Media Room

This is a pronunciation guide for various Finnish names, words and phrases, courtesy of Maritta Hakola. She has perhaps the world's most beautiful voice and my gratitude.
Finnish language pronunciation guide for the Inspector Vaara series.
Hear the song Lucifer's Tears, inspired by the novel, composed and performed by Berlin Architecture.

A video of me jabbering at length.

Click a thumbnail to download a high resolution photo

Photo Credit: C. Markus Schulte


James Thompson: Penguin podcast interview



Bookpage—The Bookcase: 7 Questions with James Thompson

The Big Thrill—Helsinki Blood,  by James Thompson. Interview by George Ebey

Newsvine—Interviewed by  Scott Butki

Interview with Crimetime

From Musings of an All Purpose Monkey, by Elizabeth A White.

Jen’s book thoughts: shedding some light on Jim Thompson

Scene of the Crime with Author James Thompson! Interview by Cathy Cole

You Say Too: an interview with Jim Thompson

Scandinavian Crime Fiction. Interview with James Thompson

Helsinki University: Hub: Poetry, Booze, and Crime

Writer Interviews

The Page 69 Test

Interview with Oline Cogdill

From Declan Burke’s blog: Crime Always Pays

Radio interview with David English

Que leer: James Thompson: la Cenicienta negra de Finlandia



This section is mostly meant for international readers, so everything isn’t translated.

United Kingdom: Publisher: Avon / HarperCollins

Dark and desolate describes the setting for this book set in Finland, and it sets a tone throughout SNOW ANGELS (Berkley Prime Crime). It’s not a bad thing as this is a moody and melancholy book that does a wonderful job of setting the reader right in pace with the detective, one Kari Vaara, a man used to working crimes in a small town. People react differently to the Nordic winter’s and this time it brought someone to murder. DAMN GOOD BOOK.

Jon Jordan Publisher Crimespree Magazine

Snow Angels: James Thompson Talks To Crime Time

Lucifer's Tears will be released in the UK in November, 2011




Germany: Publisher: Rowohlt

Eis Engel: „Im Stil eines echten tough guy zelebriert James Thompson in «Eis-Engel» daher keineswegs nur eine souveräne Crime-Story, sondern vor allem den Entwurf einer eiskalt gnadenlosen Welt, in der die spektakuläre Blutspur eines Einzeltäters lediglich wie die Spitze eines Eisbergs aus einem finsteren, flächendeckenden Meer von alltäglicher Hoffnungslosigkeit ragt.“ (Libro Journal, January 2010)

“In «Snow Angels» James Thompson doesn’t just construct a smooth crime story in the style of a real tough guy, moreover he creates a blueprint of an ice-cold, merciless world where the spectacular trail of blood by a single perpetrator becomes just the peak of an iceberg in the midst of a gloomy wide sea of desperateness in every day’s life.” (Libro Journal, January 2010)

„Der amerikanische Autor James Thomson schickt in Eis-Engel zum ersten Mal seinen tieftraurigen, hartnäckigen wie dickköpfigen Ermittler auf Spurensuche, der das Zeug zum Kulturinspektor hat. Thomson erzählt lakonisch, temporeich und inszeniert seine Figuren bis ins Detail glaubwürdig. In diesem Finnland der dunklen Nächte möchte man nicht begraben sein.“ (Sabine Wagner, Ostthüringer Zeitung, January 2nd, 2010)

“In «Snow Angels» the American author James Thompson for the first time sends his deeply sad, insistent and obstinate detective on an investigation. He has what it takes to become a real cult inspector. Thomson narrates in a laconic and fast way; he constructs his characters authentically and in detail. One wouldn’t want to be buried in this Finland with its dark cold nights.” (Sabine Wagner, Ostthüringer Zeitung, January 2nd, 2010)

„Ein Amerikaner schreibt einen Thriller, der in Finnland spielt. Kann das gut gehen? Es kann, denn James Thomson verbindet geschickt Elemente des amerikanischen Thrillers mit denen grandioser skandinavischer Kriminalromane. […] Eis-Engel hat alles, was einen guten Thriller ausmacht: eine Geschichte um einen grausamen Mord, bei dem nichts zusammenpasst, überraschende Wendungen, überwiegend glaubhafte Charaktere, einen spannenden Showdown.“ (Sonja Fouaté, hr online, März 2010)

