The Torso (Inspector Irene Huss Series #2)

( 12 )

Overview

“The scenes in which Huss tracks her killer through the underbelly of Copenhagen are as good as Louise Welsh’s similarly creepy tour of Glasgow in The Cutting Room.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[Tursten] is a master at setting the scene, detailing a foreign milieu until it feels familiar. She juggles a large cast of characters with aplomb.”—Time Out Chicago

“One of the better examples of the Swedish crime fiction ...

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The Torso (Inspector Irene Huss Series #2)

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Overview

“The scenes in which Huss tracks her killer through the underbelly of Copenhagen are as good as Louise Welsh’s similarly creepy tour of Glasgow in The Cutting Room.”—Entertainment Weekly

“[Tursten] is a master at setting the scene, detailing a foreign milieu until it feels familiar. She juggles a large cast of characters with aplomb.”—Time Out Chicago

“One of the better examples of the Swedish crime fiction invasion.”—Baltimore Sun

“Outstanding.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Spins a good story . . . this is a solid police procedural.”—Library Journal

Part of a human torso washes up on a beach near Göteborg, Sweden. It is so mutilated that gender is only established by DNA testing. A similar crime, now several years old, remains unsolved in Denmark. Detective Inspector Irene Huss is dispatched to Copenhagen to liaise with police. Then a third corpse is discovered. This time it’s identified. It is a girl Detective Huss knew; she had been asked by the girl’s mother to locate her missing daughter. A fourth victim, the son of a woman heading the Copenhagen crime squad, is also known to Huss. She fears the killer is tracking her, killing people with whom she is connected. There is even a chilling suggestion that he or she is one of her colleagues.

Helene Tursten has been compared to P.D. James in her native Sweden. Her Irene Huss mysteries have been highly praised. She lives in Göteborg, where she was born in 1954.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
With an artistic tattoo the only means of identifying the torso, the cops head for Copenhagen, where you can still get a really cool tattoo and where Huss makes an ally of the 500-pound retired sumo wrestler who owns the best-stocked gay sex store in the city. But the best interplay here is between the Swedish cops and their Danish counterparts, whose attitudes about the wide-open sex market in "Sin Central" (drawn with a certain relish in Katarina E. Tucker's translation) say a lot about their national character.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
In Swedish author Tursten's outstanding second police procedural to feature Irene Huss of the G teborg Violent Crimes Unit (after 2003's Detective Inspector Huss), the discovery of a dismembered corpse initiates a frustrating chase for a wily serial killer. The trail leads to Copenhagen, where Huss realizes the same murderer committed a similar horrific crime. After several more deaths, the complex investigation reaches a frightening climax and stunning conclusion. Smart and intuitive, Huss is a fully realized character, whose demanding job often collides with obligations to her chef husband, twin teenage daughters and wandering terrier. While the locales and sensibilities resemble those of such other Scandinavian writers as Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum, the private lives, work habits and personal quirks of Huss's colleagues are as individual as those of the cops in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct. Some readers may be put off by the gruesome crime scene descriptions, but all will relish the vivid writing, strong sense of place, distinctive characters and steady pace. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The eponymous heroine of Tursten's debut mystery, Detective Inspector Huss (2003), and her beset colleagues of the Goteborg Violent Crimes Unit are up to their necks in mutilated corpses. The torso discovered on a lovely local Swedish beach is so horribly cut and slashed that it extends only from the neck to the waist. On one shoulder, however, there's a possible identifying mark: a skillfully rendered dragon tattoo. It's this that provides DI Huss with her first worthwhile lead, directing her to Copenhagen, where the Danish cops point her to a sex-shop proprietor who's appropriated the gorgeous dragon for his own purposes. The Danish police are only too happy to participate as the investigation intensifies. Soon there's a cluster of mutilated corpses in both cities, obviously the work of a particularly sadistic serial killer. And soon enough, it becomes equally clear to Huss that she's been singled out for special attention. So she's worried. But 40-something Huss, a career woman in a man's world and the hard-pressed mother of adolescent twin daughters, is used to feeling worried while getting on with the business at hand. Though they take dietary issues much more seriously than their U.S. counterparts-Irene is married to a master chef-these brisk, professional and entertaining Scandinavians would feel right at home in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569474532
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Series: Inspector Irene Huss Series , #2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 176,771
  • Product dimensions: 5.02 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Helene Tursten has been compared to P.D. James in her native Sweden. Her Irene Huss mysteries have been highly praised and they have been made into a film and a TV series. Tursten was a nurse and a dentist before she turned to writing. She was born in Göteborg where she now lives with her husband and daughter.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    There are so many things I liked about this...starting with the heroine

    I do love the Scandinavians, and this one was not nearly as bleak as the type trends, despite the really rather grisly premise of this mystery. You can guess the killer's MO from the title. The writing is fine, and the main character terrifically likeable and mentally whole, unlike many of the popular police inspectors introduced in many mysteries today. I was loving the experience of reading about Göteborg and Copenhagen and was liking the characterizations, but a false note was introduced late in the story and it was so discordant that I started to look at the book more critically.

    This being a life-and-death story, one simply must trust the main character, in this case, Police Inspector Irene Huss, will make reasonable judgements regarding the investigation of a murderer. I did notice that even as the body count was rising precipitously (and perhaps preposterously), the detectives would go home every night and eat on time at nice pubs. This may just be a cultural habit, which I find more interesting than something to be critical about, coming from a culture where work is more important than any bodily function or relationship. But at one point Police Inspector Huss does not warn a potential victim about his safety, and at another point allows her daughters to travel alone on an overnight when the killer is actually stalking her and her family. Since death, and a very grisly death indeed, is the probable outcome of a mistake at this point in the story, I find it hard to believe that such a reasonable person as Irene Huss has proven herself to be would make this kind of choice. Unfortunately, Tursten then became for me just an ordinary writer instead of a magician. But I do like her main chancter enough to make another attempt.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 8, 2011

    Thumbs Up

    I give it a solid "B" on an A thru F scale. Pluses: Written in an easy-to-read style. The central character was likeable and fully fleshed out and the murders were truly gruesome. There were enough plot twists to throw me off a little and I wasn't 100% certain where the story was going at one point (which is a good thing). Minuses: Where it faltered a bit was the pacing. I could've used a lot less description of drinks, meals and weather--which took up 50 pages or so. All in all, a good read. Would likely make a fantastic movie.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2013

    Good

    Good story, awful translation.

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