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Every year since the tragic death of his wife, Detective Kimmo Joentaa has prepared for the isolation of Christmas with a glass of milk and a bottle of vodka to arm himself against the harsh Finnish winter. However, this year events take an unexpected turn when a young woman turns up on his doorstep. Not long afterwards two men are found murdered, one of whom is Joentaa's c Every year since the tragic death of his wife, Detective Kimmo Joentaa has prepared for the isolation of Christmas with a glass of milk and a bottle of vodka to arm himself against the harsh Finnish winter. However, this year events take an unexpected turn when a young woman turns up on his doorstep. Not long afterwards two men are found murdered, one of whom is Joentaa's colleague, a forensic pathologist. When it becomes clear that both victims had recently been guests on Finland's most famous talk show, Kimmo is called upon to use all his powers of intuition and instinct to solve the case. Meanwhile the killer is lying in wait, ready to strike again... In Kimmo Joentaa, prizewinning author Jan Costin Wagner has created a lonely hero in the Philip Marlowe mould, who uses his unusual gifts for psychological insight to delve deep inside the minds of the criminals he pursues.


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Every year since the tragic death of his wife, Detective Kimmo Joentaa has prepared for the isolation of Christmas with a glass of milk and a bottle of vodka to arm himself against the harsh Finnish winter. However, this year events take an unexpected turn when a young woman turns up on his doorstep. Not long afterwards two men are found murdered, one of whom is Joentaa's c Every year since the tragic death of his wife, Detective Kimmo Joentaa has prepared for the isolation of Christmas with a glass of milk and a bottle of vodka to arm himself against the harsh Finnish winter. However, this year events take an unexpected turn when a young woman turns up on his doorstep. Not long afterwards two men are found murdered, one of whom is Joentaa's colleague, a forensic pathologist. When it becomes clear that both victims had recently been guests on Finland's most famous talk show, Kimmo is called upon to use all his powers of intuition and instinct to solve the case. Meanwhile the killer is lying in wait, ready to strike again... In Kimmo Joentaa, prizewinning author Jan Costin Wagner has created a lonely hero in the Philip Marlowe mould, who uses his unusual gifts for psychological insight to delve deep inside the minds of the criminals he pursues.

