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Snow angels
James Thompson
Adult Fiction THOMPSO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

American-born Thompson, who's lived in Finland for the past decade, offers a bleak look at the ravages of that country's long, dark winter as well as intriguing glimpses of Finnish culture in his solid U.S. debut, the first in a new crime series. Shortly before Christmas, Kari Vaara, the police chief of the Lapland town of Kittila, gets a phone call informing him that the body of Sufia Elmi, a Somali refugee and minor film star, has been found in a snowfield on a reindeer farm. The victim has also been mutilated, perhaps raped, and a racial slur carved into her flesh. When Kari's ex-wife's lover becomes the prime suspect, Kari spurns the chance to recuse himself and presses on. The winter hazards of alcoholism, suicide and murder all play a part as Kari uncovers more suspects. Sufia's imperious father, Abdi Barre, who was a doctor in his native country and now runs a cleaning service, puts added pressure on Kari. Tangled smalltown relationships and lust also fuel this noirish thriller. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Lapland: the name conjures up cheery stereotypes of reindeer and Santa Claus, but in reality December in northern Finland means kaamos, a time of extreme cold and unrelenting darkness that takes its toll on the residents of Levi, a small ski-resort town near the Arctic Circle. "That's the way things are in the winter," says local police inspector Kari Vaara. "A bunch of depressed hard drinkers freezing in an endless night." Called to investigate the mutilation murder of a beautiful Somali actress, Vaara finds his probe turning personal when clues point to the rich man for whom his ex-wife left him for years ago as the prime suspect. The case also threatens his new marriage as his young, pregnant American wife struggles to cope with the depressive effects of the long polar night. Verdict Despite a contrived plot twist involving a barely developed character, this is a promising new series. The stark Nordic setting will appeal to fans of Scandinavian crime fiction, but Thompson, a ten-year resident of Finland, adds an American noir sensibility that will remind readers of Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park.-Wilda Williams, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Kari Vaara
Male
Divorced
Haunted by his rough childhood; investigation takes its toll on him and his marriage; suspects his ex-wife's lover is the killer.
Police inspector

Kate Vaara
Female
Married
Kari's wife;struggling to adapt to the Arctic climate, long dark winters and the Finnish culture.



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