“An American author writes a thriller set in Finland. Can that possibly be successful? Yes, it can, since James Thompson skilfully connects elements of the American thriller with those of the terrific Scandinavian detective stories. […] «Snow Angels» has everything that a good thriller consists of: a story of a cruel murder, where nothing fits together, surprising twists, authentic characters and a thrilling showdown.” (Sonja Fouaté, hr online, March 2010)

„Es ist ein spannendes Puzzle, das Thompson entwickelt. Der Autor hat zudem ein besonderes Talent, die unwirtliche Landschaft genau zu beschreiben und so Spannung zu erzeugen. Die Scheinwerfer blitzen, der Schnee knirscht unter den Füßen, die Härchen in den Nasenlöchern gefrieren.“ (Jennifer Kahn, Westfälischer Anzeiger, 8. April 2010)

“Thompson constructs a thrilling jigsaw puzzle. Furthermore, the author has an extraordinary talent to describe the barren landscape in all its details, creating by this means tension and suspense: one sees the flood lights flash, one hears the snow crunching under one’s feet and the hairs in one’s nostrils freeze to ice.” (Jennifer Kahn, Westfälischer Anzeiger, April 8th, 2010)

„Mit Eis-Engel ist ihm ein grandioser Roman gelungen. Die Geschichte ist vom Anfang bis zum Ende spannend. Immer wieder werden neue Puzzleteile enthüllt, die ein neues Licht auf den Mord werfen.“ (, 5. Februar 2010)

“With «Snow Angels» he has written a terrific novel. The plot is from beginning to end full of tension. New pieces of the jigsaw are continuously disclosed throughout the novel and cast a new light on the murder.” (, February 5th, 2010)

James Thompson ist mit seinem zweiten Roman um Kari Vaara ein ganz außergewöhnlicher Thriller gelungen, der sowohl inhaltlich als auch sprachlich absolut zu überzeugen weiß. Für alle, die einen anspruchsvolleren Thriller der etwas anderen Art zu schätzen wissen, aber trotzdem gut unterhalten werden wollen.

Toten-Winter (Lucifer's Tears) is in German language stores now.

Spain: Publisher: Roca

Angeles en la nieve (Snow Angels)

My apologies to Spanish readers. Spanish reviews came in as scans and were unreadable when converted to text for the web. I'll try and do something about it.


Brazil: Publisher: Record (No info as of yet)

Portugal: Publisher: Porto Editora (No info as of yet)

France: Publisher: Balland

Libération : January 14th 2010, Gérard Thomas published an article and gives a full description of the book, “Kari Vaara dives into a universe tapped by the racism and the intolerance

Direct Soir : November 11th “The opportunity to shiver but also to discover a country through the glance of the author who lives there”

Le Point :

Le Magazine littéraire : February 2010  “James Thompson remains a typically American author and prints in this pounding thriller a muscular tempo”

Télé 2 semaines : On December 28th describes a “striking book

Marie Claire : March 2010 -  “The engine of the suspense turns at top speed

Marianne : February 13th “It is alarming as a day which does not come”

France24 TV


MidiLibre : December 28th Ideal for the new icy year

Est Republicain : January 3rdA thriller seizing to read to the warmth

Biblioteca : November 2009 gives a complete description of the book

Service Littéraire : December 2009 “One of the bests thrillers of this winter”

Meurtre en Hiver Polaire (Lucifer’s Tears)

Psychologies, March 2011. « Afin d'appréhender l'imaginaire nordique auquel nous invite le Salon du livre de Paris, pourquoi ne pas prendre pour guide l'écrivain James Thompson installé depuis longtemps en Finlande ? La curiosité et l'admiration qu'il a pour ce pays se retrouvent dans les aventures de l'Inspecteur Kari Vaara. Sur ses traces, vous découvrirez le rituel de (une fête célébrée lorsqu'un homme devint père) et aurez à coup sûr envie d'un sauna ! L'occasion également de se replonger dans un pan de l'histoire de la Finlande durant la Seconde Guerre mondiale, pays occupé par les Russes comme par les allemands. Une enquête où tout n'est pas noir… ou blanc. »

“In dread of the Scandinavian imagination, which invites us to the book fair of Paris, why not take for a guide the writer James Thompson, long-time resident of Finland? The curiosity and the admiration which he has for this country meet in the adventures of Inspector Kari Vaara. In his tracks, you will discover the rite of varpajaiset (a celebrated party when a man becomes a father) and will certainly want a sauna! The book also gives an opportunity to delve back the history of Finland during the Second World War, a country invaded by the Russia as well as by Germany. The investigation leads to places where nothing is black….  or white.”