30 review for The Winter of the Lions

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4. The short back-cover blurb by The Financial Times calls this book "snow-noir." There seems to be a noir for everything these days, a concept that doesn't really sit well with me but that's another story so we'll save it for another time or I'll just get myself all worked up. But really, there is nothing better when your brain is overloaded than a good mystery to carry you away. And this one is good. The Winter of the Lions is third in a series set in Finland, fea somewhere between a 3.5 and a 4. The short back-cover blurb by The Financial Times calls this book "snow-noir." There seems to be a noir for everything these days, a concept that doesn't really sit well with me but that's another story so we'll save it for another time or I'll just get myself all worked up. But really, there is nothing better when your brain is overloaded than a good mystery to carry you away. And this one is good. The Winter of the Lions is third in a series set in Finland, featuring Detective Kimmo Joentaa whose wife has passed away and who finds it hard to move away from his grief. There are two central mysteries in this book having to do with a series of crimes that hits close to home for our grieving detective and a third, more peripheral puzzle which centers around a strange woman who latches on to Joentaa shortly after meeting him at the police station on Christmas Eve. When all is said and done, The Winter of the Lions turned out to be a dark, haunting read that kept me turning pages during an all-day readfest. Just briefly, because it's difficult to talk about this book without giving too much away, Joentaa and his colleagues are called to the scene of an horrific crime, involving someone close to the squad. The forensic pathologist has been brutally murdered while out cross-country skiing. While coming to terms with his death, the detectives soon find themselves with another victim on their hands, a man who makes puppet models of corpses for television and movies. In both cases the clues are virtually non-existent; it is only through a chance remark that Joentaa reveals that both victims had been together as guests on a popular TV talk show. After reviewing a DVD of that particular episode, Joentaa and colleagues are no closer to finding the killer, but it does give our angsty, grief-stricken detective a line of inquiry to follow. Mystery number two, which is written quite well, involves an unidentified someone known only as "She." Her story is revealed slowly until the full weight of what's happened to her comes down on the reader like a ton of bricks. Mystery number three is, as I said, sort of peripheral to the main events of this novel, involving a young woman who first encounters Joentaa on Christmas Eve while reporting a rape. She refuses to give up any details except the name of the guy who did it and eventually walks out of the station in frustration, only to show up at Joentaa's doorstep the next day, basically moving into his house. All three of these plotlines weave together into a very slow-burning mystery which, once things start to unravel, turns into a dark and haunting story that examines the effects of grief and loss, also pointing to the ways in which people cope with personal tragedy. One reader review of this novel notes that he/she didn't understand why Joentaa didn't figure things out earlier than he did, a question I normally find myself asking in many a mystery novel, but this time I'm going to disagree with that opinion. The pacing in this book is slow for a reason, and in my opinion, very well executed. Even though his wife has been dead for some time, Joentaa continues to exist in a sort of haze, reminded of her last days at every turn. Not only that, but our detective has other things to worry about -- the strange young woman staying at his house, a colleague who is up to his ears and in denial about his gambling problem, and a few other distractions. There are many other things about this novel that, in my opinion, speak highly in its favor, but the high believeability factor (okay, I know that's not a real word but I like it) of the characters and the slow-paced investigation and final reveal combine to make this book pop. I will say that I am a wee bit tired of angsty cops -- does every detective in Scandinavia have emotional/mental issues? Confession time: normally I'm a series purist, and while I do own Wagner's first two novels in this series Ice Moon and Silence, they've sat unread on my shelf for a long time due to a personal need for a Scandinavian crime-reading hiatus. The thing is though that the author does such a good job in covering Joentaa's backstory here that it is unnecessary to have read the previous books. Obviously, I would have preferred to have been more prepared characterwise, but not reading the other series entries wasn't detrimental to my understanding and appreciation of this book. Actually, the truth is that even with the angsty detective, The Winter of the Lions turned out to be a fine read -- something very different than its competitors in the world of "snow-noir," and one I'd definitely recommend.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    This author just appeals to me in the story line of his protagonist who is in perpetual mourning for his wife, investigating crimes in Finland. It has the right amount of darkness about the story, yet it is not trite or depressing. He is up there in my book with others like Nesbo and p d james as an author whose books I happily anticipate.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Pender-Smith

    The author's careful use of language and his ability to create nuanced characters made for an intriguing read. The short chapters helped make this a well-paced book though it didn't always have the dramatic tension required to really keep the story taut and moving. One difficulty I had with this story is that sometimes a character was referred to by his or her first name and sometimes by his or her second. This became a bit confusing. There again, this may have been because the names are in a la The author's careful use of language and his ability to create nuanced characters made for an intriguing read. The short chapters helped make this a well-paced book though it didn't always have the dramatic tension required to really keep the story taut and moving. One difficulty I had with this story is that sometimes a character was referred to by his or her first name and sometimes by his or her second. This became a bit confusing. There again, this may have been because the names are in a language very different from my own. Perhaps best described as a psychological thriller, this book is well worth reading.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I cannot believe, firstly that I've left the last two books in this series unread for so long, and secondly I'd be daft enough to read the third, THE WINTER OF THE LIONS out of order. Not that it made a lot of difference to the experience. It's hard to use the word enjoyable when you're referring to any of the books by Jan Costin Wagner as they are so steeped in grief and brooding, although, there was just a glimmer that Kimmo Joentaa might be ready to move on a little. Even though the death of I cannot believe, firstly that I've left the last two books in this series unread for so long, and secondly I'd be daft enough to read the third, THE WINTER OF THE LIONS out of order. Not that it made a lot of difference to the experience. It's hard to use the word enjoyable when you're referring to any of the books by Jan Costin Wagner as they are so steeped in grief and brooding, although, there was just a glimmer that Kimmo Joentaa might be ready to move on a little. Even though the death of his wife is still the defining thing in his life, he is forced to look outside himself, despite it being Christmas, the time of year he most dreads. Set in Finland, Wagner is a German writer with a unique sense of the culture and the country. His writing is pared down, emotional and dark. The plotting of the book is slow, often impenetrable, yet for this reader, it simply didn't matter. The storytelling really is astoundingly affecting and involving. Joentaa is magnificently morose, but without a feeling of overwhelming self-pity. The first book in the series, ICE MOON, was a revelation when I first read it and I waited impatiently for the next to be translated. Then for reasons best known to my idiot self, I bought and then never picked up the next book in the series SILENCE. There really are times when I could kick myself, or at least put the book immediately on the bedside table.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim Coughenour

