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HELSINKI (AP) — In the doorway of a Helsinki bar on a snowy December afternoon, American author James Thompson is being offered a pair of Russian army night vision goggles that may — or may not — have fallen off the back of a truck.
The author, a Kentucky native who’s lived in Finland for the past 15 years, has recently signed a new deal with publisher Putnam that puts his Inspector Kari Vaara series in U.S. bookstores through 2015.
Thompson buys the goggles and the vendor shuffles off into the snow. It’s the sort of deal in the sort of neighborhood that Vaara would approve of, and it’s somewhat apropos that the Hilarious Pike bar is a regular haunt of both the writer and the fictional cop.
Thompson’s style is on the dark end of the “Nordic Noir” spectrum. The genre — with its stark and often violent police procedurals — has proved wildly successful for publishers and filmmakers alike.
The marquee names have come from Sweden — think Stieg Larsson’s “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” or Henning Mankell’s “Wallander” series — but Norway’s Jo Nesbo and Iceland’s Arnaldur Indridason and Yrsa Sigurdardottir have also made their mark with international readers.
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