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The Fire Dance: An Inspector Irene Huss Investigation    by Helene Tursten order for
Fire Dance
by Helene Tursten
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'Family secrets. The things that everyone knew but no one was supposed to talk about. As long as everyone kept quiet, the secret was invisible. The truth was still there like a wound ready to bust. The lies that were spun around it would keep growing like a cancer until the whole thing could no longer be contained and erupted all at once. The one frightful thing everyone was afraid of. The truth.'

This quote, taken from the closing section of The Fire Dance, captures the strange attraction this Swedish mystery exerts on the reader. Although the story develops slowly, it holds the reader's attention because there's a strong sense that there is much being left unsaid here that will eventually, when revealed, change the entire course of the plot.

As the title suggests, fire is at the very core of this mystery. Early on, a mysterious house fire kills a family member of the central characters. Then, fifteen years later, one of the key character's charred remains are found in another blaze.

For Inspector Irene Huss, a member of the Gotberg Murder Squad, the second arson death, this time of a talented but odd, young ballerina, set off alarm bells. When just a child, Sophie's father died in what was determined to be an accidental house fire but Sophie's demise was no accident.

The lengthy investigation centers on family members and is drawn out over time. Unwittingly the nagging questions that Huss keeps asking can all be answered if she knows how to interpret the meaning of an avant-garde dance conceived by Sophie and premiered after her death.

As the quote above suggests, family secrets are at the core of this intriguing mystery and it doesn't take the reader long to realize it will be worth the wait to see what these secrets are. Helene Tursten develops her characters in such a manner that they pique the reader's curiosity and make it difficult to set the novel aside. The glue that holds this book together is not mad, slap-dash action but rather subtle, clever plot development that makes you realize there's complexity here that will surface as the investigation proceeds.

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