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Jan Costin Wagner Books In Order

Publication Order of Kimmo Joentaa Books

Ice Moon (2005)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Silence (2007)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Winter of the Lions (2008)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Light in a Dark House (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Jan Costin Wagner
Jan Costin Wagner was born October 13, 1972 in Langen, Germany and is a German crime fiction writer. His books are set in Finland and star detective Kimmo Joentaa.

His wife is a native of Finland, and they spend their time both in Germany and in Finland. Jan writes a strange hybrid sort of mystery: a Scandinavian setting with a melancholy atmosphere of Northern Europe.

Jan studied German History and Literature at university in Frankfurt and later worked as a journalist.

“The Silence”, released in the year 2007, was adapted into a German film of the same name that was released in 2010.

His debut novel, called “Night Trip”, was released in the year 2002, to a lot of acclaim. It also won the Marlowe Prize for Best Crime Novel. His work is from the thriller and mystery genres.

“Ice Moon” is the first novel in the “Kimmo Joentaa” series and was released in the year 2006. Kimmo Joentaa, who is distraught a week after his wife died from Hodgkin’s disease, goes back to work to join a murder inquiry. It is the case of a woman that’s smothered in her sleep, which is a curiously tranquil death, it appears, and one without any motive, and Kimmo gets obsessed. The only clues in the case are two glasses, a half-empty bottle of red wine, and one missing painting, a blurred landscape that is of no value. A young man is found murdered in bed the very next day with seven people asleep all around him, Kimmo realizes that it must be the work of a serial killer.

While struggling with the memory of his wife’s early death, Kimmo looks into these murders and attempts to comprehend the mind of the perp, who seems to be self-effacing, quiet, and affable. Why then this urge to destroy? Set in Finland during the unnervingly long days of late summer near the very top of the world.

Fans of the novel found this to be very painful in certain parts yet the entire thing is so beautifully written. Jan pens a story that is just as much about the atmosphere of the novel as it is the mystery. This is a fantastic introduction to these characters, who are quite easy to relate to. The setting of Finland is well used, and the characters are well drawn, making this a worthy Scandinavian title in this genre.

“Silence” is the second novel in the “Kimmo Joentaa” series and was released in the year 2010. The novel opens in 1974. An ordinary summer day a young girl vanishes as she cycles to her volleyball practice. Her abandoned bike is found in precisely the same spot that another girl was assaulted and murdered thirty-three years prior.

The perp never was brought to justice so the authorities suspect the same killer’s killed again. The spookiness of the crime unsettles not just the cops and public, but also somebody that’s been carrying a burden of guilt for all this time.

Detective Kimmo Joentaa calls on the help of Ketola, his older colleague who worked on the original case, in the hope they’ll be able to solve both crimes. As they follow up leads, ripples from the impact on this new disappearance spread and Kimmo finds out that the truth isn’t always what you expect.

Jan delivers a well written novel filled with entertaining characters, with a good plot twist. Rather than focus on the logistics of the crime and pinning down the perp, he focuses on the parties involved and the emphasis is much more psychological. Reviewing the original case allows the readers to see how a mom has rebuilt her life after her kid went missing thirty plus years before. Fans found themselves growing very fond of Kimmo Joentaa and appreciated his sense of integrity and sensitive approach. The retired Antsi Ketola was bemusing as well, with his random outbursts of laughter and slightly off-beat personality.

“The Winter of the Lions” is the third novel in the “Kimmo Joentaa” series and was released in the year 2011. Ever since his wife tragically died, Detective Kimmo Joentaa has prepared for the isolation of Christmas with a bottle of vodka and a glass of milk to arm him against the harshness of the Finnish winter. But, this year events take a rather unexpected turn when a young hooker ends up on his doorstep.

Not too long afterwards a colleague of Kimmo’s, a forensic pathologist, is found killed and the most famous talk-show host in Finland is savagely attacked. It becomes clear that the pathologist was recently a guest on the star’s show, Kimmo is called on to use his powers of instinct and intuition to solve this case. At the same time, the killer lies in wait, ready to kill again.

Kimmo Joentaa uses his unusual gifts for psychological insight in order to delve deep into the minds of the criminals that he pursues.

Fans liked how the story has just the right amount of darkness without being too depressing. The author’s careful use of language and his abilities at creating nuanced characters makes for an intriguing read.

