The Torso
Helene Tursten
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Buy *The Torso* by Helene Tursten online

The Torso
Helene Tursten
Soho Crime
352 pages
April 2007
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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Swedish author Helen Tursten’s amazing second novel, The Torso, is a police procedural featuring Irene Huss of the Göteborg Violent Crimes Unit. The follow up to her 2003 novel Detective Inspector Huss, Tursten’s atmospheric thriller starts with a woman playing fetch with her dog on the beach until she makes a grisly discovery:

“She gripped the scuff of his neck firmly. He growled and refused to let go of the contents of the sack. Summoning all her strength, she managed to lift the hindquarters and twist his body so that his back faced the waters surface and his legs stuck up toward the steel blue sky. The he finally let go. Whimpering, he jumped into the water. Only his head remained above the surface. She quickly used one hand to push hard against his throat and with the other she got an iron grip on one of his front legs. She looked her dog straight in the eye the whole time, a low sound rising from her chest. He growled angrily again, and stared back, red-eyed. He finally quieted and looked to the side, to show that he was giving up. Slowly, she released him. It wasn’t until then that she glanced through the hole in the sack. At first she thought what she saw looked like the mark of a branding iron. She realized a second later that it was a tattoo.”
The book’s strength is obviously the character of Irene Huss working in the male-dominated society of police work. The Torso also shows the dark underbelly of mainstream Swedish society. This is a grisly police procedural, murder for sexual gratification of mutilating bodies and others. Tursten also does a fantastic job of vividly describing not only the physical area of Copenhagen but of social dynamics within that society. Overall, a compelling, and satisfying read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Bobby Blades, 2006

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