Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Snow Angels
Inspector Kari Vaara Msytery, No 1
James Thompson

Berkley Prime Crime
February 2011 / 0425238830
Police Procedural / Finland / Contemporary

Reviewed by L J Roberts

First Sentence: I am in Hullu Poro, the Crazy Reindeer, the biggest bar and restaurant in this part of the Arctic Circle.

Inspector Kari Vaara has brought his pregnant American wife to Finnish Lapland; above the Arctic Circle where the two weeks before Christmas are spent in perpetual darkness. That darkness has overtaken the humans as well with the discovery of a body. The victim is Sufia, a beautiful Somali woman and famous actress. Her body has been brutalized, both before and after death. Kari's investigation leads to one death after another before the killer is identified.

I always worry when a protagonist is married for fear the author will kill off the spouse. In this case, I'm pleased that they have a good relationship and both, so far, survive. Unfortunately, they are they are the only characters about whom we really care. The protagonist has a strong sense of duty yet his methods are not always the best or most effective.

The author does create a very strong sense of place, establishing the climate and envions as factors in the investigation. The information on Finland its culture, the makeup of the population-I particularly appreciated the information on Muslim burials--the structure of the police department, and the impact living there has on its people is fascinating. It did, however, put me off any thought of ever going there.

"Snow Angles" is an interesting book. It is also very violent, quite depressing and frustrating for the poor investigative method of the protagonist. As an insight into the region and culture, I found it interesting. As a police procedural, I can't particularly recommend it.


Reviewed 2012