Reviews & Praise

(See individual book pages for more reviews and praise.)

"Compelling"Thompson draws on his long residence in Finland to convincingly portray a grungy northern underworld."
Publishers Weekly (Helsinki Blood)

"Kentucky native Thompson has created in Kari a hero as dyspeptic as Kurt Wallender and as prone to vigilante justice as Harry Hole"
Kirkus (Helsinki Blood)

“A must-read for fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell.”
Booklist (Helsinki White)

“Finnish noir is the current tone of Thompson’s series . . . readers who are already invested in this character ache to see him succeed. Just the fact that Thompson can make the situation believable and make us care is evidence of his talent.”
Library Journal (Helsinki Blood)

“James Thompson's prose blend of chilly Scandinavian atmosphere and dark Southern Gothic is unique and jolting, like an ice-cold straight razor slashed across sweaty flesh.  In Helsinki Blood there are equal measures of violence, detection, pathos, blood . . . and finally, sweet redemption.”
C.J. Box, New York Times Bestselling Author (Helsinki Blood)

“Thompson's style is on the dark end of the ‘Nordic Noir’ spectrum. The genre — with its stark and often violent police procedurals — has proved wildly successful…The marquee names have come from Sweden — think Stieg Larsson's Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, or Henning Mankell's Wallander series — but Norway's Jo Nesbo and Iceland's Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir have also made their mark with international readers. Thompson stands out from that crowd by writing in English and telling Vaara's gritty narrative in the first person. ”
The New York Times (Helsinki White)

“In his dozen years of living in Finland…Thompson has absorbed enough cold, dark atmosphere for a spot on the roster of top Nordic crime writers—Mankell, Nesbø, Indrioason and the like.”
The New York Post (Helsinki White)

"This was one of the first Scandinavian crime novels to be published after Norwegian Anders Breivik’s shooting spree at a youth camp in 2011, which resulted in 69 deaths, and in that context, the novel’s themes of hate, racism, and politics ring especially true… A must-read for fans of Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell."
Booklist (starred review) (Helsinki White)

“Stellar…. Thompson elegantly threads Finland’s compelling national history with Vaara’s own demons in this taut, emotionally wrought novel.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review (Lucifer’s Tears)

"Nazi collaboration, government cover-ups, kinky sex, a baby daughter waiting impatiently to be born and a vigilante-minded hero who talks back to his boss more irreverently than Dirty Harry. What more could you want?"
Kirkus (starred review) (Lucifer’s Tears)

"Hamlet has always been Shakespeare’s most popular play, and some of our best contemporary writers and filmmakers, from Martin Scorsese to Cormac McCarthy, have found a large audience without sacrificing their ability to view violence as something other than an excuse for easy heroics. To take a noteworthy recent example, the superb new crime novelist James Thompson has written two books – Snow Angels and Lucifer’s Tears – that combine his extraordinary skills as a stylist and storyteller with his mature and moving sense of the costs that violence exacts from individuals and from society as a whole… The poet had a keen understanding of violence and its place in culture, and I think what Yeats writes here is imbued with meaning. From “Meditations in Time of Civil War,” 1923. “We had fed the heart on fantasies. / The heart’s grown brutal from the fare.”
The New Haven Review

"Mr. Thompson’s ability to craft complex plot/sub-plots with such powerful prose makes him unique in the family of modern-day crime writers. Startlingly original and instantly cinematic, Lucifer’s Tears unfolds in page-turning addictiveness until it delivers shock after shock in its denouement of police corruption and condemnation for those trying to rewrite history. It’s going to be tough for other crime writers to beat this as Thriller of The Year. Grab yourself a copy now and see why."
New York Journal of Books, by author Sam Millar.

"The laconic voice of inspector Kari Vaara is at the same time dangerous and human, his world cold, barren, yet intriguingly exotic, his story fast, brutal, yet told with a sort of laid-back calm."
—Peter Hoeg, author of Smilla's Sense of Snow (Snow Angels)

"This book is wonderful. It took me right in, dropped me into a strange new world, and kept me captivated from first to last page. James Thompson has done a masterful job with Snow Angels!"
—Michael Connelly (Snow Angels)