Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson
You have to like a character that describes his homeland as the ninth and innermost circle of hell, but can’t imagine himself living anywhere else. Meet Kari Vaara, a tortured Inspector in Helsinki. His face is marked with a scar from past battle, but it is the scars on his heart and mind that hurt the most and make him who he is.
His wife is pregnant. The last pregnancy, she miscarried and he blames himself. He is terrified that it is going to happen again. He has had a migraine for a year. It won’t go away. His siblings-in-law are coming from the States to help with the pregnancy. The ones he’s never met. The conclusion of his last case left nothing but bodies behind, including his partner and x-wife. The man has a lot of ghosts, just like his homeland, and therefore a lot on his mind.
Let’s add more to this poor Laplander’s plate. He is handed a horrific murder case and the politicos want him to frame an innocent man. One more thing, they want him to investigate a WWII hero for crimes against humanity and the guy just happens to have served with Kari’s grandfather. (Which means that if this hero was a bad guy, so was his granddad)
There is so much to like in this sequel to Snow Angels that it is hard to know where to start. Kari Vaara is an imperfect human with his heart in the right place. Sort of like how I see myself. Don’t laugh.
Helsinki and the murder case is gritty and honestly, Thompson’s writing doesn’t make me want to visit there anytime soon. The language is graphic, the murder and ensuing investigation is horrific, violent and well, I will just say it, S&M related.
I learned a lot of Finland’s history in a way that didn’t feel forced or like learning. I like unforced learning and knew nothing of Findland’s part in WWII.
This isn’t a book for everyone. You have to be a fan of harsh, no-holds-barred noir for Lucifer’s Tears. Agatha Christie or Cozy Mystery fans need not apply. Still, I am a fan and it made for a page turner, finished it in less than a day.
Have you ever read any Finnish writers or books set in Finland? Lucifer’s Tears has left me wanting more.