinki, where he investigates the torture murder of Iisa Filippov. While Vaara suspects the victim's Russian husband, Ivan, he can't touch Ivan because the Russian is well connected within the police department. Vaara also looks into international accusations of war crimes against a Finnish national hero, 90-year-old Arvid Lahtinen, who allegedly executed Jews and other POWs at a secret Finnish stalag during WWII. But he soon learns that not only did his own grandfather serve in the same unit but the stalag is just one of the wartime secrets Lahtinen is hiding that are potentially embarrassing to the Finnish government. The arrival of Vaara's pregnant wife's brother and sister from the States doesn't make his home life easy. Thompson elegantly threads Finland's compelling national history with Vaara's own demons in this taut, emotionally wrought novel. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* One year after the traumatic events of Snow Angels (2010), Inspector Kari Vaara is now living in Helsinki with his heavily pregnant American wife. While Kate has adjusted well to their new life, Vaara still struggles; returning to Helsinki is not easy for him, and now Kate�s pregnancy is causing him such extreme stress that he has barely slept for months and has headaches that last for weeks. Disliked by the rest of the homicide department, Vaara is partnered with Milo, the other department pariah, an enthusiastic, lonely, and eccentric detective with unusual hobbies. When they are assigned to investigate the death of a wealthy married woman, found in another man�s bed, the seemingly cut-and-dried case soon becomes a tangled web that Vaara is determined to unweave, no matter the preferences of his superiors. Meanwhile, he is also given an off-the-record job of investigating a national hero who is currently wanted for war crimes from WWII and who may very well have known Vaara�s beloved grandfather. Together these plots form an impossible-to-put-down read. Thompson�s second book, even better than the first, will surely be one of the best Nordic mysteries published in 2011. Essential reading for all fans of Arnaldur Indridason, Stieg Larsson, Henning Mankell, and Jo Nesb�. --Jessica Moyer

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Customer Reviews

This terrific chilling thriller from Thompson is exceptional.
G. Alexander
Better than the first. everyone you meet, you think you know. and when you think you have it figured out, YOUR WRONG!!
vee deezy
I do feel that the ending was a bit too neatly wrapped up and the superior too easily capitulated.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The second installment of Finnish homicide detective Kari Vaara has moved from the Arctic Circle to Helsinki, a typically warmer climate, but is laden with the same grim Scandinavian malaise so pervasive in Snow Angels. The laconic Vaara requested a new assignment following the personal trauma and collateral damage of the Sufia Elmi case. His American wife, Kate, is 8 ˝ months pregnant, and Kari is plagued with headaches and stress over her pregnancy.

In this story, Vaara is investigating the murder of a woman, Iisa Fillipov, who was married to a debauched business leader in the community. Iisa's extramarital Estonian lover, Rein Saar, is the primary suspect--he woke up with her dead body beside him. Vaara is also asked to investigate an alleged war criminal, and to cover up any trails that lead to affirmation of his guilt (keep Finland spotless). The chief of police and interior minister are pressing this case on him because of his grandfather's possible involvement. that On top of all this, Kate's American siblings are coming to visit.

This is a taut police procedural with a graphic opening and an implausible denouement, an over-the-top climax that is now a hallmark of Thompson's work. This second novel is not quite as atmospheric as his first one, (i.e. climate as character) but it hits the high notes with assurance, and is also a lead-in to the next installment. Vaara's skill at balancing several plot lines simultaneously and braiding them together is exhilarating. Moreover, he saliently blends in Finland's history and social issues to support the story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bonnie Brody TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Kari Vaara is back on the job. After taking a bullet to the face in his last book, Snow Angels, he is back to working on new cases as a police detective with his partner Milo. As Lucifer's Tears opens, Kari is assigned two investigations. One involves a murder and the other is bringing an alleged war criminal from World War II to justice. Meanwhile, Kari's wife, Kate, is eight and a half months pregnant with a baby girl. After losing twins in her last pregnancy, both Kate and Kari are very apprehensive and nervous that everything goes right this time. Both of them feel responsible for their prior loss. Kate has invited her brother and sister over to Finland from the United States to be there for the birth and this creates a whole new set of problems for Kari.

The murder victim is named Iisa Filippov, wife of Ivan Filippov. Ivan is twenty-four years Iisa's senior. She was found tortured to death, lashed and whipped, covered with cigarette burns. She and her friend Linda are known for playing kinky sex games with videos and sex toys. Iisa and Linda also liked to dress up the same with the intent of looking like the retro sex symbol Betti Page. It is uncanny how much they looked alike. There is a lot of pressure on Kari to pin the murder on a man named Rein Saar but Kari does not believe that he is the murderer. Investigating this case opens a can of worms. People all the way at the top of the food chain are involved. Kari needs to watch his back and he is not very good with politics like this. On top of that, his partner Milo is a loose canon. He likes to play with guns and weapons and doesn't always use them judiciously.

Arvid is a very elderly man who is being accused of war crimes in Finland during World War II.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G. Alexander on April 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This terrific chilling thriller from Thompson is exceptional. I highly recommend this book as it most certainly lives up to its ratings and feel you will also give this book a 4 or 5 star review as this author has created a page turner. I enjoyed this book so much that I ordered Snow Angels (which I received today from Amazon) a little out of order but found Kari Vaara addictive and I think worth it. This book has received crackling reviews by Sam Millar on New York Journal of books and Crime Writer, I agree it's one of those rare books which actually live up to all the hype...and then some.

Thanks Goodreads/Putnam, I am delighted with the books I have been selected to receive and I appreciate being able to add a new and intriguing author to my library!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Whenever I read a novel written by a Scandinavian, I feel the need to button up my parka and don a fur-lined ushanka. James Thompson (American by birth, resident of Finland by choice) writes so convincingly about cold Finnish nights that the novel left me shivering. Of course, the plot -- involving a gruesome murder and atrocities committed in two wars -- may have inspired some of those shivers.

A blood-covered body is found in Rein Saar's bed. Saar claims to have been knocked unconscious before waking up next to the corpse. Homicide inspector Kari Vaara (last seen in Snow Angels, which I haven't read) and his braniac partner Milo Nieminen are assigned to the case. The man who has the strongest motive to kill the victim has a strong alibi: he was partying with the national chief of police at the time of the victim's death. Political corruption and kinky sexual practices enliven the plot, but those are overshadowed by Vaara's discovery that one of Finland's greatest war heroes may be concealing a shameful past.

James Thompson will inevitably be compared to Stieg Larsson (indeed, my advance reader's copy, which I won in a contest, makes that comparison on its cover). Thompson doesn't match Larsson's convoluted plotting, but he comes close, and Thompson's writing is less ponderous. Thompson's characters aren't quite as compelling as Lisbeth Salander, but they have strong, intriguing personalities. Nieminen is the Scandinavian version of the cowboy cop: a bit reckless, eager to use his weapon, but unique in that he's gifted with a Mensa-level IQ and an ego to match.
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