The Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
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.

The Torso (Inspector Huss #3) Details

TitleThe Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 1st, 2007
PublisherSoho Crime
ISBN-139781569474532
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Crime, Detective, Cultural, Sweden, Thriller, Suspense, European Literature, Scandinavian Literature, Mystery Thriller, Hard Boiled

The Torso (Inspector Huss #3) Review

  • Jim Coughenour
    January 1, 1970
    Last May I was lucky enough to hear Helene Tursten when she visited San Francisco (in the company of Hakan Nesser, Kjell Eriksson and Inger Frimansson), reading from her most recently translated novel, The Glass Devil.I highly recommend her well-plotted policiers, enjoyable especially because her star detective is a unpretentious policewoman, a happily-married wife and mother without any of the barbed dysfunction of DS Jane Tennison, but with Tennison's drive and intelligence. (Don't get me wron Last May I was lucky enough to hear Helene Tursten when she visited San Francisco (in the company of Hakan Nesser, Kjell Eriksson and Inger Frimansson), reading from her most recently translated novel, The Glass Devil.I highly recommend her well-plotted policiers, enjoyable especially because her star detective is a unpretentious policewoman, a happily-married wife and mother without any of the barbed dysfunction of DS Jane Tennison, but with Tennison's drive and intelligence. (Don't get me wrong: I can't get enough of Tennison's dysfunctions, especially as portrayed by Helen Mirren!)The Torso is my favorite of the three books translated so far. Completely satisfying.
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  • LJ
    January 1, 1970
    First sentence: The wind gave no warning of the ghastly discovery.Only the torso of a body is found on a beach in Sweden. The only way to even identify the gender is through DNA testing. Irene Hess and her team discover there was a similar crime, still unsolved, in Denmark. The mother of a girl Hess knew is missing in Denmark and is found to be the third victim, although not as completely mutilated. With the fourth victim, Hess fears the killings are somehow related to her. Hass is a very descri First sentence: The wind gave no warning of the ghastly discovery.Only the torso of a body is found on a beach in Sweden. The only way to even identify the gender is through DNA testing. Irene Hess and her team discover there was a similar crime, still unsolved, in Denmark. The mother of a girl Hess knew is missing in Denmark and is found to be the third victim, although not as completely mutilated. With the fourth victim, Hess fears the killings are somehow related to her. Hass is a very descriptive writer and very good at setting a scene. This is particularly helpful with a foreign setting to which readers may never have been. One thing very much appreciated is that all the money, weights, distances, etc., were converted in footnotes, for American readers. From the outset, we are introduced to Irene and her team--and doesn’t every team have that one, obnoxious member. It’s a nice individuality that Irene’s boss refers to the morning meeting as “morning prayers.” It is also a pleasure to have a DI with a supportive husband, two teen-aged daughters and dog Sammie; a normal family life. Thursden is very good at balancing the different aspects of the story and even includes several delicious meals prepared by her chef husband. There is a wonderful mix of personalities to the characters, particularly that of Tom Tanaka, a sex-shop owner who knew one of the victims. Some of the characters also provide red herrings for the story. One thing that is clear is the much more open attitude toward sex in Denmark than in other countries. Their laissez-faire approach did surprise me. One does notice a certain fixation on eating and never missing a weekend. The police never seem to miss a meal, even in the middle of an investigation. It’s very much food-first; and no fast food here…”All of them chose tender ox rolls in a divine cream sauce, black currant jelly, and a large helping of early spring greens. Everyone had beer.”The forensic information is fascinating. The tension builds with each chapter and it is not a book one is inclined to set aside. One wants to keep going and see where the trail leads. There is tremendous attention paid to the details in every aspect, but it the case or people’s personal lives. One criticism would be that there is tremendous building up to the end, and then it just…ends.“The Torso” is gruesome, but not gratuitously so. However, It is a thoroughly engrossing, true follow-the-leads police procedural. THE TORSO (Pol Proc-DCI Irene Huss-Sweden/Denmark-Contemp) – VGTursten, Helene – 3rd in seriesSoho Crime – April 2007
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  • Sandi
    January 1, 1970
    While the crimes in this book were a bit too grisly for my taste I did find this to be a worthwhile read. I like the main character, her co-workers and her family drama which was a nice contrast to the horrific crimes that were depicted.