ROLLING STONE Février 2011/ February 2011

Closer de Nine Inch Nails est la meilleure chanson de tous les temps pour baiser. Avec Kashmir de Led Zeppelin « A voir… Ambiance sado-maso autour du crime de l’épouse d’un businessman russe et enquête sur le passé nazi d’une partie de la Finlande : natif du kentucky mais exilé chez les Lapons, James Thompson donne un rythme de thriller américain à un polar nordique d’habitude plus ouaté. Avec en prime un flic flapi et flippant. Glaçant.

Closer, by Nince Inch Nails, is the best song of all time to fuck to. Along with Kashmir of Led Zeppelin “To see… Sadomasochistic atmosphere surrounding the murder of the wife of a Russian businessman and the investigation of the Nazi past involving Finland : native of the Kentucky but exiled to the Laplanders, James Thompson gives a rhythm of American thriller to a Scandinavian detective story… Creepy…”

MARIANNE 22 janvier 2011 / January 22nd 2011

Les polars venus du froid investissent souvent nos clichés : là-bas la lumière est grise et la lumière est sale. James Thompson, après la Nuit glaciale du Kaamos, livre une nouvelle enquête de son Inspecteur Vaara, dépressif, claudiquant, défiguré par une balle, tenaillé par des maux de tête incessants, mais mari heureux. Outre une enquête qui mêle une page peu glorieuse de la Finlande et un crime sado-maso dans le milieu bourgeois d’Helsinki, c’est la personnalité de ce flic impétueux et naïf qui nous tient en haleine : son caractère est une énigme. Prouver la culpabilité du meurtrier pour dissimuler  la sienne est la véritable intrigue de ce polar polaire où le jour ne se lève jamais pour délivrer les consciences.

Police novels coming from the cold often full of clichés : over there the light is grey and the light is dirty. James Thompson, after Snow Angels, delivers a new investigation by his Inspector Varaa. Depressed, limping, deformed by a bullet, tormented by ceaseless headaches, but a happy husband. Besides an investigation which mixes a little glorious page of Finland and a sadomasochistic murder in the middle class environment of Helsinki, it is the personality of this passionate and naïve cop who keeps us in suspense: his character is an enigma.

To prove the guilt of the murderer to hide his is the real intrigue of this police novel where the day never comes to deliver conscience.

MARIE-FRANCE – Février 2011/ February 2011

L’Inspecteur Kari Vaara se remet assez mal de son demi-échec (cf La nuit glaciale du Kaamos). On y ajoute une bonne migraine, Helsinki en plein hiver, sa femme qui risque de faire une fausse couche et le tableau est complet. C’est assez ronchon qu’il enquête sur un scandale qui menace le ministre de l’intérieur et sur le meurtre de la femme d’un homme d’affaires russe. Deux histoires qui vont se croiser sur un terrain glissant, le rôle de la Finlande pendant la seconde guerre mondiale. Un roman très noir et un miroir terrifiant d’un pays face à ses propres démons. Explosif !

Inspector Kari Vaara recovers rather badly from his partial failure (cf Snow angels). We add in a good migraine, Helsinki in dead of winter, his wife who risks a miscarriage and the picture is complete. It is rather in bad mood that he investigates a scandal which threatens the minister of the interior and another the murder of the wife of a Russian businessman. Two stories which cross on slippery ground, the role of Finland during the Second World War. A very black novel and a terrifying mirror of a country confronting its own demons. Explosive!

BABELIO – Janvier 2011/ January 2011

Kari Vaara est à bout de souffle depuis sa précédente affaire. Souffrant d'insomnie chronique, hanté par ses démons, il est désormais inspecteur pour la criminelle d'Helsinki, la célèbre Murharyhmâ. Délaissant sa femme enceinte de huit mois et demi, Vaara enquête sur un ancien héros de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, âgé de quatre-vingt-dix ans, soupçonné de complicité de crimes de guerre. Alors que l'Allemagne réclame l'extradition du vieil homme, le ministre de l'Intérieur finlandais demande de classer l'affaire. De quoi éveiller la curiosité de notre homme. Saura-t-il, cette fois, garder ses fantômes à distance et éviter que sa carrière n'empiète trop avant sur sa vie privée?

