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Behind God's Back by Harri Nykänen

Behind God's Back

by Harri Nykänen, Kristian London (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Ariel Kafka (2)

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281389,858 (3.55)3



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For me, this thriller was just compelling enough to finish -- it did not live up to its interesting premise. It's set in Finland, but most of the characters are members of Finland's small Jewish community, including the detective who tells the story. That leaves room for conflicted loyalties, complex motives, cultural ambiguities -- all those things that can lend depth and interest to a thriller. The depth is pretty shallow, however, and the interest was just enough to keep me reading to the end. There's little Finnishness about the book (the main thing we hear about the country is that it is cold) There's a bit more Jewishness, and some sense of what it's like to operate in a very small community where everybody knows everybody. But if this causes the detective any conflict, it's not obvious. And the motivating force in the story isn't really character, it's far-away machinations by business people and politicians. At some point I may read the first story in the series, but I'm not in any rush. Would be give it two stars, except for the strongish characterization. ( )
  annbury | Jan 9, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harri Nykänenprimary authorall editionscalculated
London, KristianTranslatormain authorall editionsconfirmed
London, KristianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There are two Jewish cops in all of Helsinki. One of them, Ariel Kafka, a lieutenant in the Violent Crime Unit, identifies himself as a policeman first, then a Finn, and lastly a Jew. He's willing to risk his career to get an answer. Murky circumstances surround his investigation of a Jewish businessman's murder. Neo-Nazi violence, intergenerational intrigue, shady loans-- predictable lines of investigation lead to unpredictable culprits. But a second killing strikes closer to home, and the Finnish Security Police come knocking. The tentacles of Israeli politics and Mossad reach surprisingly far, once again wrapping Kafka in their sticky embrace.… (more)

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