The Glass Devil, by Helene Tursten

Helene Tursten (1954-)

Crime novels featuring Irene Huss in Swedish:

  • 1998 Den krossade tanghästen - Detective Inspector Huss (2003)
  • 1999 Nattrond - Night Rounds (2012)
  • 1999 Tatuerad torso - The Torso (2006)
  • 2002 Kallt mord
  • 2002 Glasdjävulen - The Glass Devil (2007)
  • 2004 Guldkalven
  • 2005 Eldsdansen
  • 2007 En man med litet ansikte
  • 2008 Det lömska nätet
  • 2010 Den som vakar i mörkret
  • 2012 I skydd av skuggorna

See also our reviews of the Irene Huss movies, based on Helen Tursten's books.

Helene Tursten

Take a look at this literature map to see what other people reading Helene Turstens books also like to read!

There is also an interview with Helene Tursten in a literary blog here.

In The Glass Devil, Goteborg Detective Inspector Irene Huss investigates the murder of a family in which three of its members, a teacher, the teacher’s father and his mother, are murderedThe Glass Devil, by Helene Tursten in two separate locations. Satanic symbols are left at the murder scenes drawn in their blood. The Glass Devil is the fifth mystery in the series about Detective Inspector Irene Huss (but only the third translated into English) by Swedish crime author Helene Tursten.

The three family members are all killed within a very short time of each other. Jacob was found in his cottage, killed with two gunshot wounds. On his computer screen was drawn an upside-down pentagram. His parents were shot in their bed, once each between the eyes. Again, the upside-down pentagram is present on the computer screen. However, they also find that both computers had been professionally erased.

The clues indicate that murders could have been committed by a devil worshipper. Even so, Detective Inspector Irene Huss’s investigation leads her to a child pornography and pedophile ring.

The story in The Glass Devil is a bleak tale about evil in a pure, fundamental form. Throughout the book it is portrayed with Helene Tursten’s unflinching but unsensational style, which, if anything, makes the evil stand out in a very chilling fashion. The book is structured entirely from the police view.

Tursten’s novel is populated with credible, flawed characters and a multitude of suspects from members of a satanic cult, to assistant pastors. Irene's life is also on display in The Glass Devil, to great effect. She is a wife, a mother, and a career woman with a time-consuming, often dangerous, job. Her domestic life intertwines with her professional one, and Tursten shows how "common" people, not unlike Irene and her family, can be honest and straightforward yet simultaneously be deceitful and devious. The Glass Devil tells an excellent story all the way from the opening phone call until the climax. Huss is terrific as she investigates the triple murders. Overall, The Glass Devil is an exceptional novel and very well worth seeking out.


The Torso, by Helene Tursten

A limbless, headless body washes up on Swedish shores. A dog on the beach discovers a rotting human torso inside a black refuse sack. Detective Inspector Irene Huss and the Göteborg Violent Crimes The Torso, by Helene Tursten Unit are on the case. In The Torso, which is the sequel to Helene Tursten's Detective Inspector Huss (in the translated version of the series), the discovery of the corpse starts a frustrating chase for a wily serial killer. The trail leads to Copenhagen, where Irene Huss realizes that probably the same murderer has committed an equally horrific crime.

During the visit to Copenhagen, Detective Inspector Huss is also, on the side, trying to locate the daughter of a friend that has gone missing. She finds out about her, but is not able to meet her. After Huss has returned to Gothenburg, the mutilated body of the girl is found in a hotel. And later Huss receives a warning in the mail. Now the case becomes personal for Huss, and she starts to want revenge.

Huss is a fully realized character, whose demanding job often collides with obligations to her chef husband, twin teenage daughters and wandering terrier. Huss' home life is given a quite a lot of attention in The Torso. Maybe too much for some - who cares about her daughters’ judo dreams when there is a crazy serial killer loose? However, what Tursten brings into high relief by this is the toll police work takes on the psyche and the difficulty of moving between dramatically different worlds on a daily basis.

The Torso is not a gentle read. It will send your gore barometer well into the red zone with its occasionally stomach--turning tale of necrosadism. As it develops, the case becomes more and more repellent. But Helene Tursten’s straightforward writing style, without any hint of sensationalism, creates sufficient distance to make it possible to read the detailed descriptions. The story in The Torso is actually quite absorbing.

After several more deaths, the ensuing, very complex investigation, reaches a somewhat stunning conclusion that, at least to me, seemed very real. Tursten's second book about Detective Inspector Irene Huss is, as her first book, an outstanding police procedural. The Torso is really an excellent read!

Detective Inspector Huss, by Helene Tursten

Inspector Irene Huss, stationed in Goteborg, is called through the rain-drenched wintry streets to the scene of an apparent suicide. The dead man landed on the sidewalk in front of his luxurious duplex apartment. He was a wealthy financier connected, through an old-boys' network,Inspector Huss with the first families of Sweden. Suicide seems obvious, but some counter evidence quickly surfaces that indicates that it may have been a murder. Irene Huss of the Violent Crimes Unit investigates the von Knecht death with a word of caution that the victim is connected to the Swedish elite.

So begins this exciting crime novel, Detective Inspector Huss, written by yet another talented Swedish crime writer, Helene Tursten. Helene Tursten has been compared to PD James in her native Sweden. Her two subsequent Irene Huss mysteries have been highly praised. She was born in Goteborg, where she now lives, in 1954. So far three of her books have been translated into English.

Detective Inspector Huss is an intriguing police procedural from Swedish author Helene Tursten, the first in a new series. Its heroine, Irene Huss, is a sympathetic 40-something detective attempting to juggle a demanding job and her family life.

Rather quickly Huss and her competent team trace von Knecht's life into the criminal underground of drug dealing and motorcycle gangs. Then the case turns deadly again when a bomb blows up Von Knecht's business office, killing two people. Huss and her squad struggle with finding the motive. Fuss, however, has a feeling that von Knecht's underworld and business connections have crossed at a fatal junction. This makes her worry that more killings will follow if she is unable to stop the unknown perpetrator.

Remarkably, there's little about the mystery, the characters' personalities and motivations or the police approach to solving the crimes that couldn't easily be transposed to a contemporary American setting. Huss herself is an entirely plausible creation - smart, competent, but fallible - and the exchanges between the various police officers with whom she works help define them as three-dimensional as well. Through solid, patient police work, the good guys catch the murderer, whose identity, while not a total surprise, provides a nice narrative twist.

The characters, from the police to suspects and witnesses, all are exceedingly well-drawn and believable. Detective Inspector Huss is especially likable, as a 40-ish woman in a male dominated profession filled with casual sexism. Her coworkers are all intriguing, from enigmatic Hannu, to wheezing supervisor Andersson, bright young Brigitta, arrogant Medical Examiner Stridner, and the many technicians who assist the investigation. Huss's personal life adds great depth and sympathy to her character, especially the subplot involving one of her daughter's flirtation with neo-Nazism. Ethnicity comes into play as well, with several characters having Finnish backgrounds that render them quite alien to the Swedes.

The pacing of Detective Inspector Huss is quite good considering the book's length andcomplexity. Also, the translation is exceedingly smooth and readable. We strongly recommend this book!


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