In September, we gave four readers a chance to review Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson, a new name on the scandi-crime scene.
So what did our readers think? Read on to find out…
Helen Lowry writes:
This is a novel featuring Inspector Kari Vaara, set in the freezing snow of Finland. A woman’s body is found tortured and brutally murdered, with her lover lying next to her covered in blood. On the face of it, it looks straightforward, but Vaara isn’t convinced he lover is the murderer, if only due to the fact that both parties had been tasered.
The woman’s arrogant husband, Ivan Filippov, shows very little emotion at his wife’s death and becomes a suspect in Vaara’s eyes. The problem being, he is very well connected in the city and proves to be a more than worthy adversary of the detective. As the story moves on, Vaara discovers that Filippov is heavily into S & M and there are links with many of the city’s great and good, and wealthy. Always good for a potential cover-up and lack of discretion. Be warned, the book does have its share of a brutality, not just with the murder, but with equally brutal sex. The descriptions of S & M are fairly graphic and not for the faint hearted or timid.
As if one brutal murder isn’t enough to solve, Vaara’s boss asks him to investigate allegations regarding one of Finland’s war heroes as a possible war criminal. The problem being that the man in question was in the war with Vaara’s beloved grandfather, who might also have played a part in this. At the same time, his heavily pregnant wife’s brother and sister are over from the States. John, her brother, being a problem all of his own. His new detective partner is also a bit on the reckless side, adding to his problems.
Vaara suffers from excruciating migraines, controlled by pills and drink, and he doesn’t know whether this is down to all the stress he is under or something more sinister. His neurologist brother makes him a swift appointment for an MRI scan.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and can quite readily state it has that page turning quality. Apart from the main murder plot, there are plenty of sub-stories to keep the reader’s interest, and to wonder if they all tie in as the book draws to a conclusion. Plus, an interesting aside is an all too brief history of Finland, told as part of the narration.
Gordon Steadwood writes:
I struggled to get into Lucifer’s Tears, it isn’t a book that you can pick up for a few minutes, dip into and then leave for a little while. The writing is good, clear and detailed in its descriptions and characterisations, enough to let you see the world through Inspector Vaara’s eyes and to appreciate his thoughts and feelings as his world is changed by those around him. Inspector Vaara is one of those heroes with a very strong sense of right and wrong, a strong moral compass – nothing will put him off investigating the case he is put to, despite the power of those he is investigating. I’ll come back to this book when I have more time to keep track of everything that is going on because I suspect that Lucifer’s Tears is worth the effort and will ultimately prove to be a very good book indeed.
Lou Pendergrast writes:
Same inspector, new setting and a new case of murder of the most foul. Life for Inspector Vaara and his wife seems to have taken a turn for the worse. His life is bleak, he is suffering with migraines and has compulsory appointments with a shrink. The last murder case has taken a lot out of him and he is struck with a guilty sense of not handling that case properly, making mistakes which has given the case a high body count.
This time, a married woman is found gruesomely murdered. Her long-time lover is found alive with her body. It appears that she has been killed after playing a sadomasochistic game. Vaara must investigate.
James Thompson the author has created the most gruesome crimes Finland has ever had to deal with in his books. But even these don’t compare to the crimes in the country’s past, which the protagonist learns of when he digs up information on war crimes and the civil war.
The body count is kept low on this one, and I found I liked his first novel better, although in this novel you do get to learn more about the Inspector and his home life.
Word of warning for future readers: if you have not read his first book and would like to, then be aware that this story gives you the answers that solve the previous case.