Title: Lucifer’s Tears
Author: James Thompson
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: March 17, 2011
Hardcover: 336 pages
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
From the Publisher:
Inspector Kari Vaara returns, more haunted than ever, in the follow- up to Snow Angels, “a must for fans of the international crime novel.” (Booklist)
The Sufia Elmi case left Kari Vaara with a scarred face, chronic insomnia, a constant migraine, and a full body count’s worth of ghosts. Now it’s a year later, in Helsinki, and Kari is working the graveyard shift in the homicide unit, terrified that his heavily pregnant wife will miscarry again after she lost the twins just after Christmas.
Kari is pushed into investigating a ninety-year-old national hero for war crimes committed during World War II. The Interior Minister demands a conclusion of innocence, preserving Finland’s heroic perception about itself and its role in the war, but Germany wants extradition.
In a seeming coincidence, Kari is drawn into the murder-by-torture case of Iisa Filippov, the philandering wife of a Russian businessman. Her lover is clearly being framed for the crime-and Ivan Filippov’s arrogance and nonchalance point the finger at him. But he’s being protected from above, leading Kari to the corrupt corridors of power. Soon the past and present collide in ways no one could have anticipated.
Delightfully dark, chilling, and disturbing, Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson is the second of his Inspector Vaara series and while one does not need to read Snow Angels to follow the story, I highly recommend it. Detective Inspector Kari Vaara has been promoted to Helsinki homicide unit, and while he did not want to leave the Arctic Circle, his wife Kate desperately wanted a fresh start. Vaara comes back strong, but far more scarred, literally and figuratively, than when the reader first meets him in Snow Angels. While no longer in the bleak darkness of the Arctic Circle, Thompson brings Inspector Vaara back far more troubled and brooding. His new partner, another outcast from the Helsinki homicide department, DS Milo Nieminen are asked to see to a murder, even though they are no longer on duty. This strikes Vaara as odd, however his partner is eager to prove himself. When the clues lead them to the murdered woman’s husband, the coincidences begin to stack up. First National Police Chief Jyri Ivalo has a talk with Vaara about Stalag 309 which was located in Salla, when Finland Valpo and the Gestapo joined forces during WWII. Germany is trying to extradite 90-year-old Arvid Lahtinen for war crimes. Next Ivalo informs Vaara that his grandfather worked in Stalag 309 with Arvid and it is crucial to prove Arvid’s innocence, as Avrid is a decorated and celebrated war hero. Now Vaara and Nieminen find themselves speaking to a potential murder suspect, who happens to be from Russian Karelia, which was Salla, and who also has connections in very high places. Lucifer’s Tears will take the reader to brutal murder scenes, cover-ups from the highest level downward, and testing Vaara’s resolve, as he is not yet healed from the Sufia Elmi case. Thompson masterfully crafts a delightful web of murder, secrets and deceit along with enough plot twists, red herrings and dead ends to keep the reader up through the night. Thompson’s characters are masterfully written where the lines between good and evil are often blurred. I immensely enjoyed Lucifer’s Tears even more than I did Snow Angels, which I did not think would be possible. Before I recommend this Finnish thriller to everyone, I must caution readers that Lucifer’s Tears is an extremely dark mystery thriller, filled with some extremely graphic scenes of violence. Bearing that in mind, I still strongly recommend all adult readers who enjoy an excellent thriller to read Lucifer’s Tears. I cannot wait to see what Thompson has in store for his next book.
James Thompson, eastern Kentucky born and raised, has lived in Finland for the past decade and currently makes his home in Helsinki with his wife. Before becoming a full-time writer, Thompson studied Swedish and Finnish, in which he is fluent, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker, photographer, rare coin dealer, and soldier.
For further information please visit the author’s website.
I received a complimentary ARC of Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson from Putnam to offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.