“Light in a Dark House” is the fourth novel in the “Kimmo Joentaa” series and was released in the year 2013. Kimmo Joentaa gets called to the local hospital that his young wife died in several years prior. One unidentified woman in a coma has been murdered by somebody that wept over the body, their tears staining the sheets around her. The death marks the beginning of a sequence of murders, with the unknown patient at their very center.

While autumn turns into winter, and Christmas quickly coming, Kimmo’s attempts at unraveling this case and identify the first victim become complicated by his sometime girlfriend’s disappearance, who disappeared after a party that was thrown by the head of the police force. As well as by a colleague’s spiral into the depths of their gambling addiction.

Readers loved Wagner’s style of writing, which is sparse yet is rich in emotional depth. Joentaa is a mysterious, complex character that readers would like to know more about.

Jan Costin Wagner is a German mystery, thriller and crime fiction author best known for the “Kimmo Joentaa” series of novels. His most popular series feature Kimmo Joentaa, a Finnish detective given that his works are for the most part set in Finland. Wagner went to the University of Frankfurt from where he studied German History and Literature before he went on to work as a journalist. He published his debut novel “Nachtfahrt” in 2002. The novel garnered much critical acclaim upon publication and was the winner of the Best Crime Novel in the Marlowe Prize. Since he is married to a Finnish wife, they spend a lot of time in Finland and this is how he came to know the culture and become interested in Finnish investigative/crime fiction. His German novel “Das Shweigen” that was later translated into English as “The Silence” was adapted into a German motion picture in 2010. Another of his novels was also translated into English format as “Ice Moon” in 2006.

Costin Wagner writes an appealing protagonist for his Kimmo Joentaa series. Kimmo is an introspective detective from Turku a small Finnish city, from where he solves a wide variety of complicated criminal mysteries. When he is introduced, he is mourning for his dead wife and this is a constant thread throughout the series. Wagner writes novels with the proper amount of story and darkness without ever being depressing or trite. While the novels all feature the lead detective Kimmo, they can be read as standalones as each comes with its independent crime mysteries. The author writes in a fashion similar to that of English crime writer P.D. James and Norwegian detective crime fiction author Jo Nesbo.

“Ice Moon” the debut novel of the “Kimmo Joentaa” series is set a week after the titular character lost his wife. He had returned to work but is distraught even as he has to take lead in a murder mystery. A woman had allegedly died in her sleep from smothering, which is a curiously tranquil death. No one can think of any suspects with a motive for the killing, which leaves Kimmo obsessed with resolving the mystery. The only clues he can use include a blurred landscape, a bottle of red wine half emptied, a missing painting, and two glasses. But then the investigators find a young man killed in his bed in the hostel and Kimmo is convinced that they are dealing with a serial killer. To forget the pain of losing his wife, he dives deep into his investigations trying to get into the mind of the seemingly affable, self-effacing, and quiet killer. The novel is set in the disconcertingly long summer days and makes for a touching and disquieting mystery.

Jan Costin Wagner’s novel “Silence” debuts with a haunting prologue that tells the story of one of the people that had raped and murdered a thirteen-year-old in the summer of 1974. Fast forward three decades later, Antsi Ketola who is thinking of quitting the CID tells Joentaa about a cold case that had never been resolved for years. Six months later, some case that has all the hallmarks of that case from decades ago turns up and triggers the younger detective’s memory. For Ketola, it is an opportunity to look into the circumstances of the first case afresh. The novel is an unconventional detective story as there is not much emphasis on finding the perpetrator and the logistics of the crime but rather on the people that have been impacted by the crime. It focuses on the psychological as the author makes use of several points of view to showcase the emotional turmoil in a family whose child was murdered.

“The Winter of the Lions” by Costin Wagner opens to Kimmo Joentaa performing his yearly ritual. Ever since his wife died, he spent Christmas alone with a bottle of vodka and a glass of milk to warm himself from the ravages of the Finnish winter. But things have turned out very differently this year as a young woman had turned up to his house and not long after the murder of two men is reported. One of the men is a forensic pathologist and one of the detective’s best friends. When it is realized that both of the murdered men had made an appearance on the most famous talk show in Finland, Kimmo thinks there may be something to it. The killer had gone silent but it is clear that he intends to strike again. It is a slow-motion dance between the detective and the killer that makes for a highly entertaining psychological thriller, very unlike the complex and violent stories common in modern-day crime fiction.

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