Inspector Kari Vaara, has been asked by Jyri Ivalo, the National Chief of Police, to run a black ops unit. Inspector Vaara, a national hero for solving previous high profile cases, can do no wrong. Vaara takes on criminals dealing with drugs, money and guns with the help of Milo and Sweetness, both of whom he can barely control. While dealing with excruciating headaches, he learns he has a brain tumor which must be operated on immediately. His American wife Kate and new daughter, Anu, offers an escape from the illicit crimes, Vaara and his cohorts take on for the benefit of the politicians who want kickbacks from all the money the black ops group has stolen. Because Finland has such a pure reputation, no one would believe that a black ops team is even possible or that corruption could be so widespread among the highest levels of government.
The operation for the brain tumor is deemed a success, but Vaara has lost all sense of emotion when dealing with his family or the dirty jobs Juri Ivalo expects him to do. His wife Kate has reservations over this new life they are immersed in and feels nothing good can come of being situated between the criminals and the national police.
Third in the series, Helsinki White is darker than the previous Inspector Vaara mysteries and the characters and situations have also taken on a darker cast.