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Helsinki Blood (Inspector Kari Vaara #4)

3.56  ·  Rating Details ·  516 Ratings  ·  102 Reviews
The exceptional fourth thriller in the Edgar–nominated Kari Vaara series.

Kari Vaara is recovering from the physical and emotional toll of solving the Lisbet Söderlund case when he’s approached with a plea: an Estonian woman begs him to find her daughter, Loviise, a young woman with Down syndrome who was promised work and a better life in Finland . . . and has since disapp
Hardcover, 1st edition, 320 pages
Published March 21st 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons
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(showing 1-30)
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James Thompson
Feb 24, 2013 James Thompson rated it it was amazing
Gosh darn, what a good book!
Apr 08, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, pre-ordered
HELSINKI BLOOD is book four and I suspect best read in order, although good background is provided, in a cleaver way, woven into the story.
Personally I think this writer is a very good writer. I find reading his work just flows the way I enjoy a book to, despite the subject matter.
I think I would like to read a book by him of something else.
I found this book a violent tale of a group of guys attempting to survive no matter what the cost. Dealing with bent cops at the top, political, wealthy and
Nov 29, 2013 MARILYN rated it really liked it
James Thompson doesn't pull any punches in his Kari Vaara series. In this installment Kari is seriously disabled, his wife has left him and left him the baby, his "gang" is also either disabled or drunk. A lot happening and not much of it happy. This is darkest of the series but the ending offers a light at the end of a tunnel. I have downloaded a romance novel from the library because I need something sweet and mindless to read. I give it 4 Stars as I can't stop reading.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Inspector Kari Vaara is trying to heal; both mentally and physically from his last case involving Lisbet Söderlund. It is not going to easy because a brick is thrown through his window, then a tear gas bomb a few days later, all marked with "10,000,000 reasons for you and your family to die." Kari knows the men behind the Söderlund case won't stop hunting him, Kate, and little Anu unless they are stopped permanently. Sweetness and Milo and their families are in danger too.

Compounding the danger
Leighton Gage
Mar 21, 2013 Leighton Gage rated it it was amazing
If you have yet to read any of James Thompson’s first-rate novels featuring the exploits of Finnish cop Kari Vaara, please take this advice from me:
Tackle them in order of their publication.
First read Snow Angels, (Booklist called it “one of the best debut crime novels of 2010”). The book takes place in Finland’s far north and sets the stage for the three that follow.
Lucifer’s Tears (a Kirkus pick for one of the Best Ten Crime Novels of 2011) brings Vaara to Helsinki and involves him in a sequen
Apr 09, 2013 Anna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of international crime
Shelves: apl, 2013
Brilliant, and very dark. This is the 4th Inspector Vaara book (read them in order if you can as the characters grow and develop quite a bit), and it's darker and more intense than Helsinki White.

Not recommended for just crime and thriller lovers, but also for anyone who needs or wants a crash course about everything Finnish (that the Finns won't tell you). Like if you ever thought of moving there, and if How to Marry a Finnish Girl didn't depress - or encourage - you enough from or for getting
Gloria Feit
Jul 20, 2013 Gloria Feit rated it really liked it
Inspector Kari Vaara, of the National Bureau of Investigation, the protagonist in this series, in which this is the fourth entry, has a reputation as a “hero cop,” having been shot more than once in the line of duty and decorated for bravery both times, and possessed of “annoying incorruptibility.” In the prior book in the series, “Helsinki White,” he was offered, and accepted, a job running a black-ops unit in his native Helsinki, using crime to fight crime with hand-selected (and admittedly so ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Erin rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Kari Vaara, recovering from injury, is approached by a woman asking him to find her daughter. Her daughter, who has Down Syndrome, was promised a job in Finland and has disappeared. The police do not seem to be able to take on the case because they already have too many cases to deal with. Kari looks at this case as a great opportunity to gain back his estranged wife, and to help deal with the many victims on a prior case. Can Kari find the girl with the help of a few friends?