  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    According to Goodreads this is Inspector Huss #3 but according to bookseriesinorder.com this is the second book in the series. Second or third, it doesn't matter, it's a good read. If I were a Christian I would be worried about going to hell because of my sin of gluttony. I am a glutton for books. So many books, so little time is a way of life for me, not just an ironic adage. I read so many series; The Prey Series and the Virgin Flowers series by Sandford, Lincoln Rhyme by Deaver, various serie According to Goodreads this is Inspector Huss #3 but according to bookseriesinorder.com this is the second book in the series. Second or third, it doesn't matter, it's a good read. If I were a Christian I would be worried about going to hell because of my sin of gluttony. I am a glutton for books. So many books, so little time is a way of life for me, not just an ironic adage. I read so many series; The Prey Series and the Virgin Flowers series by Sandford, Lincoln Rhyme by Deaver, various series by Pearson and more recently Hamilton, Flynn and Heywood. That is by no means inclusive. And while I'm reading one book another author and/or series will come to my interest for one reason or another. I don't remember how or when Tursten's Inspector Huss series came to mind and I put off this second (or third, whichever) of the series while I explored other books, mostly series but some stand alone novels. I enjoy Scandinavian crime books. They open up a land that I haven't explored except by these books. Well, I do remember reading about the Laplanders in the 5th grade I believe. The books I read are works of fiction. One cannot take the atmosphere displayed in a crime novel as the gospel. But they do impart a way of thinking. As an example at one point in this book Irene Huss ponders the way an American police department operates after watching a crime movie. She is amused by the open office plan of a squad room with criminals walking next to a detective's desk or that those detectives carry their weapons where a criminal might easily grab it out of the detective's holster. Huss has a desk in an office shared by another inspector (detective). It is her space. Whether Huss' musing are all that correct isn't the point; the point is the different attitudes of crime solving and operations of a squad. I also enjoy visiting different parts of this world as seen through the eyes of the author. I visit beaches, neighborhoods, restaurants and pubs. I travel on ferries and European railways. (At one time in the 19th century the U.S. led the world in rail travel, both in miles of track and quality of that travel. How we have fallen behind with no apparent concern in site to catch up.) (End of rant.) (For the moment at least.)Inspector Huss is leading the investigation of a murder, a partial body, dismembered, has washed up on the shore and the Violent Crimes team needs to find out who the victim is, even if it's male or female. Before this crime is solved we have additional bodies and the Copenhagen police become involved when some of those bodies show up there. At one point it seems that the killer is stalking Huss and those close to her. And all through the story we see that Irene Huss is a detective but she's also a mother, a housewife, the owner of Sammie, her Wheaten Terrie and the father to a litter of pups, the result of a scandalous affair with a black poodle from down the street. (You dog you! Literally.)When I find the time I will read more of Huss and the other members of the Violent Crime Squad. They are all well worth the read. If you like books about far away places (well, for us Yanks at least though there are certainly a good number of goodreaders from that area of the country) that are also good reads as to crime and investigations, let me recommend Helene Tursten.
