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
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.
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.
Praise for The Torso
“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.
"These days Scandinavian crime writers are thick on the ground . . . It's nice to see that the women can be just as bloodthirsty as the men."
—The New York Times Book Review
“[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.”
—The Baltimore Sun
"A fascinating glimpse of cultural dynamics in Scandinavia, this is an absorbing, character-driven series . . . The writing is spare, vivid and atmospheric. This is a series for readers who like procedurals with a strong psychological component."
“Outstanding . . . Smart and intuitive, Huss is a fully realized character . . . Vivid writing, strong sense of place, distinctive characters and steady pace.”
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“Spins a good story . . . this is a solid police procedural.”