Posts tagged ‘Crime’

February 22nd, 2015

The Paris Homicide Series by Frédérique Molay

by Gwen


Paris Homicide

I love the gritty psychologically driven Scandinavian crime novels and they led me to reach out for a broader view of European Crime.  Let me tell you, it isn’t all gritty, but that doesn’t mean you have Ms. Marple in the library sipping tea either.

Paris, oohhh, Paris, with the tragic history and all of those romantic spots…Just like any modern city, there are murders there too, fictional and otherwise. In comes, Frédérique Molay, and her creation, Chief of Police Nico Sirsky.

The three part (so far) Paris Homicide series has opened my eyes not only to real-life Paris, but to the interesting way that La Crim’ investigates murder. I say interesting, because the mechanisms and procedures are different from what we are used to here and that adds to the intrigue of the plots for non-native readers.

The plots kept me reading as well. The 7th Woman features a killer of women, Crossing the Line starts with a freaky message secreted away in an odd body part, and City of Blood plays havoc with modern art at the site of a former massive slaughter-house with is now Parc de La Villtte, a world-class cultural center.

Nico Sirsky is different in that he isn’t really some tragically flawed alcoholic with decades of self-imposed wreckage behind him. He has a past just like we all do, the same with sad events, but it doesn’t define him like many fictional crime fighters. He is a good compassionate guy, who is very good at his job, with a teenage son, and a relationship in bloom. He’s multi-dimensional not for his bad habits, but because one can relate to him.  He’s a shift from the norm and really a breath of fresh air because of that.

So, if you want to see more of Paris and how they fight crime, not be afraid of turning the lights out at night, and yet still want some murder in your reading….check out Frédérique Molay, and her work, The Paris Homicide Series.

Check out the review at The Bowed Bookshelf

Sort of Like Gwen's Signature

March 18th, 2011

Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson

by Gwen

Lucifers Tears

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)

My thoughts-

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.

Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (March 17, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 039915700X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157004
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