    This is the third book I've read by Wagner, after Ice Moon and Silence, and it's just as brooding and grief-haunted as the first two – an aspect which perfectly suits Wagner's wounded detective Kimmo Joentaa. Wagner has been called "the anti-writer of pop literature." I'm not sure what that means, but it's true that his crime novels are eccentric even by Scandinavian standards. Maybe it's because Wagner is German and his novels are set in Finland. Whatever the reason, I enjoy the offbeat abstrac This is the third book I've read by Wagner, after Ice Moon and Silence, and it's just as brooding and grief-haunted as the first two – an aspect which perfectly suits Wagner's wounded detective Kimmo Joentaa. Wagner has been called "the anti-writer of pop literature." I'm not sure what that means, but it's true that his crime novels are eccentric even by Scandinavian standards. Maybe it's because Wagner is German and his novels are set in Finland. Whatever the reason, I enjoy the offbeat abstract quality that makes them more meditations than mysteries. The Winter of the Lions features a charming talk-show host and a confused, stricken woman bent on metaphysical revenge. (There's also a willowy gay puppeteer, who of course is suicidal.) The plot doesn't actually make a lot of sense, but somehow the writing comes close to redeeming everything. Even though the morose, damaged Scandinavian detective is by now as much a cliché as Hercule Poirot and his curled mustache, this book won't disappoint readers who prefer their characters disappointed.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Naim Frewat

    I loved this book, I loved the writer. I didn't know it's another volume in a Kimmo Joentaa series; this doesn't diminish it's worth one bit. It's not a procedural police story and nothing wrong-footing the reader will be revealed in the end. The pleasure one gets from this book comes from the crude and honest portrayal of the characters; crude in that descriptive words barely make their presence which fits nicely on the winter atmosphere of Finland. Honest in that the ideas that take shape in s I loved this book, I loved the writer. I didn't know it's another volume in a Kimmo Joentaa series; this doesn't diminish it's worth one bit. It's not a procedural police story and nothing wrong-footing the reader will be revealed in the end. The pleasure one gets from this book comes from the crude and honest portrayal of the characters; crude in that descriptive words barely make their presence which fits nicely on the winter atmosphere of Finland. Honest in that the ideas that take shape in someone's head are rarely linearly connected nor does their formulation into words makes them more meaningful. I didn't mention the plot in my review because it doesn't matter. Which is why I will buy another book from this writer; his rendering of the conscience of the characters is what interests me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Linda Branham Greenwell

    As usual the mood is "somber". However, there is a change in Kimmo's life :) The mystery is told from the perspective of Kimmo - and the perpetrator. 2 people are murdered, and one almost murdered. All 3 were on a TV talk show shortly before the incidents. What is the connection? Kimmo works in his usual strange fashion to begin to put together the pieces. A very interesting novel As usual the mood is "somber". However, there is a change in Kimmo's life :) The mystery is told from the perspective of Kimmo - and the perpetrator. 2 people are murdered, and one almost murdered. All 3 were on a TV talk show shortly before the incidents. What is the connection? Kimmo works in his usual strange fashion to begin to put together the pieces. A very interesting novel

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lewerentz

    Génial !