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  • Nancy Oakes
    January 1, 1970
    The Torso is to date my favorite book in the Irene Huss series; it is much darker in tone than either of the previous two novels (Detective Inspector Huss and Night Rounds), the plot is very well constructed, and the investigation takes center stage, with little else to distract from the main storyline. Frankly speaking, I couldn't put this book down.Tursten captures the reader's attention within the first three pages with the discovery of a human torso inside of a garbage bag. Already busy with The Torso is to date my favorite book in the Irene Huss series; it is much darker in tone than either of the previous two novels (Detective Inspector Huss and Night Rounds), the plot is very well constructed, and the investigation takes center stage, with little else to distract from the main storyline. Frankly speaking, I couldn't put this book down.Tursten captures the reader's attention within the first three pages with the discovery of a human torso inside of a garbage bag. Already busy with two major cases, the police in the Göteborg Violent Crimes Unit have their hands full, and adding to their burden is the fact that the torso yields little in the way of clues to help them out. All they have to go on is a strange tattoo which ultimately leads them to Copenhagen, where their counterparts in the police there are also dealing with a similar crime. Irene Huss also takes on the case of a friend's missing daughter; her trail also leads to Copenhagen, so Irene goes looking for her while she's there. After returning home, various events lead Irene to believe that she's being followed, and that her presence in the two police investigations has led the unknown murderer to strike again. This is no ordinary murderer, but rather someone who takes great delight in not only killing, but dismembering and disemboweling the victims as well. The focus in this book is on the two-pronged investigation, with the two police teams pulling together to chase down a vicious killer. Huss is, however, wary of sharing too much information with her Danish colleagues after a source in Copenhagen reveals that there might possibly be a cop involved. Aside from the police investigations, Huss has to deal with her teen daughters, a colleague whose work may be leading him toward alcoholism, and the personal aspects of her investigation into her friend's missing daughter. Tursten also uses the opportunity to examine attitudes toward homosexuals, women who work in prostitution and the sex industry in general. If ever there was a book not for the faint of heart, this is it. There is a great deal of description involving decapitations, dismembering, removal of inner organs, and necrosadism which may lead you into wanting to put the book down after a while. But don't. First, while some parts are incredibly graphic, they're not written in a sensationalistic fashion, nor is there anything in these descriptions that doesn't belong in terms of the story line. Second, although the nature of the crimes may be abhorrent, what elevates this book is the police investigation -- this is one of the best police procedurals I've read this year. It is well conceived and well plotted, taking unexpected twists and turns along the way, topping anything Tursten has done in the previous two series novels.I heartily recommend The Torso with zero reservations -- definitely a must for Scandinavian crime fiction readers, for crime fiction readers in general and for people who like their crime on the darker side.
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  • Hans
    January 1, 1970
    Three reasons I am starting to love Helene Turston's series about Irene Huss (and friends):1. It may be translated into English, but the translation does not translate all the "Swedish-ness" out of the book: "You shouldn't eat Jansson's Temptation right before you go to bed, especially if you have problems that can affect your night's sleep." Oh, yeah!2. Helene Turston is a cool, controlled hot mess. She is always above board and by-the-book...until she suddenly choses not to be. There is a nice Three reasons I am starting to love Helene Turston's series about Irene Huss (and friends):1. It may be translated into English, but the translation does not translate all the "Swedish-ness" out of the book: "You shouldn't eat Jansson's Temptation right before you go to bed, especially if you have problems that can affect your night's sleep." Oh, yeah!2. Helene Turston is a cool, controlled hot mess. She is always above board and by-the-book...until she suddenly choses not to be. There is a nice balance between her being a judo expert and then using this skill sparingly. And we've seen in the past that she is very willing to break the law (and cover things up) when it comes to a question of harm to her daughters. (view spoiler)[And then there is twist at the end of this book. (hide spoiler)](view spoiler)[And she almost cheats on her husband...and it seems like that storyline may not be finished. (hide spoiler)]2b. I also appreciate the slow-burn side stories about her co-workers. Things are happening in their lives during the course of the investigation, but these are allowed to play out when they play out.3. Irene and her co-workers finally definitively figure out who the killer is. And then...(view spoiler)[(really this is a spoiler)(view spoiler)[they go back to the station and order pizza! "It would be a good idea to contact the police in Copenhagen, but that would have to wait until tomorrow. It was after five o'clock. /section break/ It was almost eight o'clock when they met that night in the conference room to eat their ordered-in pizzas." You just figured out who killed a lot of people and attacked you at your house, so you go back to the station and order in fucking pizza!!! I love this, because the U.S. version would then have Helene track down the killer and use her judo skills to subdue the killer. The Swedish version goes back to the station to eat fucking pizza!!! (hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]And one thing that I wish was different:4. I like that this is the third narrative shift in three volumes of Irene Huss stories...each case stands alone. This volume veers into Val McDermid's territory similar to Carol Jordan and friends dealing with vile serial killers. However, Irene's co-workers are starting to take a back seat. This is less of a team investigation. There are two other cases happening in the background, but they mostly disappear into the background. I'm used to Val McDermid deftly handling multiple cases in the foreground and hope that happens again in the upcoming Irene Huss novels. There is a quiet (view spoiler)[pizza-eating (hide spoiler)] power to the Irene Huss series and much of that has to do with Irene being a member of a team. She is very capable, but cannot be everywhere.