Kari Vaara is breathless since his previous episode; suffering from chronic insomnia, haunted by his devils, he is now an inspector for the homicide squad of Helsinki, famous Murharyhmä. Abandoning his eight-months pregnant wife and half, Vaara investigates a former hero of the Second World War, ninety-year-old, suspected of complicity of war crimes. While Germany demands the extradition of the old man, the Finnish home secretary asks to classify the affair;  Of what to awaken the curiosity of our man. Will he know how to, this time, keep his ghosts at a distance and avoid letting his career encroach too much before on his private life?

Japan: Publisher: Shuesha (No info as of yet)

Turkey: Publisher: Ephesus (Snow Angels released with two different jackets.)

“Gerilim dolu ve büyüleyici! Thompson, esrarlı eylemlerin öyküsüyle sonu olmayan kış gecelerinin ortasında bizi ürpertiyor ve aralık ayında Finlandiya’nın ne kadar ölümcül olabileceğini gösteriyor.”

-Lisa Gardner

“Dedektif Kari Vaara’nın hitabı, tehlikeli ve insani olduğu kadar kısa ve öz; dünyası soğuk ve çorak fakat aynı zamanda merak uyandırıcı bir biçimde egzotik, hikâyesi süratli ve vahşi ama yine de kaygısız bir sakinlikle anlatılmış.”

- Peter Høeg

Dedektif Kari Vaara’nın, Finlandiya’nın karanlık ve şiddet dolu sularına daldığı polisiye serisinin ilk kitabı.

Kaamos, Noel’den hemen önce Lapland’ın en kasvetli zamanı. Kutup Dairesi’ndeki amansız karanlık ve soğuk herkesi biraz delirtir. Belki de cinayet işleyecek kadar…

Karda, Somalili güzel bir göçmenin cesedi korkunç bir tahribata uğramış ve vücuduna hakaretler kazınmış şekilde bulunmuştur. Soruşturma, küçük bir  kasabada yaşayan Dedektif Kari Vaara tarafından yürütülmektedir. Nefret cinayeti mi, tecavüz mü, yoksa her ikisi birden mi? Vaara, cinayeti olabildiğince gizli soruşturmadığı takdirde ırkçılığıyla yüzleşmeye korkan önyargılı ada halkını ayaklandıracağının farkındadır.

İlk çocuklarına hamile olan Amerikalı genç eşi Kate çetin kutup soğuğuna, sessiz ve tecrit Fin kültürüne alışmaya çabalarken, soruşturmanın getirdikleri evliliklerini teklikeye atmaktadır. Bu sırada, çocukluğunda yaşadığı travmalar ve başarızlığa uğramış ilk evliliğiyle Vaara geçmişin hayaletleriyle yüzleşir. Katil,  yıllar önce eski karısının uğruna Vaara’yı terk ettiği zengin adam mı?

Uçsuz karanlık, herkesi cinayete sürükleyebilir.

Finland: Publisher: Johnny Kniga/WSOY (a couple of these are in English). Try Google Translate

With JERUSALEMIN VERI, it’s easier to believe that Thompson is a nom de plume than that the author is a debut novelist. It’s well-written, rich in knowledge, and the plot drives. It’s better than the best Dan Brown, despite the extreme violence. Sensation or pen name?

– Kirjatyö (Book Work), Marko Ikävalko –

JERUSALEMIN VERI is from beginning to end a commanding political thriller. In addition to exciting, it’s also thoughtful.–   Rytmi

Nothing stops breathtaking storytelling, and the book is incredibly entertaining.– Tommi Virtanen, Kaleva –

If the intention of the book was to shock, then yes, the author succeeded.

– Antti Nisula, Savon Sanomat (The Savo Daily News)

KP24 Jim Thompson: Kylmä kuolema—click here

Six Degrees Magazine

Kouvulan sanomat

This next is one of my all-time favorite reviews.


My significant other, Isis

Laadukas ja julma dekkari

The Helsinki Times

Jim Thompson—Kylmä kuolema

Jim Thompson pääsi Edgar-ehdokkaaksi

Consigliere to Don Corleone

Finland Forums

Kuvottavaa mielen- ja maisemankuvausta-Kymen Sanomat

Karjalainen–Kauhua kauhotaan vasemmalta

Savon sanomat: Jim Thompson—Kylmä kuolema

Helsingin sanomat—Jumalan nimeen

Metro Live

Venäjän karhu heräilee Lapin Kansa

Jim Thompson-Jumalan nimeen: Savon sanomat