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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 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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