“Instead of justice I got truth which was a poor substitute.”
Audiobook. Definitely not a tourist brochure for Finland. Right up front we are told of the Finnish racism, hatred for foreigners, especially Germans, the cold, the lack of light in the winter, and their penchant for alcohol and killing loved ones.
A Somali black movie star has been brutally murdered with a racial slur carved into her body.. The local inspector, Vaasa, married to an American ski resort manager, now pregnant with twins, knows he has political dynamite in this investigation. Suspects arrive in droves, and most of them are in the inspector’s circle. Admittedly, the town is small, but I was beginning to feel claustrophobic at the narrowness of his investigation. Mix in religious and cultural conflict and you have quite a melange. The Laestadian religion, a very conservative offshoot of Lutheranism, plays an important role in the book, as does the Koran. Both provide the motivations for many of the characters’ actions.
The Wikipaedia entry on Thompson notes that Vaara is portrayed as a “good” cop who goes bad in later novels and I can certainly see the seeds of future corruption. Given events, I wondered how he could ever follow up this novel with a second in the series. But I will certainly want to read the rest of the series. . Definitely not a book for those who like their cozies: it’s graphic and often profane.
Thompson, who had studied Finnish (as well as several other languages), was fluent in it, and lived in Finland, died in 2014 after writing four in the Vaasa series.