James Thompson

james_thompsonWe’re very sorry to tell you that acclaimed noir author and ARLA client James Thompson has died. Even though his work was extremely dark, by examining the bleakest aspects of society, he aimed to give a voice to the voiceless and make the world a brighter place. He will be missed. 

The obituary from Putnam, his US publisher, is after the jump. 

James Thompson, the Edgar-nominated author of the Inspector Kari Vaara novels, died on August 2, 2014. He was forty-nine years old.

James Thompson was born and raised in eastern Kentucky and lived in Finland since 1998.  Before becoming a full-time writer, he earned his master’s degree in English philology, studied Finnish—in which he is fluent—and Swedish, and worked as a bartender, bouncer, construction worker, and soldier.  He is survived by his wife Annukka and his son Christopher.

Thompson’s debut novel, Snow Angels (2010), was nominated for the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Strand Magazine Critics award and was selected as a Booklist Best Crime Novel Debut of the Year. His other works include Lucifer’s Tears (2011), Helsinki White (2012), and Helsinki Blood (2013).  He also edited Helsinki Noir, part of the original noir anthology series from Akashic Books, which will be published in November this year.  Thompson’s most recent novel, Helsinki Dead, was scheduled for publication in 2015.

James Thompson was considered to be one of the “top Nordic crime writers” (New York Post) and was frequently applauded both for his ability to tightly weave multiple plotlines into a captivating story and for shining light on the darkest aspects of Nordic life, history, and politics. His protagonist Inspector Kari was praised as “a hero as dyspeptic as Kurt Wallender and as prone to vigilante justice as Harry Hole”. (Kirkus)

Leighton Gage, author of Blood of the Wicked, said it best, “No one writes noir better, Nordic or otherwise.”


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