Friday, 3 November 2017

As White As Snow by Salla Simukka

As White As Snow by Salla Simukka
First published in Finnish in Finland by Tammi Publishers in 2013. English language translation by Owen F Witesman published in the UK by Hot Key Books in 2015.

One of my WorldReads from Finland

Where to buy this book:

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lumikki Andersson may be innocent, but she's no Snow White . . . Three and a half months have passed since Lumikki was left for dead in a snowdrift, a bullet wound in her thigh and frostbite creeping into her skin. But the scorchingly hot streets of Prague in summer provide a welcome contrast to that terrifying time, and now Lumikki just wants to move on - forget the events of the past year - and escape her parent's oppressive concern. She's alone again, which is just how she likes it.

But Lumikki's peaceful solitude is about to be shattered. She is approached on the street by a nervous young woman, who, unbelievably, thinks she might be Lumikki's long-lost sister. Lumikki is unconvinced - although Lenka's story seems to ring true, there's something weird about her. Something jumpy, and suspicious. And it turns out Lumikki is right to be wary, as Lenka is part of a dangerous religious cult. On the run for her life again, Lumikki must once more draw on her all her powers of resolve and strength if she is to survive.

Contrary to the statement on this book's cover, I think fans of Nesbo and Larssen would be disappointed in As White As Snow because this novel is very much a young adult version of the Nordic crime thriller. That aside though, I did enjoy reading this book. It has a good sense of pace - slow to start with lots of detail, then speeding up to positively breathtaking by the end. Simukka does a great job of evoking her Prague city setting as well. I visited there for the first time a couple of months ago and the experience stood me in good stead for envisaging locations such as the funicular railway, Prague Castle, and the Charles Bridge chase.

I didn't particularly warm to Lumikki. For someone so psychologically damaged I felt she chose to believe to easily, but her antics stayed just the right side of plausible. Her awkward family relationships are interestingly portrayed and I am intrigued to know how this will pan out in the third book of the trilogy. (I should probably go back and read the first too!) Lenka's behaviour is fascinating and The Family atmosphere is suitably menacing.

As White As Snow was a good holiday-style novel for me. It doesn't have any strongly challenging themes, but was complex enough to keep me happily engrossed for an afternoon and I look forward to reading more of Simukka's novels in the future.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Salla Simukka / Thrillers / Books from Finland

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