An action packed th
Another good read in the Inspector Vaara series. Vaara is back and still gritty, but there's a bit of a softer side to him this time, as we see him having to deal with Kate and her PTSD, as well as having to care for little Anu, and of course Katt. Gotta love a big tough man who shows affection toward cats ;) The mysteries to solve were, as always, interesting and full of twists/turns, and the writing style is interesting. It's getting a little tiring, though, that everyone is always trying to k ...more
Ellen Keim
Apr 29, 2013 Ellen Keim rated it it was ok
I used to like this author and his creation Kari Vaara, but I wasn't crazy about his last book and this one didn't help matters. Ever since the main character started doing black ops, I haven't been able to connect with him the way I was able to in the earlier books. Everything that happens is so over the top, it's hard to relate to the plot or the characters. Even so, on the strength of the earlier books, I'll try his next one, if there is one. If the story line doesn't start to take on a sembl ...more
Jun 30, 2013 Paul rated it liked it
Helsinki Blood is an engaging thriller -- a genuine page turner -- that features Kari Vaara, a good-hearted cop who has gone rogue in spite of himself. Helsinki and Finland come alive under Thompson's pen, but the violence is over the top. Trop noir pour moi!
Jan 08, 2013 Jack rated it really liked it
It may be a little over the top, but it's over the top in such an enjoyable way. A great read for any crime fiction fan. It will be interesting to see in what happens next with this fascinating character.
Ken Fredette
Apr 11, 2013 Ken Fredette rated it it was amazing
Action, action, action, wow what a book. Jim you are fantastic! It never ends, it was great. Just what the doctor ordered. Next one please....
James Thompson’s latest addition to the Inspector Vaara series, Helsinki Blood, starts the story only a few weeks following the end of his last novel, Helsinki White. While that last novel left Vaara and his team financially wealthy, they are physically and psychologically bankrupt: Vaara has sustained two crippling gunshot wounds, Detective Sargent Milo Nieminen has lost the use of his right hand, Vaara’s wife, Kate, while suffering from PTSD as a result of shooting a man with a sawed-off has a ...more
Mar 20, 2014 Jonathan rated it liked it
Helsinki Blood is the fourth book in James Thompson's Inspector Kari Vaara series, a detective in the Finnish police force. Following the explosive action of the previous book, Helsinki White, Helsinki Blood finds Vaara trying to recover from his wounds, both physical and emotional. Of course, they won't let him be, so he calls in his friends and cleans things up. But not after it takes a further toll on his psyche.

It all begins with a brick through the window and soon escalates from there. He i
Helsinki Blood by James Thompson is the 4th book of the Inspector Kari Vaara mystery/thriller series set in contemporary Finland. Kari's wife has left him, and taken their daughter Anu with her. She's badly traumatized (PTSD) by the violence of his "black ops" case (in book 3). Kari is in constant pain from the viciously administered blows to already injured and newly repaired limbs. He may never walk comfortably again. He desperately wishes to help Kate and restore his family. He's asked to fin ...more
Mar 17, 2013 Lili rated it it was amazing
This, the 4th in the Kari Vaara series by James Thompson is an emotional, violent, dark thriller. From the first chapters you are sucked into Kari’s world, he is struggling to cope, both physically and emotionally. His wife Kate has left him, his mind is unbalanced; his life is one of pain and torment and he descends into the depths of despair. “I decided that in my current emotional state I was dangerous, not fit company for other humans.” He depends on drugs and alcohol to get through each day ...more
Richard Godwin
Apr 14, 2013 Richard Godwin rated it it was amazing
Vaara returns in a novel that pulls no punches. And from the beginning, there is an implicit narrative sense of factors weighing against the protagonist, suitably so, since this is a Nordic novel. There is something elemental to Thompson’s writing, a brackish taste of the Sagas and Eddas beneath the tight prose. The acute visceral physical details the author weaves into his descriptions of his protagonist evoke a sense of inner scarring beneath the Inspector’s tough persona as Vaara battles his ...more
Apr 04, 2013 Dianne rated it it was amazing
Shelves: galleys-arcs
I have been an avid follower of Mr. Thompson since I discovered his first book “Snow Angels “and while all of them are bloody and may remind the reader more of The Godfather than anything resembling books about good cops...Kara essentially still does have a conscience. You may wonder after a while if he knows right from wrong anymore, but in the end, it will all become clear. Yes, this novel does have a very surprise ending and because of that, I am going to stick with this series. I had thought ...more
May 16, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-finland
Inspector Vaara once again makes Dirty Harry look like an altar boy. Still he's one of the good guys but you really begin to wonder if that's the case. The beginning of this episode is dark and depressing. Vaara is in an alcohol and drug induced stupor beset by physical infirmities of his wounds and the flight of his beloved wife. Meanwhile people are trying to kill him; only it takes him awhile to figure out they really mean business as the warnings escalate. Vaara is not likeable at times. He' ...more
Aug 07, 2013 Monica rated it liked it
Law enforcement and government officials at the highest level up to their eyeballs in corruption, financial crimes, racist FINLAND???? What a concept.