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alina

    Leider nahm mich der dritte Band der Reihe nicht ganz so gefangen wie die ersten beiden, zumindest, was die erste Hälfte betrifft. Der Perspektivenwechsel zwischen der Täterin und dem Kommissar wirkte eher störend als spannungssteigernd, vielleicht, weil von Anfang an klar war, dass die Frau eben die Mörderin ist, man wartete also nur darauf, wann und wie die Polizei auf sie kommt und was genau ihre Vorgeschichte ist, da Wagner hier zunächst nur vage Andeutungen macht. Es ist zwar eine Art "Mark Leider nahm mich der dritte Band der Reihe nicht ganz so gefangen wie die ersten beiden, zumindest, was die erste Hälfte betrifft. Der Perspektivenwechsel zwischen der Täterin und dem Kommissar wirkte eher störend als spannungssteigernd, vielleicht, weil von Anfang an klar war, dass die Frau eben die Mörderin ist, man wartete also nur darauf, wann und wie die Polizei auf sie kommt und was genau ihre Vorgeschichte ist, da Wagner hier zunächst nur vage Andeutungen macht. Es ist zwar eine Art "Markenzeichen" des Autoren, zwischen der Sicht des Täters und der Ermittler hin und her zu schwenken, doch hier zündeten die allzu kryptischen Gedankengänge der Mörderin leider nicht so sehr. Erst in der zweiten Hälfte, als sich das Motiv langsam enthüllt, wird die Geschichte interessanter, besonders die letzten Kapitel sind dann endlich sehr spannend und lesen sich auch flüssiger, da man nun versteht, wie alles, was vorher so schwammig war, tatsächlich mit den Morden zusammenhängt.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tiger

    My first try with this author and it wasn't bad. Basically a Scandinavian noir cosy (if there is such a thing), Detective Kimmo Joentaa and his Finnish colleagues work the case when two people who appeared on the same crime re-creation show are murdered. Some very short chapters, which I usually don't like, but they certainly worked here to propel the slow, but well paced story about loss, grief and starting over. My first try with this author and it wasn't bad. Basically a Scandinavian noir cosy (if there is such a thing), Detective Kimmo Joentaa and his Finnish colleagues work the case when two people who appeared on the same crime re-creation show are murdered. Some very short chapters, which I usually don't like, but they certainly worked here to propel the slow, but well paced story about loss, grief and starting over.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. A.A. Williams

    A surprising murder mystery A series of actions which appear to have no connection begin this Finnish murder mystery. The reader is led on and kept in suspense until he realises the tenuous connections have a focus and you want to read on. A bit of an indictment on today's media though. A very good read. A surprising murder mystery A series of actions which appear to have no connection begin this Finnish murder mystery. The reader is led on and kept in suspense until he realises the tenuous connections have a focus and you want to read on. A bit of an indictment on today's media though. A very good read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ingo

    Ok, mehr allerdings nicht. Es fehlt mir etwas an Spannung, der Polizeialltag wird wahrscheinlich zu realistisch dargestellt - und der ist vermutlich halt nicht so spannend ;-)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I read Wagner’s first book Ice Moon when it came out in 2006 and loved it. It was a moving tale of a murder investigation set to the background of a man’s grief for his recently dead wife. It could have been a difficult subject to get right but was very well done. However the writer dropped off my radar and his follow-up book Silence, published in 2010, passed me by. I noticed recently that he had had a third book published in 2011 so I did a quick catch up over Christmas, taking in both Silence I read Wagner’s first book Ice Moon when it came out in 2006 and loved it. It was a moving tale of a murder investigation set to the background of a man’s grief for his recently dead wife. It could have been a difficult subject to get right but was very well done. However the writer dropped off my radar and his follow-up book Silence, published in 2010, passed me by. I noticed recently that he had had a third book published in 2011 so I did a quick catch up over Christmas, taking in both Silence and his latest book The Winter of Lions. The Winter of Lions features, once again, Detective Kimmo Joentaa who is investigating the murder of two men who have recently been guests on a famous TV talk show. The subject of the discussion had been the investigation of violent death and now both the forensic pathologist and the puppet maker, an expert at recreating dead bodies, have been killed. Kimmo is convinced that the key to the murder lies in the lifelike nature of the puppets and that one of the models was recognised by the killer. Once again Wagner manages to make the plot interesting without being too gruesome. The puppet maker has used photographs of violent deaths from plane and train crashes and somehow this doesn’t come across too gory in Wagner’s hands. The plot is slightly bizarre, but not so much so that it is completely unbelievable. An interesting sub-plot was the emergence of a woman in Kimmo’s life, the enigmatic ‘Larissa’ whose background is uncertain. She is a hazy and slightly suspicious figure although Kimmo is obviously drawn to her. I imagine that she will feature heavily on later books but here she plays a supporting role, entering Kimmo’s life during the lonely Christmas period. I had forgotten what a good writer Wagner was. His prose has a sparseness and matter of fact quality which works so well when dealing with difficult subjects. He is most definitely back on my radar now.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Inga

