|Print List Price:||$15.00|
Save $3.01 (20%)
Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price set by seller.
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
Snow Angels (An Inspector Vaara Novel Book 1) Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B0030CVQ4O
- Publisher : Berkley; 1st edition (December 17, 2009)
- Publication date : December 17, 2009
- Language : English
- File size : 550 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 274 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #869,381 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
James Thompson was an American-Finnish author born in the U.S. of Finnish ancestry. He studied Finnish and five other languages at the University of Helsink from which university he received a master's degree in English philology. Before his unexpected death in 2014 at the age of 49, he published four crime novels featuring the Finnish inspector Kari Vaara. He is known as one of the most famous Scandinavian and Finnish crime writers. Married to a Finnish woman, Thompson lived in Finland for 15 years before his death. He was a soldier, construction worker, bouncer and bartender prior to becoming recognized internationally as one of Finland's finest crime writers. His awards include the Anthony Award, Strand Critics Award, and an Edgar Award.
Definitely Scandinavian noir but not so dark as to discourage most readers. Inspector Vaara is refreshing for a Scandinavian noir detective. He is not an alcohol or drug soaked depressed mess. Of course he has problems but he is also happily married. Outstanding work in my opinion.
Northern Finland in winter is no picnic with the bone-numbing cold and seemingly endless dark, and the author does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the challenges of the climate. From the small touches such as having to bring the car battery into the house every night to ensure that it will start the car the next day to the details of the tingling and numbing of exposed skin within minutes of stepping outside makes you want to go get an extra blanket or a warm sweater.
As for the mystery, this is no cozy. The details of the original crime and the events that follow are described in as much attention to each grizzly detail as those of the Arctic weather. The first person, present tense narration, while taking a few chapters to get used to, allows the reader to get into the thought processes of Vaara as each new clue or event takes him on another possible path towards solving the case.
One does hope that the picture the author paints of Finnish life in the far north is not as full of tragedy and alcoholism as the author writes or the country would be depopulated in quick order.
Recommended for those who like their mysteries hard-boiled, gory, and complex.
The characterization felt a bit sparse to me as well. The only character I felt I really got to know well was Kate, the main character's wife. I never got a real sense for who the protagonist was or why he did what he did, nor did I get a clear picture of any of the other characters. The author gives very specific physical descriptions of certain characters yet leaves others completely blank (like the protagonist).
This is also a minor quibble, but twice in the book, the height and weight of female characters is mentioned. One describes an athletic woman as 5'10" and 120 pounds. That height and weight would leave someone extremely thin and likely not very muscular. The other describes a woman as being 5'8" and 98 pounds. That's famine-survivor size, yet it goes unremarked upon. Apparently the author has a terribly skewed view of women's weights and didn't really bother to research whether these numbers made sense. Not a huge deal, but it did pull me out of the story ("wait, she weighed what? Did I read that wrong?") which is never good.
In the end, it was an entertaining read more or less, and he certainly painted an interesting picture of the Finnish winter and its effect on Finns. But it won't be a book I'll read again, and I doubt I'll read anything else by this author. Wish I had picked it up from the library instead of buying it.
Top reviews from other countries
The 15% that disappointed me a little was the denouement which seemed not only somewhat unlikely but rather muddled. Almost as though the author was tiring of his plot a little and wanted to bring it to an end. But the ending didn't stop me enjoying the work as a whole because the writing was so good, bringing to life the Finnish characters and the general atmosphere of a freezing climate in the run up to the Christmas period with only a hour or so of half light each day.
I definitely recommend this book to all Nordic noir aficionados and am sure this series will improve as time goes by.
Kari Vaara thinks it's a straight-forward case initially, but as more people start dying, and the network of possible culprits gets increasingly complicated, he realises he has his work cut out. Added to the complications is the fact that his ex-wife's boyfriend is a suspect, and they accuse him of seeking revenge for what she did to him.
Kari's wife is American and pregnant, and she just wants him home in one piece for Christmas. She is struggling with the Finnish winter of continual darkness and her distress adds to the pressure too.
This is a very well written book which kept me enthralled to the end.
The main character is certainly not the perfect policeman, being convinced at various points of the guilt of a number of people, which is refreshing, but the way he works to a finale is convincing, even if it proves a surprise to him!
What jarred a little was the unrelentingly bleak view of Finland and the Finnish people this book presented. Nearly everyone is disfunctional, either a sexual deviant, mentally deficient or violent alcoholic (or perm any two from three) made worse by the cold and the long periods of dark. I've not been to Finland, but find it hard to believe it can REALLY be this bleak.
The author paints a brilliant descriptive picture of Kari, as a German hating, Finnish, policeman. It is set in the very north and it seems most everyone is drunk and/or depressed. However I love Kari and all in all I thoroughly enjoyed the read and will certainly read his other books.