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James Thompson wrote the extremely popular Kari Vaara series.JIM THOMPSON, the writer of the popular Kari Vaara series of crime novels, has died. He was born in 1964 in the state of Kentucky in the United States.

Thompson moved to Finland in 1998 where he earned a Master's degree in English Philology from the University of Helsinki. He was working at a bartender when he was discovered by Jaakko Pie-
tiläinen at Sanoma, which led to a three book deal with the Sanoma imprint Johnny Kniga. Although Thompson wrote in English, he was translated into Finnish and marketed as a Finnish writer for his first book Jerusalemin Veri (The Blood of Jerusalem), which was published in 2008.

That same year Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was published in English, ushering in a great global demand for Nordic noir. Thompson was immediately signed by legendary New York literary agent Nat Sobel, who went on to sell Thompson to dozens of publishers around the world. Jim Thompson was marketed internationally as James Thompson to avoid confusion with the popular noir writer of the same name.

Thompson's first book in the new series was 2010's Snow Angels, a dark, violent book which explored racism in Finland and followed a tough protagonist, detective Kari Vaara. Snow Angels was enormously successful, being optioned for a movie, nominated for the prestigious Edgar Award and selling some 100,000 copies in Germany alone.

Three more books in the Vaara series followed: Lucifer's Tears (2011), Helsinki White (2012) and Helsinki Blood (2013). The fifth book, Helsinki Dead, was set for release this year but its status is unknown. Thompson also contributed to Helsinki Noir, an anthology of short crime stories which is scheduled for publication this November.

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DAVID CORD
HELSINKI TIMES
Image: James Thompson

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