This is the follow-up to SNOW ANGELS featuring Inspector Kari Vaara. It is set in Finland and seeing that it is 100 degrees here in Chicago now, it was refreshing to read about 20 degree below zero weather. A woman is tortured and murdered and the main suspect is the man covered in blood lying next to her. But Kari isn't so sure since both the victim and her lover, Rein Saar, had a taser used on them. Kari turns his attention to the victim's husband who is having an affair with his secretary, but Ivan Filippov is well-connected with the city's movers and shakers and Kari's boss is eager for Rein Saar to be the sacrificial lamb. When Kari discovers Iisa Filippov engaged in a lot of S&M with numerous men and filmed it, he begins to wonder which of the movers and shakers might be on film. As if having a wife (Kate) due any week and her relatives visiting, including a brother John who is a little reckless isn't enough, Kari is asked to investigate one of Finland's national heroes to clear up any perception that Finland had anything to do with the murder of Communists and Jews during WWII. In his investigation Kari learns his own grandfather might have been part of it. Toss in a young partner who is trigger happy and Kari has his hands full.
Like its predecessor, LUCIFER'S TEARS is not for the faint at heart. It is brutal, graphic, a lot of sexual content, but it is riveting and thought provoking. Just learning about Finland is a treat. For one thing, Kari's brother is a neurologist and wants Kari to have an MRI to find out why he is having so many migraines. In Finland it takes nine months before you can get an MRI. As Kari's brother says, "you could die while you wait." When John confesses he lost his teaching job back home for sleeping with a student, Kari says he should have worked at a Finnish university because you can sleep with your students. Pregnant women in Finland also receive a "maternity package" from the government or 400 euros to buy baby things. The maternity package includes clothes, snowsuit, hats, mittens, socks, diapers, etc. And you can keep the box it came in as a crib until you can buy a proper one. When John learns every maternity package contains the same items he is surprised every kid would be dressed the same for their first year. He says "That sounds like something Chairman Mao would have thought of." The government will also pay women to stay home with their baby for the first nine months. Society doesn't consider a woman a good mother if she doesn't spend at least three months at home with her baby. Out of curiosity I looked up the tax rate in Finland. It is 46% plus a value added tax of 23%. You will notice when reading both books that the citizens, at least the men, do a LOT of drinking.