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.
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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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
Less successful is the cartoony covert-ops angle (think Stieg Larsson meets The A-Team) and the choice to strip Vaara of his conscience.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
The book includes ugly murders and scenes of torture, and almost none of the characters go unscathed.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
It is all very interesting, though this book is definitely not for the faint of heart.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
That said, Thompson takes Kari, and the other characters, to a level of violence and depravity that may turn off many of his readers.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
The characters are of course, Thompson's to manipulate, but I have to be honest, I didn't like where he took them.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
Additionally, it didn’t flow quite as well as previous novels, and came across as a bit choppy.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
I’m all for dirty (fictional) cops. They create a more interesting reading experience.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
Also, while Helsinki White is good and kept me reading, it is not quite as suspenseful as the previous two books.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
Yes in the end we see how this works out well---but it is the trip to the end that was so very uncomfortable.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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.Read Full Review of Helsinki White
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