cover image Protected by the Shadows

Protected by the Shadows

Helene Tursten, trans. from the Swedish by Marlaine Delargy. Soho Crime, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61695-845-9

Set in Göteborg, Sweden, Tursten’s lackluster 10th novel featuring Insp. Irene Huss (after 2016’s Who Watcheth) opens with a burning man staggering out of a building and dying in agony in the front yard. The ensuing investigation reveals that the man was a victim of a turf war between two gangs—Gothia MC and the Gangster Lions—and Huss’s involvement isn’t just professional. Her husband Krister’s car is bombed, a warning from Gothia MC: they believe Krister owes them for a debt incurred by his former business partner who has disappeared. The threat is real enough that the Huss family goes into hiding. Meanwhile, an apparent informant is working inside the police department. The book’s subject—the insidious, ruthless nature of the gangster underworld (the “shadows” of the title)—is a worthy one, but the prose is frustratingly simplistic, perhaps a fault of the translation. And Tursten doesn’t do Huss or her story any favors by larding it with domestic details. (Dec.)