NIGHTS OF AWE
Written by Harri Nykanen
Review written by Russell James
Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
Bitter Lemon Press
Released: 17th February 2012
‘God alone knew where and why this gadfly had drifted around the earth in the period between his birth and his death, in other words approximately fifty years. I knew a piece here and a fragment there, but as a policeman I just wanted an answer to one question: who killed him?’
Hardly the prose style we have come to associate with Scandinavian crime thrillers, and rightly so, since this story is unlike most of those bleak stories. This is an Ariel Kafka story, set in Helsinki, in which Kafka, the city’s only Jewish cop, struggles to keep hold of an investigation into a series of murders perpetrated on and perhaps by local Muslims. But isn’t Mossad involved too? Pressure on Kafka therefore comes not only from the force and politicians (how disinterested can he be?) but from leaders of the Finnish Jewish community. Bad enough that, as a Jew, he should be a cop (‘the pay’s lousy’) but might he probe deeper than he ought into Jewish (for which read Israeli) politics? An entertaining read, though you may struggle to keep up with all the characters and complications.