Lucifer's Tears - James Thompson Synopsis: The Sufia Elmi case left Kari Vaara with a scarred face, chronic insomnia, a constant migraine, and a full body count's worth of ghosts. Now it's a year later, in Helsinki, and Kari is working the graveyard shift in the homicide unit, terrified that his heavily pregnant wife will miscarry again after she lost the twins just after Christmas.

Kari is pushed into investigating a ninety-year-old national hero for war crimes committed during World War II. The Interior Minister demands a conclusion of innocence, preserving Finland's heroic perception about itself and its role in the war, but Germany wants extradition.

In a seeming coincidence, Kari is drawn into the murder-by-torture case of Iisa Filippov, the philandering trophy wife of a Russian businessman. Her lover is clearly being framed for the crime-and Ivan Filippov's arrogance and nonchalance point the finger at him. But he's being protected from above, leading Kari to the corrupt corridors of power. Soon the past and present collide in ways no one could have anticipated.

I read James Thompson's first Inspector Vaara novel,Snow Angels,when it first came out and loved it. So I was really pleased to see this follow up (a very worthy one)and more recently a third book Helsinki White...is this becoming a series?!

The strengths of the book are the fluid, intense writing and engaging characters framed within an absorbing and well-constructed plot.

But the main character is Finland; cold, cruel, unforgiving but intensely beautiful...

“My 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.”

“The snow, already almost waist-high, pours down in a torrent. Lucifer does not relent. Dante states that the devil resides in the ninth circle of hell, trapped in the ice like the rest of us, and I feel that he’s here, watching over us with approval.”