James Thompson Books In Order

Publication Order of Inspector Vaara Books

Snow Angels (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lucifer's Tears (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Helsinki White (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Helsinki Blood (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Helsinki Dead (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

James Thompson was an American born writer (October 16, 1964) with Finnish ancestry, so that makes him American-Finnish. He is known to be one of the most famous Scandinavian crime writers in the history of Finland. He graduated from University of Helsinki with a Master’s Degree in English philology. He also took classes in Finnish language and other five languages. He became fluent in his ancestral tongue at an early age. He worked as a soldier, construction worker, bouncer and bartender before debuting to become one of Finnish’s finest crime writer in Finland.He married a Finnish woman and settled in Helsinki for 15 years.His untimely demise happened in August 2, 2014 in his Lahti hometown in Finland. Some of his works were posthumously published.

His first way to getting his book published had a little divine intervention. Back then, James Thompson didn’t know that he was talking to the managing editor of WSOY then (it was the largest publisher in Northern Europe) when he was at a local pub, and then the conversation veered into requesting for a manuscript from him. It was his starting point for novel stardom and one of Finland’s monumental leap in the crime novel genre. After submitting the manuscripts, Thompson grabbed a three book deal offered by WSOY. It was a rarity to be offered to a novice writer in Europe and Thompson broke that record.

Because of the story set in his home country, which is Finland, and the characters being Finnish, he was named as a domestic Finnish author in his country even though he was born American. This was another first of Thompson’s early accomplishments.

He also co-authored an educational book and had five published novels up his sleeve. He also taught English to Finland natives. Because of his accomplishments, he was offered several literary grants from foundations catering to artists, including literary artists.

In America, where he wasn’t yet a popular crime novelist, he was offered for one of his novels to get published. Days after sending it to the agent, he was offered a book deal in America and to six other countries. His publisher in the U.S. is G.P. Putnam’s Sons.

He wrote the Kari Vaara crime novel series and had published four books under this series namely: Snow Angels (2009), Lucifer’s Tears (2011), Helsinki White (2012), and Helsinki Blood (2013). The fifth novel of the series entitled Helsinki Dead was unfinished but it was scheduled to be released in late 2014. With the Kari Vaara series, he received numerous achievement and awards, and became one the bestselling international novelist in the crime fiction genre. Awards include Anthony Award, Strand Critics Award, and an Edgar Award. His works were critically acclaimed and had garnered positive reviews in various reviewing bodies including Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist. He rose from the status of debut writer to Nordic noir crime novelist because of the Kari Vaara series.

In an anthology book entitled Helsinki Noir that was set to be released in November 2014 by Akashic Books Publishing, one of his works was included in the book. He also wrote Jumalannimeen, JerusaleminVeri and The Return of the Titans.

When he was not writing novels, he was writing essays and book reviews for International Crime Writers Reality Check (a website with over 40,000 visitors a week) and The New York Journal of Books. He also tried to write screenplays for Snow Angels, Lucifer’s Tears and Helsinki White because of the offered deal for it to become a movie in the future.

In the story of Snow Angels, a beautiful actress’ body was found dead in a reindeer farm, mutilated, and racist words were inscribed on her chest. She was found out to be a Somalian refugee before the gruesome events took place. Inspector Vaara, chief of police in their rural country, is forced to find out things about this crime at a great expense–the story mustn’t go out in the news. Because of the subtlety of racism in their rural area, Vaara must tread murky waters to find out the cause of murder of SufiaElmi. As the series progresses, darker and darker themes are introduced in the scene and the suspect becoming more and more familiar to Vaara as he suspects that the killer maybe Sufia’s rich ex-lover. He is also torn by his past in which he finds refuge in his American pregnant wife named Kate.

In the story of Lucifer’s Tears, we follow the life of Vaara as he calms himself from the effects of investigating SufiaElmi’s case. He became an insomniac, developed a migraine, and wore a scarred face because of his involvement with the actress’ case. His problems elevated when he was assigned on a nightshift duty as chief of police in their rural town and his wife was at the brink of another miscarriage if he doesn’t play his cards right. The new case involved a 90 year old WW2 war criminal. He must mask the veteran of his criminal acts because the war veteran was hailed as one of Finland’s heroes in the war. Vaara was tasked to absolve the war veteran for his reasonable crimes but Germany wants that he be extradited. The twist of events would determine the fate of his suspect as he is also drawn to the case of a woman named IisaFilippov and his businessman husband. Vaara would have a taste of injustice as he involve himself in these two criminal cases because of the weavings of those in power.

In the Kari Vaara series, Inspector Vaara was the chief of police in a little city called Kittila, Lapland. As the series progresses, the setting had been moved to Helsinki. The character was portrayed as a model law enforcer in the first and second book. However, in the following books, Vaara turned into a roguish cop and his moral slowly began to get depraved. In Helsinki Blood, Vaara tried to have a shot of redemption because of his actions.

Though no longer actively involved in writing, his works continue to inspire millions of people all over the world, especially due to the fact he touched on subjects that resonated pretty well with many.

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Thompson