    Kimmo Joenta ist auch im dritten Roman von Jan Costin Wagners Reihe um den finnischen Kommissar noch verstört vom Tod seiner Frau Sanna. So erwartet er nicht viel vom Weihnachtsfest. Doch die Dinge entwickeln sich anders, als eine junge Prostituierte, die sich Larissa nennt, sich in sein Leben und in seine Wohnung drängt, nachdem er zuvor auf dem Revier ihrem Bericht von einem übergriffigem Freier zugehört hatte. Dann werden kurz nacheinander erst ein langjähriger Kollege, ein Gerichtsmediziner, Kimmo Joenta ist auch im dritten Roman von Jan Costin Wagners Reihe um den finnischen Kommissar noch verstört vom Tod seiner Frau Sanna. So erwartet er nicht viel vom Weihnachtsfest. Doch die Dinge entwickeln sich anders, als eine junge Prostituierte, die sich Larissa nennt, sich in sein Leben und in seine Wohnung drängt, nachdem er zuvor auf dem Revier ihrem Bericht von einem übergriffigem Freier zugehört hatte. Dann werden kurz nacheinander erst ein langjähriger Kollege, ein Gerichtsmediziner, und ein Filmpuppenbauer erstochen aufgefunden. Beide waren zu Gast in einer Talkshow bei dem Talkmaster Petteri Hämäläinen, der kurz darauf nur knapp einem Anschlag entkommt. Larissa spricht es als Erste aus: Irgend etwas in dieser Talkshow muss jemanden sehr wütend gemacht haben, so wütend, dass er oder sie diese Morde begeht. Die Ermittlungen kommen nur langsam voran, weil die möglichen Motive zahlreich und der Personenkreis der möglichen Beteiligten groß ist. Gleichzeitig erfahren wir aus der Perspektive der Täterin, was sie antreibt und welche verstörenden Erlebnisse hinter ihr liegen. Gleichzeitig löst sich Kimmo langsam aus seiner emotionalen Starre und beginnt, Anteil zu nehmen an dem Leben seiner Kollegen und sich wieder Freude im Leben zu erlauben. Parallele Erzählperspektiven sind oft spannungsfördernd, geben Einblicke und dadurch Hinweise auf Motive, die den Leser mit in die Rolle eines Ermittelnden mit Wissensvorsprung geben. In Im Winter der Löwen liegen hingegen durch die Täterperspektive die Beweggründe und Zusammenhänge offen, so dass man eher den Eindruck hat, man schaut nun nur noch zu, wie Kimmo und seine Kollegen ihre Arbeit machen, während man selbst schon Bescheid weiß. Spannend hingegen sind die Facetten von Tod und Trauer - in der Täterin und in Kimmo Joenta.