Poor Inspector Kari Vaara is trying to recover from the physical and professional damage done to him by the events in the last book (which I have not read yet, oops). His wife is suffering from PTSD and leaves him with their infant daughter while she runs away to Miami and to stay with her drug addict brother. Vaara is worried about Kate
Helsinki Blood by James Thompson is the final book in a trilogy. Kari Vaara, the trilogy's "hero" (using the term somewhat loosely) is the target of many people's hatred. It is difficult to say much more without spoilers for those who have not read even the first of the series. Blood is a cascade of violence and noir-ness that should satisfy even the more blodthirsty. I loved the book, even as I was tortured by the suspense. I feel close to Vaara and Kate and their futures.

For those who have rea
Robert J.
Aug 09, 2013 Robert J. rated it it was ok
It's really unusual for a police procedural thriller to start out with the protagonist in completely f***ed up shape. I understand the story is continuing from a previous series novel, I understand the noir thing, I even understand the opportunity for suspense building. I just couldn't read past page 50. The guy must floss his teeth with razor wire just for relief from his other hurts. So, while this fits the in media res scenario, I guess the affairs aren't really interesting to me, and it detr ...more
Apr 08, 2013 Ed rated it liked it
"Helsinki Blood" is a continuation of the dangerous journey of Finland's Inspector Vaara, wife Kate and compatriots fighting for justice, survival and revenge. While the book starts off fast and sharp, I felt it bogged down and wandered until the very effective and satisfying conclusion. I like the characters, especially Vaara, for their courageous sense of loyalty to each other in surviving and dealing with multiple attempts on their lives. This was a good book three in an interesting and origi ...more
Jim Hammond
Sep 21, 2013 Jim Hammond rated it really liked it
Pretty exciting and engrossing thriller with a very interesting cast of characters. Being set in Helsinki makes it doubly interesting because the locale is so unusual and one with which I have no familiarity. Interesting self-reference: the protagonist is looking at a shelf of books and listing authors: Patterson, King, DeMille, Jim Thompson... (I'm not sure about the other names, but they were well known authors of "thrillers"). I'm probably not current with the most popular novelists of this g ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Norma rated it really liked it
If you are a fan of Thompson's Inspector Kari Vaara, you will not be disappointed with this latest in the series. Policeman Vaara has been badly wounded in the last installment and his wife Kate has had a nervous breakdown in response to her part in this confrontation that severly injured her husband. Vaara and his friends can be vicious and violent in their attempts to mete out justice and seek out criminals to punish. Fastpaced intense Finnish noir.
Mar 27, 2013 DROPPING OUT rated it it was amazing
A perfect sequel to Helsinki White.

PLEASE! If you are going to read Thompson, read the books in order.

I understand that a deposit on film rights has been made. Unfortunately, Sam Peckenpah is dead, for he would have been the perfect director - all those bodies dropping I slow motions.

To his credit, Thompson made the ending of Helsinki Blood considerably less gory than Helsinki White.

And Jim shows tremendous immodesty on page 264, but I'll let you discover that for yourself!
Catherine Woodman
Jul 03, 2013 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
Kari Vaara is not your usual cop starring in a murder mystery--he has been shot up several times, killed many criminals with intent, and he and his co-conspirators have skimmed 10 million dollars off a kidnapping pay off gone bad. So he is not exactly my cup of tea, but there is an odd sort of balanced approach that he brings to the profession of reigning in bad guys that is very likely to appeal to those who feel that they have all the advantages.
Corey Peters
Oct 25, 2013 Corey Peters rated it really liked it
Ah yes, back to basics in this one...Looks like Thompson himself decided the last entry was too much as he proceeds to strip out just about everything introduced in the last book. Just a great return to the hard-boiled, gritty Nordic fiction style while continuing to advance the characters along. Much improved!
Apr 11, 2013 Christa rated it did not like it
Hated it. The whole thing was boring and preposterous. Why would he give the hero a daughter only to make her a faceless featureless infant that has no needs and doesn't make a sound? She's a prop. This author either has no children and doesn't even know any parents or I feel VERY sorry for any offspring he has. I'm done with this dude's books. The first was the only one worth reading.
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Jim has suddenly passed away on August 1, 2014.

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 r
More about James Thompson...

Other Books in the Series

Inspector Kari Vaara (5 books)
  • Snow Angels (Inspector Kari Vaara, #1)
  • Lucifer's Tears (Inspector Kari Vaara, #2)
  • Helsinki White (Inspector Kari Vaara, #3)
  • Helsinki Dead (Inspector Kari Vaara, #5)

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