Posted in Fiction

Helsinki Noir – Dark, Hard Hitting Crime Fiction from Finland

helsinki noirHelsinki Noir, edited by James Thompson (2014, Akashic Books) $15.95, ISBN: 9781617752414

Recommended for ages 18+

When I came across the Belfast Noir e-galley on Edelweiss, I also saw Helsinki Noir, from Akashic’s Noir series. Knowing that there’s a huge interest in Scandinavian noir, particularly thanks to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I gave it a shot. Never let it be said I don’t investigate literary trends!

Whoa. Where Belfast Noir was gritty with a touch of morbid Irish humor, Helsinki Noir is brutal, and often bleak. The stories are hard-hitting, often vicious, and leave you feeling wounded when you’re done. Crime fans, gird yourselves – these 14 stories take no prisoners. Split into three parts: Deep Cuts, Broken Blades, and Winds of Violence, each author seeks to peel back the bright surface of Helsinki’s streets to show readers a darker reflection of a city we often hear only the best of: their strong economy, their health care, their low crime rate.

As with Belfast Noir, shelve this with the grown-up books – this one’s not for younger readers. But by all means, shelve it, and look at more of Akashic’s Noir series. Mystery and true crime readers will appreciate the styles from all over the world, and embrace the darkness that every culture shares – no matter how hard they try to hide it.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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