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  • Titas (I read in bed)
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Personal’ is a cute wordInspector Irene Huss is good at balancing home and office but some cases cannot be contained in the files at office. When parts of human torso start washing up at beaches, it looks like just another serial killing at first glance but when Huss tries to solve the case by pulling some old and new ones, she discovers a puzzle with roots deeper than she could imagine. With one corpse being identified as a girl she knew and another corpse being identified as son of another wo ‘Personal’ is a cute wordInspector Irene Huss is good at balancing home and office but some cases cannot be contained in the files at office. When parts of human torso start washing up at beaches, it looks like just another serial killing at first glance but when Huss tries to solve the case by pulling some old and new ones, she discovers a puzzle with roots deeper than she could imagine. With one corpse being identified as a girl she knew and another corpse being identified as son of another woman known as Huss, she feels how much personal it is this time for the killer and herself.Now that is an excellent story premise. But sadly the book delivers less than promised. First of all, the length. The book drags so much (more at the first half) that it could have shed about 30 pages easily. Lets give an example, "Maybe it would have been more elegant if the shoe had had a bit of a heel to go with the nice pants, but if you were one hundred and eighty centimetres tall without shoes, you don't wear heels. A short pass with lipstick would have to do as a means of freshening up her makeup. On the way down the stairs she twisted her arms into a new trench coat-style jacket. It was blue, the color of her eyes." Not so frustrating yet? Ok, now imagine paragraphs after paragraphs written about how our heroine had to face the problem of changing clothes quickly because someone was at the door or how she had to face the problem of changing her sweaty bra. There are things like these scattered among a crime thriller about serial killer investigation. It is so frustrating and boring that even if you just say, "Meh" and skip 2-3 pages you won't feel that you have missed something important.But even after all these frustration, the book still manages to keep you interested because the mystery is very good and because Inspector Huss is damn good at what she does. I almost felt like vouching for the book to be better when it ended.To be frank, I want to read more of Inspector Huss mystery series but I am also very much afraid.
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  • Bonnie Brody
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first Irene Huss novel I've read but it will not be my last. I plan to read all the books in this series. Irene is a police detective from Goteborg, Sweden, a woman almost six feet tall and once the Ju Jitsu champion of her country. She is a force to be reckoned with.In this mystery/thriller, there is a partial body that has been disemboweled found washed up on the Swedish beach during 1999. It is similar to a crime that took place in Copenhagen two years previously. The police find This is the first Irene Huss novel I've read but it will not be my last. I plan to read all the books in this series. Irene is a police detective from Goteborg, Sweden, a woman almost six feet tall and once the Ju Jitsu champion of her country. She is a force to be reckoned with.In this mystery/thriller, there is a partial body that has been disemboweled found washed up on the Swedish beach during 1999. It is similar to a crime that took place in Copenhagen two years previously. The police find themselves searching for a necrophilic killer who is also a necrosadist. It takes Irene to the gay underworld of Scandinavia as she moves back and forth from Goteborg to Copenhagen searching for the killer. At the same time, the killer is stalking Irene and killing people who come into contact with her. She is becoming fearful.The reader gets to meet the officers that Irene works with and the characterizations are in depth and startlingly good. There is Jonny who has a serious drinking problem and spends his time with the bottle rather than at the job. There is Jens who mysteriously disappears into a brothel and later that evening a prostitute from there is killed. Hannu is the go-to guy. He is short on outer emotions but seems to know someone who owes him a favor in every department.Then there are the characters who are not police. Tommy owns a gay sex store and was once a Sumo wrestler. He has some photos on his wall that may put him in danger. Isabell, once a childhood friend of Irene's twin daughters, is now a Copenhagen prostitute who has disappeared. Her mother has contacted Irene hoping for help in finding Isabell.Tursten knows how to write and the translator is excellent. The writing flows and there is no awkwardness in the prose. The characters come alive and I felt like I knew them all. I also felt a deep fear as I read about the twisted mind of the killer. I especially liked the fact that things didn't come together until the last pages of the book. This kept me guessing throughout. Kudos to the author.
