Review of Lucifer's Tears

As well as being our featured reviewer this week, as Gareth has written in with such a detailed review of Lucifer's Tears, we thought that we'd give it its very own blog post! Name: Gareth Rice Occupation: University Researcher and freelance writer Best detective/good guy: John Rebus/Dr. Gill Grissom Favourite place to read: Anywhere really but I prefer cafes that have a quiet hum or, my top floor apartment with a stunning vista of the city. Anything else you want to tell us? Reading crime fiction has taught me a lot about my own psychology and obsessions... Review of Lucifer's Tears With its cold landscapes a perfect setting for grisly tales of murder, 'Scandinavin noir' has been the inescapable genre of recent years. When reviewers search for a 'Scandinavin noir' icon they tend to come up with writers, such as Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell, Ilkka Remes, Matti Joensuu and, more recently, Stieg Larsson. Enter Lucifer's Tears, James Thompson's second Inspector Kari Vaara novel which is a full-hearted stab at a sequel with more than an invigorating whiff of its brilliant predecessor, Snow Angels. The purgatorial sounding title comes from the first chapter, in which Vaara reflects on his home: "Finland. The ninth and innermost circle of hell. A frozen lake of blood and guilt formed from Lucifer's tears, turned to ice by the flapping of his leathery wings." We join Vaara in Helsinki where he has moved to from his home in the remote Finnish north because his wife, Kate, was offered an opportunity to advance her career in the most upmarket hotel in the capital. It's not long before Vaara and his sidekick, Milo, "a nervous puppy...who needs a firm hand to guide him", are dispatched to investigate a crime scene in the residential district of Töölö. They are faced with what seems like an open and shut case: the nude, dead body of a young woman, Iisa Fillipov, the wife of the Russian businessman Ivan Fillipov. She has been sadistically tortured. Her skin is marked with cigarette burns and she has been whipped viciously with a riding crop, and ultimately asphyxiated. Iisa's lover, an Estonian man called Rein Saar, woke up beside her in bed covered in her blood. Vaara is reluctant to arrest Saar and be done with it, contra his boss's, Jyri Ivalo, suggestion. This marks the start of well paced interwoven plot lines that never feels padded out, and make it difficult to gulp back the keenness to read on. Read More

Your reviews of Lucifer's Tears (continued…)

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.   Well recommended. Read More