  15. 4 out of 5

    L.M. Krier

    A strange and quirky book which I found surprisingly compelling. It's set in Finland, so the character names are challenging, but that added to the atmosphere. It could so easily run to cliché with Kimmo Joentaa, the cop, a grieving widower, preparing to work over Christmas to disguise his loneliness. He has the inevitable sidekick with the gambling habit, but at least his love-life is a little unorthodox when he takes up with a prostitute whose name he doesn't really know. The chapters are short, A strange and quirky book which I found surprisingly compelling. It's set in Finland, so the character names are challenging, but that added to the atmosphere. It could so easily run to cliché with Kimmo Joentaa, the cop, a grieving widower, preparing to work over Christmas to disguise his loneliness. He has the inevitable sidekick with the gambling habit, but at least his love-life is a little unorthodox when he takes up with a prostitute whose name he doesn't really know. The chapters are short, one only two lines long, and the action jumps about a lot from present to past to somewhere in between. Some may find that intensely annoying. The storyline is a little different. Two guests on the same television chat show are murdered in rapid succession, then there's an attempt on the life of the host in Helsinki. Boundaries get a little blurred and I couldn't quite work out the police hierarchy, but that didn't seem to matter much as Kimmo was ploughing his own furrow working on initiative, not police procedure and, of course, cracking the case before the others. It's an intelligent read. The reader needs to do a bit of work to keep up with it all. Overall, I enjoyed it, although I still have difficult pinpointing exactly why, except that I did find Kimmo rather endearing and different.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I am constantly reminded whilst reading this book, of the cold, dark, Finnish winters and the relatively high depression and suicide rates in the country. This is only in part because the book is set in winter, but mainly because the style of writing highlights the loneliness and alienation of the characters. Having also read Ice Moon, it almost makes me wonder if there are any happy people in Finland at all in a wasteland of snow. Even when a pathologist is shown laughing on a tv show, his fell I am constantly reminded whilst reading this book, of the cold, dark, Finnish winters and the relatively high depression and suicide rates in the country. This is only in part because the book is set in winter, but mainly because the style of writing highlights the loneliness and alienation of the characters. Having also read Ice Moon, it almost makes me wonder if there are any happy people in Finland at all in a wasteland of snow. Even when a pathologist is shown laughing on a tv show, his fellow police colleagues are surprised to see him having a sense of humour. While a comedian on the same tv show is a very sad individual despite the jokes he tells. All this may make it an opressive read for some people but is the second of Jan Costin Wagner's books I have read and enjoyed both immensely, where murder in a detective novel takes second place to grief.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    Finnish Detective Kimmo Joentaa, still haunted by the death of his wife, lives a very isolated existence, as do most of the characters in this subtle exploration of loss and grief. He has lost his wife, his colleague has lost his money, a woman has lost her family and a TV talk show host has lost himself. Each of them moves to a different beat, but eventually they all come together in a breathtaking finale. It is a story that, while being a psychological suspense thriller, reads like a slow-moti Finnish Detective Kimmo Joentaa, still haunted by the death of his wife, lives a very isolated existence, as do most of the characters in this subtle exploration of loss and grief. He has lost his wife, his colleague has lost his money, a woman has lost her family and a TV talk show host has lost himself. Each of them moves to a different beat, but eventually they all come together in a breathtaking finale. It is a story that, while being a psychological suspense thriller, reads like a slow-motion dance. All the characters are beautifully portrayed and the sense that Kimmo is gradually moving out of his trance of grief maintains the momentum. It is a very different kind of ‘thriller’ to the violent and complex novels we often associate with crime fiction.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Curd

    An English translation of a novel about a Finnish detective written by a German author. An unlikely combination, but it works. Detective Kimmo Joentaa is preparing for another solitary Christmas after the still-recent death of his wife when a mysterious woman walks into his life. Meanwhile, Joentaa is called back to work to investigate the murder of two men linked only by their appearance on a Finnish TV talk show. The narrative regularly shifts into the mind of the un-named murderer, which was An English translation of a novel about a Finnish detective written by a German author. An unlikely combination, but it works. Detective Kimmo Joentaa is preparing for another solitary Christmas after the still-recent death of his wife when a mysterious woman walks into his life. Meanwhile, Joentaa is called back to work to investigate the murder of two men linked only by their appearance on a Finnish TV talk show. The narrative regularly shifts into the mind of the un-named murderer, which was well-handled but a bit irritating nontheless (although crucial to the build-up of tension at the climax). An enjoyable read, with the subplot of Joentaa's private life at least as interesting as the main plot.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    I do like this series. The books are relentlessly gloomy and the lead detective kimmo joentaa makes Kurt wallander look like polyanna. In the third of the series kimmo investigates the murder of two men who both have appeared on a well known chat show, a pathologist and a man who makes life size puppets for crime scenes etc. At the same time he starts a bizarre relationship with a very damaged woman. It was a good plot, the writing is succinct, and having started at book 1 I am enjoying this ver I do like this series. The books are relentlessly gloomy and the lead detective kimmo joentaa makes Kurt wallander look like polyanna. In the third of the series kimmo investigates the murder of two men who both have appeared on a well known chat show, a pathologist and a man who makes life size puppets for crime scenes etc. At the same time he starts a bizarre relationship with a very damaged woman. It was a good plot, the writing is succinct, and having started at book 1 I am enjoying this very miserable hero (what does that say about me, am I now a grumpy old man). It certainly makes me realise that so often crime novels are two hundred pages too long, anyway id recommend it but suggest start at book one first 'ice moon'.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    This is a very thoughtful, measured novel about death and grief really, rather than about crime. The author makes a good contrast between societies' response to death (superficial, ghoulish, focussed on shock value) and the effect it has on families and others immediately affected, by setting it in and around a tv chatshow. The constrast really comes through when you read this as part of a habit of reading crime novels. How many of these (other than The Killing perhaps) show convincingly that so This is a very thoughtful, measured novel about death and grief really, rather than about crime. The author makes a good contrast between societies' response to death (superficial, ghoulish, focussed on shock value) and the effect it has on families and others immediately affected, by setting it in and around a tv chatshow. The constrast really comes through when you read this as part of a habit of reading crime novels. How many of these (other than The Killing perhaps) show convincingly that someone's death from violent causes leaves everyone around them in bits? This book really brings that out, but there is a hopeful side to it which means it is not depressing to read. Wagner is also good at drawing out a thoughtful and convincing detective who is a loner but not a cliche.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jim Payette