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  • Caroline
    January 1, 1970
    I've come to expect dark writing from Scandinavian writers, but this one is exceptionally gruesome. Dealing with the subject of necrosadism, this is not a murder mystery for the fainthearted. A torso, just that, a torso with all distinguishing features that would even indicate the gender having been carved out and internal organs removed, is found in a washed up black trash bag. The Swedish criminal investigation department are completely baffled and without distinguishing mark, limbs and a head I've come to expect dark writing from Scandinavian writers, but this one is exceptionally gruesome. Dealing with the subject of necrosadism, this is not a murder mystery for the fainthearted. A torso, just that, a torso with all distinguishing features that would even indicate the gender having been carved out and internal organs removed, is found in a washed up black trash bag. The Swedish criminal investigation department are completely baffled and without distinguishing mark, limbs and a head, it is difficult to even identify the victim. And where are the missing appendages, for that matter? Expanding their search, they discover that over in Denmark, there was a similar murder, also with just the torso found, but in that case though, they were able to identify the victim eventually.Upon a closer examination, a small tattoo is discovered on the Swedish torso. The tattoo is unique and Inspector Irene Huss is sent to Copenhagen to work with the police team there, perhaps there's a connection between their torso and the one her team are working on. In addition, her trip will help her try to locate the missing daughter of a family friend, last heard to be working with a modeling agency in Copenhagen.Eventually, smaller pieces of the puzzle start emerging, and a picture of very disturbing necrosadism forms, although the murderer's identity continues to confound. And why is it that almost everyone Inspector Huss speaks to is later found dead?Although the evidence and story unfolds slowly, it builds the anticipation and provides for a really good thriller.
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  • Amanda L
    January 1, 1970
    Not going to miss reading the fanciful, elaborate descriptions of "Manpower" AKA "Penis Power" at all. Very illuminating to say the least (if you read/ have read it I'm sure you'll understand the reference). I'll leave it at that because any insight as to what it represents could spoil it all for you. (Tragic.)Didn't really get into it at first, but the plot picked up throughout the middle and onward to the end. Despite: (In stanza!)Never felt acquainted with the killer //Feels like a gaping hol Not going to miss reading the fanciful, elaborate descriptions of "Manpower" AKA "Penis Power" at all. Very illuminating to say the least (if you read/ have read it I'm sure you'll understand the reference). I'll leave it at that because any insight as to what it represents could spoil it all for you. (Tragic.)Didn't really get into it at first, but the plot picked up throughout the middle and onward to the end. Despite: (In stanza!)Never felt acquainted with the killer //Feels like a gaping hole in this thriller (stanza unplanned but as I was formulating the thought it seemed so rhyme-y I had to)Countering with:For the most part I enjoyed the voice of the woman detective and her perspective through which the story unfolds, even though I often balked at her characterization of women (perhaps influenced by this "man's world"?) -- was even more dumbfounded since the author is a woman."She smiled apologetically and tried to look female and scatterbrained" (p. 183).Aside from this and a few other gaffes, the writing, slow reveal and ending were well executed.2.5 stars (rounded up) for this perverse, gruesome thriller. Emphasis on gruesome. And perverse.
