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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jan Costin Wagner - Ice Moon
Kimmo Joentaa sits distraught by his bedside as his wife quietly passes away, victim of a long illness. After several days of mourning, despite the misgivings of his superiors (he is still visibly affected), Joentaa finally returns to work at Finland CID, and finds himself involved in a most eerie murder enquiry. A woman has been smothered in her sleep, and hers is not to...
Published on 7 Feb 2006 by RachelWalker

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moody Finnish police procedural
Because the German writer Jan Costin Wagner's wife is Finnish, the couple spend some time every year in Finland, that melancholy country of wood, despair and loneliness. This lends considerable authenticity - as far as I can make out (I might be falling into a stereotypical trap that I am unaware of) - to the descriptions of the town in which the grieving policeman Kimmo...
Published on 17 Mar 2009 by Feanor


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jan Costin Wagner - Ice Moon, 7 Feb 2006
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
Kimmo Joentaa sits distraught by his bedside as his wife quietly passes away, victim of a long illness. After several days of mourning, despite the misgivings of his superiors (he is still visibly affected), Joentaa finally returns to work at Finland CID, and finds himself involved in a most eerie murder enquiry. A woman has been smothered in her sleep, and hers is not to be the first suspicious death by such chillingly tranquil and bloodless means. The young policeman, still riven with his own grief and new loneliness, finds a strange attraction in this case of quiet, gentle killing, and begins to feel a bizarre affinity for this killer. An affinity, he hopes, that will help Joentaa catch him.
Ice Moon, second novel from German Jan Costin Wagner (though set in Finland), is one of the most unusual I’ve read in a while. It consists of a split narrative – chapters from the policeman, chapters from the killer – which is a decidedly tricky conceit to pull off successfully, but Wagner certainly does it here. Some of the time spent in the mind of the bizarre killer is admittedly rather weird, but as a device Wagner uses these asides to crank up suspense far more effectively than many writers do – by tracking the killers movements, we see how close to police come to catching their man. There are several classic suspenseful “he’s behind you” (or rather, he’s right in front of you!) moments, though – and this hardly needs saying - Wagner obviously does these far more subtly and powerfully than as if they were some raucous pantomime vignette.
This is by no means a conventional kind of crime novel – there’s little aspect of “whodunnit” (we know perfectly well) – but what it is a suspenseful rumination on the nature of death. You’d think this would be pretty much usual fare for a crime novel, but not so: many crime novels tend to talk about death in a relatively off-hand way, tossing out clichés and platitudes left right and centre, but Ice Moon really seems to go right to the heart of the thing which makes a murder investigation: death, the act of someone dying. I can’t recall reading a crime novel that has come so close to looking at the actual mystery of dying before, and it’s a little unsettling to me (to think this isn’t done more often, I mean). It’s a very sensitive examination, an incredibly moving piece of work. The protagonist, Kimmo Joentaa, is superbly written and rendered, a marvellous character, and his reaction to his wife’s death is done powerfully and hauntingly.
Overall, it’s a sensitively written piece of literature, and a suspenseful and enjoyable crime novel. The symbolic nature of the final events (I can’t explain more for fear of spoiling) originally had me raising my eyebrows, before thinking, “actually, that’s a little bit brilliant”. Wagner is clearly a crime writer with a lot of talent, and a nice slice of ambition to go with it, ambition to perhaps do different things with the genre, which I tend to admire above all things. Once again, more please.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reactions to death wrapped up in serial killer hunt., 19 Mar 2010
This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
This is a serial killer hunt without the almost ubiquitous ' must catch him before he kills someone else' just before they do , which is refreshing . The writing style conveys a thoughtfull , brooding quality to the tale , as it does to the main protagonist .Jan wagner has a good understanding of grief , realistically embodied by Kimmo Joentaa the detective himself bereaved. Interpersonal encounters are understated , even when violent.
Finland provides a suitable backdrop , and although I attempt to pronounce the alien-looking place names as I have been to several of them , there are not so many as to irritate or confuse the average reader.
It can be read as man's varying reactions to death , if one wants to step back from the storyline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime novel about a grieving policeman - sad and telling, 22 Feb 2011
By 
Maxine Clarke "Maxine of Petrona" (Kingston upon Thames, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
The main strength of this excellent book is the character study of Kimmo Joentaa, a young police detective trying to come to terms with the death of his even younger wife from Hodgkin's lymphoma. Returning to work after this sad event, Kimmo is confronted with the case of a woman who has been suffocated in her sleep. As he and his colleagues investigate the crime, he sees parallels with the dead woman's life and that of his own wife.
There isn't much of a mystery to the book. The murderer is revealed to the reader fairly early on, and although the author can't entirely rise above the "mind of the murderer" genre cliche, this aspect is handled better than many other books purporting to provide motivation and insights into the criminal mind.
Two more murders follow, and Kimmo, in his vulnerable and inconsolable state, becomes more and more in tune with the victims' lives and families. His investigation is a mix of the police procedural and of acting on instinct: at one point he impulsively goes to visit a witness in Sweden rather than turning up to work, mainly because he believes he can talk to this woman about his wife's death. Later on, Kimmo makes a German witness fly to Finland to be with him in his house, an experience that provides both men with some insights about themselves and their respective futures.
The story of Kimmo's thoughts and memories of his wife, and of his attempts to connect with family and friends, form the backbone of this haunting book. In a kind of merging of mourning, Kimmo's identity with the three cases eventually enables him to understand who the murderer is in a flash of insight: the question then is finding him and bringing him to justice.
Kimmo's boss, Ketola, is a great character. Kimmo and he have never spoken about personal issues before the book opens, and Kimmo has no idea what his boss thinks of him, if anything, on a professional level. During the course of the story Ketola loses it in various unpredictable and even comic ways, by the end of the book becoming a defined character in his own right. I very much hope we'll read more in future, both about Kimmo Joentaa and his irascible yet surprisingly sympathetic boss.
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4.0 out of 5 stars an very gentle thriller, 25 May 2012
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This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
this a very gentle thriller. i found it very moving and sad. i really did enjoy it as it is so well written. i will definately read another one of his books.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Moody Finnish police procedural, 17 Mar 2009
By 
Feanor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Ice Moon (Paperback)
Because the German writer Jan Costin Wagner's wife is Finnish, the couple spend some time every year in Finland, that melancholy country of wood, despair and loneliness. This lends considerable authenticity - as far as I can make out (I might be falling into a stereotypical trap that I am unaware of) - to the descriptions of the town in which the grieving policeman Kimmo Joentaa lives and works. In Ice Moon, he has lost his beloved wife and is barely able to function, every day sinking deeper into his agony. When a series of murders occur, he finds himself able to empathise with the killer, seeing in him a kindred lost soul. The perp is revealed early and the novel then progresses with a sort of 'understand the mind of the killer' motive. Overall, a rather weak psychological study, I thought. The translation, sadly, does not help. It is clumsy and the prose reads ploddingly, a problem I have found with some other Scandinavian fiction.
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Ice Moon
Ice Moon by Jan Costin Wagner (Paperback - 7 Dec 2006)
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