taken from MATERIAL WITNESS
This has been a personal disappointment to me. Having spent a lot of time in Finland, and grown to like it and the Finns very much, I have long been waiting for a writer to bring the country to life on the crime scene.
So it was with the greatest of pleasure that I discovered James Thompson and his debut novel Snow Angels, set in FInnish lapland during Kaamos, the bleak, black Polar midwinter during which the sun does not rise at all for several days.
It is a good starting place and time for a writer exploring Finland and taking it to a new audience. Light and heat are perhaps the two most dominant characteristics of the country to a newcomer: in the winter there is an alarming lack of both - even in southern parts such as Helsinki; in the summer there is a surfeit of the latter. It is impossible not to wonder what impact the long dark winters has on those living here.
Thompson, a long-term resident, sets his story up handsomely to examine this question and others about the Finns, and Snow Angels, which is essentially a terrific mystery novel, explores some of these themes primarily through the dynamic between the central character, police detective Kari Vaara, and his American wife Kate, who is enduring her first Finnish winter as a manager in the Arctic ski resort of Levi. Vaara sees the Finns as they see themselves, while Kate provides the outsiders view. read more....