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  • Polly
    January 1, 1970
    What was I thinking? I’m not a fan of gruesomely detailed thrillers but I read Torso anyway. I am a fan of Inspector Irene Huss though with all her foibles and inconsistencies. I just should have known Torso would take me down a dark path littered with mutilated bodies and twisted necrophiliacs. Hence my 3 star rating! If all the gore hadn’t put me off, I would have given Torso a 4 star rating.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Gruesome, glacial and teasingly misleading police procedural. This series is mainly focused on one detective and her reactions to the crimes, suspects and colleagues. She's a bit prim in unusual ways and I like her.
  • Marina
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely a page-turner. Super gruesome though, even as someone who's been in surgeries and cut up a cadaver (for science)
  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    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 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.
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    I like dark stuff like Harry Bosch or Harry Hole, and have been struggling to find either dark enough stuff written by a woman or where the protagonist is a woman. I think Tursten gets clsoe to what I'm looking for. Probably even closest to what I'm looking for (and I just have not found the perfect thing yet).The crimes in the book are vile and very dark. The detective, Irene Huss, is not dark herself, but she attracts the dark people in the story. And while there are elements of other Scandina I like dark stuff like Harry Bosch or Harry Hole, and have been struggling to find either dark enough stuff written by a woman or where the protagonist is a woman. I think Tursten gets clsoe to what I'm looking for. Probably even closest to what I'm looking for (and I just have not found the perfect thing yet).The crimes in the book are vile and very dark. The detective, Irene Huss, is not dark herself, but she attracts the dark people in the story. And while there are elements of other Scandinavian female protagonist crime stories that are also present in this (a family oriented woman, or a woman who is desperately seeking for a man as the main thing), I really liked this one, unlike all the other Åsa Larsson/Kjell Ericksson/other Scandinavian books with a female character. Irene brings balance to the crimes; if the crimes were less gruesome, she, and the book would be more boring. I also liked the details of everything Swedish (from weather to what one wears to what's on the plate), and the differences between the Swedish and the Danish, and the soft reflections around people. The soft, humane touch balances well the gruesome crimes in the book. Many side characters were enjoyable too, my favorites being Tom the sumo guy and Hannu.4.5 stars. Not quite 5, but yet more than 4 - I don't think I can think of a single thing that's missing or could be better (other than a few procedural things that could have been done differently).
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  • Larraine
    January 1, 1970
    This may be one of the most gruesome books I've read in a while. The Torso is the second in the Irene Huss series. We are still learning about Irene, her family and coworkers. When a torso is found washed up on the shore in a plastic bag, the discovery that internal & external organs as well as mammary glands have been removed. At first the pathologist is not even sure if it is a male or female body. It is determined that the body is that of a male. Irene's investigation leads to a similar m This may be one of the most gruesome books I've read in a while. The Torso is the second in the Irene Huss series. We are still learning about Irene, her family and coworkers. When a torso is found washed up on the shore in a plastic bag, the discovery that internal & external organs as well as mammary glands have been removed. At first the pathologist is not even sure if it is a male or female body. It is determined that the body is that of a male. Irene's investigation leads to a similar murder in Copenhagen. While she is there, Irene also searches for the teenage daughter of a former neighbor. The girl has told her mother that she is modeling in Copenhagen, but it soon becomes obvious that it's definitely NOT modeling. Irene's investigation leads to a group of necrosadists, people who satisfy their sexual urges by mutilating corpses. Despite being gruesome, the book has very little overt action. It's all about police work and the private lives as well as the interactions of Irene's coworkers.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    The Swedish series of Irene Huss does not do this story justice. The book is so much better. Huss is a stable detective, who has the normal flaws that we have. She works, she sometimes looks where she shouldn't, but unlike most detectives I can name, she is happily married and has two daughters who are doing well.The mystery is were the angst is, and it is a very violent mystery. Huss even travels to Denmark so you get some wonderful Swede/Dane back and forth going on - and they have much beer. The Swedish series of Irene Huss does not do this story justice. The book is so much better. Huss is a stable detective, who has the normal flaws that we have. She works, she sometimes looks where she shouldn't, but unlike most detectives I can name, she is happily married and has two daughters who are doing well.The mystery is were the angst is, and it is a very violent mystery. Huss even travels to Denmark so you get some wonderful Swede/Dane back and forth going on - and they have much beer. But it is impossible not to like Huss because she is a human who is not constantly moping and whining. She does her job and lives her life, and that is wonderful.
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  • Andrew Hecht
    January 1, 1970
    The opening the terrible. The finish is weak. The bulk of the book is somewhat more interesting. Irene Huss is a decent character, but nothing compared to Erlendur, Wallander, Winter, van Veeteran et. al.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    As you might guess from the title, this installment of the series involved a brutal, nay, a revolting crime but I found the chase intense and the book impossible to put down. Well plotted.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    This one was a difficult one -- darker, more tense than the other ones. The story starts with a body part being found -- part of a torso in a black plastic garbage bag, tossed in the sea. As the police move forward trying to identify the body based on the little they have (they eventually find a few more parts in black plastic garbage bags), a tattoo points them to Copenhagen, and so off to Denmark Inspector Huss goes. There she finds that the story began two years earlier, as the Danish police This one was a difficult one -- darker, more tense than the other ones. The story starts with a body part being found -- part of a torso in a black plastic garbage bag, tossed in the sea. As the police move forward trying to identify the body based on the little they have (they eventually find a few more parts in black plastic garbage bags), a tattoo points them to Copenhagen, and so off to Denmark Inspector Huss goes. There she finds that the story began two years earlier, as the Danish police have an unsolved murder mystery with a similarly mutilated body. The body count, both in Copenhagen and in Goteborg, begins to add up -- and even when the bodies are as completely gutted as in the first two, there are enough similarities that the forensic pathologists in both countries are convinced it's the same murderer.The plot revolves around as darkly perverse sexual kinks as one can imagine, and was really fairly tense as the murderer seemed to be aware of Irene and her investigation .... and one step ahead. And Irene develops a knack for making a few mistakes in this one, perhaps thrown off by being in Copenhagen for some of the investigation rather than her home turf. Did like it, was engrossed throughout, but now ... am ready to take a short break from Detective Inspector Huss, just to recover from some of the images at play in this book.
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  • Brian V
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars. Engaging and the forensics is interesting. Some disjunctures (how did the perp know all the info about everyone without obvious connections to get all the info; gratuitous killing of girl as a warning a bit of a stretch). Somewhat formulaic, in that the family relations serve as filler to get you to care about the detective; gets tedious (also much description of food and meals)). "Part of a human torso washes up on a beach near Göteborg, Sweden. It is so mutilated that gender is only 3.5 Stars. Engaging and the forensics is interesting. Some disjunctures (how did the perp know all the info about everyone without obvious connections to get all the info; gratuitous killing of girl as a warning a bit of a stretch). Somewhat formulaic, in that the family relations serve as filler to get you to care about the detective; gets tedious (also much description of food and meals)). "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.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    This one is by far the best of the three I've read. Looking forward to #4 in the series.
  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    Ms Tursten writes the kind of novels I like to read - straightforward police procedurals with an ensemble cast of detectives and one main protagonist and no hint of the perpetrator's point of view. The Torso starts with the discovery of a torso washed up on a remote beach. With no head, limbs, genitals or internal organs it is impossible to sex it, never mind identify it without DNA testing. All they have to work on is a rather distinctive tattoo and links to a similar murder 2 years previously Ms Tursten writes the kind of novels I like to read - straightforward police procedurals with an ensemble cast of detectives and one main protagonist and no hint of the perpetrator's point of view. The Torso starts with the discovery of a torso washed up on a remote beach. With no head, limbs, genitals or internal organs it is impossible to sex it, never mind identify it without DNA testing. All they have to work on is a rather distinctive tattoo and links to a similar murder 2 years previously in Copenhagen.The plot is a slow, but never boring, accumulation of information which eventually leads the team to identifying a perpetrator, interspersed with Irene's home life and her interactions with her colleagues. She is a great protagonist, level headed and tenacious but prepared to bend the rules if she judges it necessary.Ms Tursten writes great novels and The Torso is no exception although I feel the read is spoiled in parts by an over literal translation (the americanisms I can live with, the incomprehensibility of some of the terms not so much) so I can't give it 5 stars.
