Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"Helsinki Blood"

With his first internationally published novel, Snow Angels, James Thompson proved himself Finland’s best and most popular representative in the rise of Nordic noir. It was selected as one of Booklist’s Best Crime Novel Debuts of the Year and nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, and a Strand Critics Award. His novel, Lucifer’s Tears, has received critical acclaim from all quarters, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, and was selected as one of the best novels of the year by Kirkus. Helsinki White was released to critical acclaim in 2012. The fourth book in the series, Helsinki Blood, was published in March, 2013. Thompson is also a reviewer for The New York Journal of Books and holds a Master’s degree from The University of Helsinki. The first three books in his Inspector Vaara series have been optioned for film.

Thompson applied the Page 69 Test to Helsinki Blood, and reported the following:
Page 69 opens a new plotline and theme in the novel. Vaara’s home has been vandalized, his family threatened. He and Sweetness caught the two men harassing Vaara, and in the street, in broad daylight, have beaten them to bloody pulps, even crippled one of them. A woman watched them do it, and then approached them. Her daughter, who has Down syndrome, has been abducted by human slave traders. The police aren’t interested. She heard Vaara is a man sympathetic to such plights. She asks for his help.

Vaara is in bad physical shape, suffering debilitating pain from gunshot wounds. His family life is a mess. Powerful men are out to get him. Referring to the men they just beat to jelly, the woman asks him if that’s what he does to bad people. He answers, “Sometimes.” She says, “Good. Please do that or something worse to whoever took my daughter.” He sees a chance for redemption, the possibility that a good act might gain him his wife’s forgiveness, give meaning to the destruction he’s wrought. He agrees to find the girl, and the tour de force begins.
Learn more about the book and author at James Thompson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Snow Angels.

The Page 69 Test: Helsinki White.

My Book, The Movie: Helsinki White.

Writers Read: James Thompson.

--Marshal Zeringue