Friday, February 08, 2013

Pierce’s Picks: “The Golden Calf”

A weekly alert for followers of crime, mystery, and thriller fiction.

The Golden Calf, by Helene Tursten; translated by
Laura A. Wideburg (Soho Crime):

Most readers outside of Scandinavia probably didn’t encounter the character of Swedish cop Irene Huss until 2003, when Helene Tursten’s first novel in the series, Detective Inspector Huss (originally Den krossade tanghästen), was published in an English translation. Since that time, four other Huss police procedurals have been rendered into English, with another half dozen still awaiting that treatment. The Golden Calf, published in 2004 as Guldkalven, finds Huss (a mother and jujitsu expert when she isn’t tracking down malefactors) probing the slaying, near the town of Göteborg, of a prosperous restaurateur named Kjell Ceder. His wife, Sanna, discovered the body, and it isn’t long before Huss and her Violent Crimes Unit partner, Tommy Persson, start to figure this for a crime of passion, with the notably pale and peculiarly hostile Sanna to blame. After all, the Ceder marriage was hardly ideal; the paternity of their newborn son was even in doubt. But when two more people are found murdered in the same execution-style manner, the detectives must revise their theories. It turns out that one of the latter victims had once been a business partner with Sanna, and it isn’t long before the detectives learn that a third partner in
that venture has been missing for years. Rather than being a killer, could Sanna Kaegler-Ceder actually be the next target?

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Also new and worth checking out: Holy Smoke, by Frederick Ramsay (Poisoned Pen Press), set in Jerusalem in 29 A.D., where the high-ranking rabbi Gamaliel and his physician assistant, Loukas (an ancient Holmes-and-Watston-type pairing), investigate the appearance of a badly burned corpse in a temple’s inner sanctum; and Bear Is Broken (Mysterious Press), Lachlan Smith’s debut legal thriller about a couple of criminal defense attorney brothers in San Francisco, the elder of whom is shot in the head before delivering his closing argument in a case. The other brother then tries to ferret out who’s behind this crime--only to learn more than he expected about his wounded sibling and their much-troubled family past.

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