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  • Philippa
    January 1, 1970
    Another good Scandinavian crime story, and the first I've read by Helene Tursten. It was well plotted and paced, and I'll probably read more of hers, but this didn't quite get another star because a) it was really a bit grisly for my taste and b) there were too many murders – they started to lose their intensity and it just seemed a bit too convenient to kill all these people off!I was pleased to see Göteborg spelt the proper (Swedish) way; when I first came across the name "Gothenburg" I didn't Another good Scandinavian crime story, and the first I've read by Helene Tursten. It was well plotted and paced, and I'll probably read more of hers, but this didn't quite get another star because a) it was really a bit grisly for my taste and b) there were too many murders – they started to lose their intensity and it just seemed a bit too convenient to kill all these people off!I was pleased to see Göteborg spelt the proper (Swedish) way; when I first came across the name "Gothenburg" I didn't realise it was the same place as Göteborg, having heard the Swedish pronunciation first from my dad.
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  • CarolineFromConcord
    January 1, 1970
    Gruesome. You don't get to know the victims enough to be upset, so the appalling gruesomeness is not my main complaint. I considered the author a good writer when I read her first book, but in this one her plot fizzles out after the perp is identified but before he is dealt with. The cop never exchanges as much as one word with the perp -- very unsatisfying. She also implausibly reveals critical information to a friend, and that causes problems. I don't think I will read another by Tursten even Gruesome. You don't get to know the victims enough to be upset, so the appalling gruesomeness is not my main complaint. I considered the author a good writer when I read her first book, but in this one her plot fizzles out after the perp is identified but before he is dealt with. The cop never exchanges as much as one word with the perp -- very unsatisfying. She also implausibly reveals critical information to a friend, and that causes problems. I don't think I will read another by Tursten even though I like reading about Sweden, where my son-in-law comes from.
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  • Cheryl Bradley
    January 1, 1970
    When a torso so badly mutilated only DNA testing can reveal the sex, Goteborg Detective Inspector Irene Huss embarks on a chilling chase to catch a necrosadistic killer. Interestingly, there is a striking similarity in Huss's mutilation-murder and the murder-mutilation of a prostitute in Denmark several years earlier. Huss must traverse between Goteborg & Copenhagen in search of a killer who seems to become more & more active as time goes by...and to strike closer and closer to Irene her When a torso so badly mutilated only DNA testing can reveal the sex, Goteborg Detective Inspector Irene Huss embarks on a chilling chase to catch a necrosadistic killer. Interestingly, there is a striking similarity in Huss's mutilation-murder and the murder-mutilation of a prostitute in Denmark several years earlier. Huss must traverse between Goteborg & Copenhagen in search of a killer who seems to become more & more active as time goes by...and to strike closer and closer to Irene herself. My first read by this author, and overall, a thrilling (if gory at times) read.
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  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a disappointment. The beginning of this thriller had such great potential, but at the end I feel it failed to live up to the international mystery/thriller community's praise. The writer tried to create two different story lines that intersect at the scene of the crime. However, one story line disappeared from the chapters and then reappeared close to the end with a sad attempt to show vital it was to have this other story line for the book. It just didn't work.
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  • Mae
    January 1, 1970
    Pretty gruesome, a little too homophobic for my tastes, and less focus on Detective Inspector Irene Huss home life, which was a nice anchor in the previous book. More romantic intrigue which some readers might like, I thought that was silly. I appreciated the very, datadadah ending, as implausible as it was.
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  • Gilda
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. This is the second book I've read by this author (her third in the series) and it was better than the other. It was well-written and kept me interested throughout. I would recommend the book and the author to anyone who loves mysteries.
  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    Scandanavian noir, moreso than the earlier ones in the series. The murdered victims are flayed and dismembered. Very gripping police procedural, but I’m looking to reading something less gruesome.
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