Saturday, April 14, 2012


Author:  James Thompson
Genre:  Mystery,
Inspector Kari Vaara Series #3
Published:  2012
Personal Rating:  2/5 (not enjoyable)
Format:  Book
Yearly Count:  33

From Amazon:

Two days after their daughter is born, Kari Vaara drops a bombshell on his American wife, Kate: He has a brain tumor . . . and he's been handpicked to run a rogue black-ops unit, using crime to fight crime.

After recovering from surgery, he gets to work. The black-ops unit is small, and reports directly to Finland's national chief of police. They have secrecy, autonomy, and the cash to buy all the high-tech gear. Soon the unit is cleaning house, robbing Helsinki's mobsters blind of their cash, dope, and illegal firearms. But Kari's team is too good, and their actions have unintended consequences. . . .

Meanwhile, Finland roils with hatred as its most extreme right political party gains popularity despite having no agenda besides xenophobia. When the country's leading immigrants' rights advocate is assassinated and her head sent by mail to the Finnish Somalia Network, the president assigns Kari to the murder. Cracking this case will involve the unsolved kidnapping of a billionaire's children, a Faustian bargain with a former French legionnaire-and Kate.

Oh dear.  I'm sad to say that reading this book was not a good experience.  It filled me with angst and disgust as it was overflowing with HATE!  I did not enjoy reading it at all.

The storyline wasn't the only culprit in my dislike, Kari and Kate became people I didn't care to associate myself with -- even just reading about them made me angry.  Here's another case of an author being able to elicit a strong emotion from me, but that doesn't make it a good book.  It was filled with evil, and I didn't like it.  I've got time to settle down before #4 comes out, so I'll decide whether or not I'll read it then.

There was a note from the author at the end of the book that stated, "Helsinki White is also in part a true-crime novel."  He also says, "The story of Helsinki White is over, but the issue of hate it addresses, in reality, is just in the offing."  Oh my.  That is really scary . . . really scary.

My thanks go to Putnam and LibraryThing for sending me the ARC.


  1. Anonymous7:21 AM

    This is part of another series that I've been meaning to try. Yours is not the only review that has been less than positive. Do you think that Thompson had a specific purpose for dealing with his protagonist this way? True crime, huh? I'm intrigued at least.

    1. Kay ~ I just looked up my thoughts on the first two, and I rated both 3.75/5 (good +), so obviously I haven't been overly impressed. I had to laugh (and thought it was interesting) that I started out my thoughts on the second in the series with, "Oh my." and this one I began with, "Oh dear." Hmmm that tells us something doesn't it!?!

      Yes, I do believe Thompson has a specific purpose. And, yes, there is a kidnapping in the book that is based on a real crime.

  2. Oh my and oh dear? I'm passing on this series for sure!

    1. Staci ~ I don't blame you! His storylines are a bit rough.

  3. Repeating Staci's comment of "Oh, my" and "Oh, dear"? I'll pass, too. :)

    1. Les ~ This one just doesn't read the same as our other thrillers. We both have read so many unpleasant plots, that it's odd to not like this one.


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