    When I read it was a snow noir novel about a detective whose beloved wife had died, I was expecting a character even more painfully overwrought than PD James' Inspector Dalgliesh and wasn't sure I'd get through it. But the character's quirkiness and the author's light touch makes the back story an interesting insight supporting the main story of the murder investigation rather than a hovering spectre which overpowers it. The mystery itself follows some aspects of a police procedural but, again, i When I read it was a snow noir novel about a detective whose beloved wife had died, I was expecting a character even more painfully overwrought than PD James' Inspector Dalgliesh and wasn't sure I'd get through it. But the character's quirkiness and the author's light touch makes the back story an interesting insight supporting the main story of the murder investigation rather than a hovering spectre which overpowers it. The mystery itself follows some aspects of a police procedural but, again, it takes a detective who looks at things a different way to get there in the end. Lighter and faster moving than Henning Mankell but satisfying in the depth of character and plot.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 Have really gotten to like the brooding and grief stricken Kammo and the insights he manages to come up with to solve crimes. The writing style is a little different, a little choppier, but once one gets used to that the story lines are very interesting. Liked the addition is this one of the mysterious woman who comes to visit and stays. Liked the ending also which nicely wrapped up the case and gave the reader a little hint of who this woman might be. Look forward to the next one.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I was looking forward to reading this book as I enjoyed the first two so much. Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed in that I didn't like this one as much as the others. I really didn't like the illusive woman who turns up and hangs around (I was hoping she would disappear as quickly as she appeared!)But all in all I am glad I have read it now. I was looking forward to reading this book as I enjoyed the first two so much. Unfortunately I was slightly disappointed in that I didn't like this one as much as the others. I really didn't like the illusive woman who turns up and hangs around (I was hoping she would disappear as quickly as she appeared!)But all in all I am glad I have read it now.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I'm not sure if it is because it's a translation or if its just the style of writing I didn't enjoy but I just couldn't get along with this book. I felt like it was trying too hard to fit in to a genre I simply don't get. Maybe if this type of book is your thing go ahead, but for me it was a hard read. I'm not sure if it is because it's a translation or if its just the style of writing I didn't enjoy but I just couldn't get along with this book. I felt like it was trying too hard to fit in to a genre I simply don't get. Maybe if this type of book is your thing go ahead, but for me it was a hard read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This was the third book in this series, although I had not read the first one, this I felt was more enjoyable than the second book- Silence. It seemed to flow more easily and although the main character's wife was mentioned, it did not seem to slow the story down with his reminisces about her. This was the third book in this series, although I had not read the first one, this I felt was more enjoyable than the second book- Silence. It seemed to flow more easily and although the main character's wife was mentioned, it did not seem to slow the story down with his reminisces about her.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    Starts slow and languid before picking up into a most satisfying though disturbing read

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Deeply, almost ridiculously implausible, but with a thriller's pace. Puppets on a talk show provoke two murders, while a police officer romances a, prostitute, maybe? Fascinatingly weird. Deeply, almost ridiculously implausible, but with a thriller's pace. Puppets on a talk show provoke two murders, while a police officer romances a, prostitute, maybe? Fascinatingly weird.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andy Plonka

    Written in German by a German but set in Finland a highly emotional read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    J

    Very good. Somewhat sad book about grieving and grief as a motive for murder. Joentuu is a great character and I look forward to reading more by this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Anette

    4.5 stars actually http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/i... 4.5 stars actually http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/i...

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