The Fire Dance by Helene Tursten


The Fire Dance by Helene Tursten
Translated by Laura A. Wideburg
Originally published as Eldsdansen, 2005
Soho Crime, January 2014

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

The Fire Dance centers on the disappearance of a young woman named Sophie who disappears after a drunken book party for a distant cousin several years after she was suspected of arson and killing her stepfather. The arson and murder investigation was one of Huss’s first cases, and in the present, she leads the missing person investigation that turns into a murder investigation. The book also carries on a criminal plot from a previous novel about the Hell’s Angels and drug dealing.

I quite liked the first Inspector Huss novel, but I’m not as enamored of this outing, the sixth in the series. I think this felt too police-procedural for me but without that something extra that makes a book stand out for me. I was very aware of all of the interviews that happened during the course of the investigation, and the side stories about Sophie’s love of dance and her first choreographed work, the fire dance of the title, didn’t really appeal to me. I’ve heard good things about other books in the series, and I plan on catching up with them before dismissing Tursten’s books.

For a different take on the novel, see Nancy’s review at The Crime Segments.

13 thoughts on “The Fire Dance by Helene Tursten

  1. Rebecca – I’m sorry you didn’t like this more than you did. Now, I’m biased because I truly enjoy this series, but I think you’ll find some of the others more to your liking. It’s good to hear you’re planning to at least give them a try.

  2. The reactions to her books seem kind of divided among readers. I understand what you mean about a book being too “police procedural” without that extra something to make it stand out. Such books I find hard to finish. Thanks reviewing this Rebecca because I was curious about it when I saw it at Edelweiss. Look forward to your reviews of her other books in the series.

    • Thanks, Keishon. I hadn’t seen too many reviews of the book so I wasn’t aware of the mixed reactions. I think it may not have been my favorite because Huss worked the case by herself for most of the novel, which got a bit old. I think I’m looking for atypical crime novels right now.

  3. I’ve read the first three, which I liked very much. However, I’m a bit nervous about long-running crime series books nowadays, as I tend to find the quality drops. I quite liked the ensemble cast/procedural aspects of the ones I’ve read but maybe that will pall – I think I’ll perhaps hit the library for these rather than buy…!

    • This one didn’t feel like an ensemble to me because Huss worked the case by herself (or at least it seemed like she was) most of the time, which I think was the main difference between the first book and this one. I’m not saying I hated the book, but it didn’t stick with me, unfortunately.

  4. I’ve watched the TV adaptation of this series (I live in Sweden, no idea if they’ve been available elsewhere/subtitled) and enjoy the simplicity because I can follow it in Swedish more easily than Wallander or Johan Falk or The Bridge! I suppose that’s not much of a reason to recommend a series though 😉

    • I keep meaning to watch the series on MhZ, but I haven’t gotten to it yet: I’m reading more than watching TV, I think! Interesting comment about what series are easier to follow in their original language too. Swedish I’ve never tried.

  5. Good review. Ashamed to say I’ve only read one so far but I know what you mean about series dipping slightly sometimes. I will keep going on these from the beginning as I think I’ve only read the one before this one!

  6. I have only read one of this series (the first one). Thanks for your honest appraisal and for including the link to the other review, it encourages me that I will enjoy this one if I get through the rest of the series. We will see. I seem to be averaging about one book in each series a year, and that doesn’t get me there very fast. Too many good books out there.

    • One per series per year sounds like a great pace because that’s about the pace of publication here: if they came out more quickly I might burn out on the series. I read loads of Anne Holt and Jo Nesbo last year, and I’m okay giving them a rest for a few months.

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