Helsinki White by James Thompson

35%

17 Critic Reviews

Enough violent felonies for a Sunday newspaper—and, as a depressingly informative epilogue intimates, that’s exactly where they’ve come from.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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 crime.

After 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 secrecy, 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 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 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 Kate.

 

About James Thompson

See more books from this Author
JAMES THOMPSON, eastern Kentucky born and raised, has lived in Finland for more than a dozen years. His first novel, flow Angels, was nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony, and The Strand Magazine Critics Award.
 
Published March 15, 2012 by Berkley. 333 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Helsinki White
All: 17 | Positive: 4 | Negative: 13

Kirkus

Below average
Feb 15 2012

Enough violent felonies for a Sunday newspaper—and, as a depressingly informative epilogue intimates, that’s exactly where they’ve come from.

Read Full Review of Helsinki White | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 16 2012

Thompson deftly explores moral gray areas in this all too topical novel.

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Chron.com

Below average
Reviewed by Bryan Dupont-Gray on Mar 31 2012

With so much time spent inside Vaara’s house or in a medical facility, it can make you wonder when the story will really pick up.

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Library Journal

Below average
Reviewed by Annabelle Mortensen on Feb 01 2012

Less successful is the cartoony covert-ops angle (think Stieg Larsson meets The A-Team) and the choice to strip Vaara of his conscience.

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Savannah Now

Below average
Reviewed by Elizabeth White on Mar 15 2012

The racial hatred and intolerance ravaging Finland are addressed with no punches pulled, and it should be noted that language some readers may find offensive is used quite freely throughout the book.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Below average
Reviewed by Anne Corey

The book includes ugly murders and scenes of torture, and almost none of the characters go unscathed.

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Luxury Reading

Below average
Reviewed by Caleb Shadis on Mar 16 2012

It is all very interesting, though this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.

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Jenn's Bookshelves

Below average
Reviewed by Jenn on Mar 20 2012

That said, Thompson takes Kari, and the other characters, to a level of violence and depravity that may turn off many of his readers.

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A Bookworm's World

Below average
Reviewed by Luanne on Mar 19 2012

The characters are of course, Thompson's to manipulate, but I have to be honest, I didn't like where he took them.

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S. Krishna's Books

Below average
Reviewed by Swapna Krishna on Mar 14 2012

Additionally, it didn’t flow quite as well as previous novels, and came across as a bit choppy.

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Criminal Element

Good
Reviewed by Jordan Foster on Mar 08 2012

I’m all for dirty (fictional) cops. They create a more interesting reading experience.

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Murder by Type

Good
on Mar 16 2012

James Thompson has written a thriller in the sense of thriller as fear...Thompson has taken a hard look at the culture of us/them and wrapped them in a police procedural...This is an exceptional book.

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Kittling: Books

Below average
Reviewed by Cathy on Mar 15 2012

As I mentioned before, if you've read Thompson's previous two novels featuring Kari Vaara and you're expecting a "more of the same" novel, you are not going to get it.

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Scandinavian Books

Below average
Reviewed by Peter on Apr 11 2012

Also, while Helsinki White is good and kept me reading, it is not quite as suspenseful as the previous two books.

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Junying Kirk

Below average
Reviewed by Junying Kirk on Mar 14 2012

I have readily admitted that Kari Vaara had become my MOST Favourite Detective in my review of Lucifer’s Tears, now having read Helsinki White, I am not so sure any more.

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Books and Chat

Below average
Reviewed by Diane on Mar 13 2012

Yes in the end we see how this works out well---but it is the trip to the end that was so very uncomfortable.

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Harriet Klausner

Good
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner on Feb 18 2012

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.

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Reader Rating for Helsinki White
62%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 79 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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