Monday, December 8, 2014

Helsinki Noir edited by James Thompson

I love short stories.  They are succinct, stick to the facts and, with the right words, can mess with your head in just a few short pages.  That reasoning made me read Helsinki Noir.  I also leaned this way because my last name is Hakola and my husband probably has some relatives living in Helsinki.  I hope none of them are living the life of crime as many in these stories do!

Akashic Books sent me a copy of this book for review (thank you).  It has been published, so check with your local bookstore for a copy.

I was relieved to find that these stories were not as dark and mean as the Belfast Noir was.  They're still rough and live up to Noir standards (take no prisoners, leave no witnesses) but they have a lighter feel about them and several of the stories were about righting wrongs.  The Kiss of Santa by Leena Lehtolainen is a good example of that.

What impressed me most was how many of these stories had women as their lead characters.  The Finnish people I know here in the states believe a woman has a place and it's not at the head of the line.  Either Finland has gotten over this attitude or I haven't met enough Finns yet. I really enjoyed having both men and woman lead characters; it added to the stories.

This is a good collection of all kinds of stories.  They're very readable and while they give you some things to think about, they don't depress you.  This book was a bit like eating cookies:  Read one story, set it down and do something else.  Then come back and read another story and repeat.  That gives you time to savor the stories and you'll want to do that.  You can even have a cookie if you want to.

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