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Three Seconds by Anders Roslund
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580None17,007 (3.83)41
Member:bfister
Title:Three Seconds
Authors:Anders Roslund
Other authors:Borge Hellstrom
Info:SO (no date), Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Sweden, drug trade, narcotics trafficking, prison, Eastern Europe, methamphetamine, undercover operations, crime fiction

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Three Seconds by Anders Roslund (2009)

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English (54)  Italian (2)  Swedish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I wanted to like this book, but couldn't overcome what I suspect is a poor translation. The writing was choppy and disjointed. After 100 pages of waiting for it to come together, I decided to give it up. ( )
  CLStern | Jan 31, 2014 |
Thanks to GoodReads and Sterling Publishing for the Advance Reading Copy.

Before I began reading, I promised myself that I would not take the easy way out and fill my comments with Larsson/Mankell comparisons.

Well, I must break my promise - simply because I found Three Seconds to be so much better, certainly than the Millennium Trilogy. Three Seconds is hip, taut and topical. The characters are all highly believable, as is the plot-line. The writing is crisp and beyond genre. The translation is excellent.

All in all, highly recommended to one and all, especially ardent followers of the best in crime dramas regardless of country of origin. ( )
  mabroms | Sep 3, 2013 |
In brief the book is about two men. