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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
As White as Snow
by Salla Simukka
Age Range: 14+
Seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson is recovering in Prague from her recent brush with death back home in Finland after she unwittingly became embroiled in the murky Finnish underworld ( As Red as Blood). She is also nursing a broken heart after splitting up with her boyfriend Blaze.
On a scorching hot day Lumikki is enjoying being alone again, which is exactly the way she likes it. When a nervous young Czech woman called Lenka approaches her, claiming to be her half-sister, Lumikki’s peaceful solitude is shattered. Lumikki needs to find out more before she can be sure Lenka is telling the truth. After encountering Lenka’s ‘strange’ family and coming into contact with a journalist who is investigating a cult called 'The White Family', Lumikki finds herself fighting for her life again. Only this time it is not only her life that is in danger but possibly her new half-sister’s too.
This is the second volume in the stunning thriller sequence from acclaimed Finnish crime writer Salle Simukka. Just like As Red as Blood it has a fast paced story; one that once started can't be put down. It also has all the key ingredients of a thriller intertwined around a topical subject of dangerous cults and their distorted view of the world. Although not the mainstay of the book, Simukku seamlessly introduces a transgender character as part of Lumikki's back story which is both subtle and sensitively done.
Simukka's writing continues to be exceptionally atmospheric in this second book, weaving the tightly crafted main story with a sub text of Lumikki's past as well as her tortured relationship with ex-boyfriend Blaze. The excellent translation by Owen F. Witesman has captured all the tension in the story as it evolves and together with the lovely descriptive prose – in As Red as Blood it was the freezing, relentless Finnish winter but in As White as Snow it is the searing heat of summer – make this a novel not to be missed.