Akashic Noir Series: Helsinki Noir


Festive Tasks Master Update Post HERE

Festive Tasks, Door 6 – Color(s), Book: Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% red or green.

Ugh.  I thought I’d seen the most cynically sordid that Scandi-noir is able to produce after I’d read Jo Nesbø and Arnaldur Indriðason, but some of the stories in this volume even beat their output.  And although Finnish winters are long and dreary, and among the lesser-known facts about Finland is that both alcoholism and suicides are more of a problem there than in other European countries, I’d still want to take issue with editor James Thompson’s words in the book’s introduction:

“Finland is a noir nation […] Every word [of this anthology] rings true. It holds Finland up in a way that […] acts as a mirror that reflects its people and culture in a way every Finn will recognize, vocalizing those truths that are so seldom spoken here amongst ourselves.”

That assessment may be true for the Finland presented in this anthology, but it manifestly does not do justice to the country I’ve come to know as a visitor, nor to the generous and genuinely warm-hearted Finns I’ve come to know.

And while I can’t deny the quality of the writing represented here — and even if this is part of a series of noir anthologies — I still hope in terms of outlook on life if nothing else, this is, contrary to Thompson’s words (again in the introduction), not the best that Finland has to offer in crime writing.  These stories in their soulless bleakness alone are enough to make you despair of humanity and want to put an end to your life — and take every single character from this book along with you.

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