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Crime fiction


End of Story

Peter Abrahams

The Torso

Helene Tursten

Soho Press / 352 pages / $24

At first glance, this novel might make many readers blush - the titular discovery is described in gruesome detail, and the plot eventually encompasses weird sexual practices, cannibalism and graphic description. But Tursten's second novel in English (after 2002's Detective Inspector Huss) is less concerned with shock value than with solid police procedure, character development and motivation, and how one woman's actions affect the lives of many others. Said woman is Irene Huss, who juggles her career in Sweden's Violent Crimes Unit with her family, including raising two talented teenagers. But when an amputated torso washes up on the beach in Goteborg, and the crime is soon linked to a similar case in Denmark, Huss travels back and forth between the two countries to determine what happened. Additional murders, as well as the problems befalling her colleagues Hannu and Jonny, threaten Huss' ability to investigate - especially when it appears the suspect might be tracking her every move.

Though The Torso starts off somewhat leisurely, Tursten balances Huss' professional and personal pursuits well enough to elevate this novel to one of the better examples of the Swedish crime fiction invasion.

Sarah Weinman reviews crime fiction monthly for The Sun. Visit her at

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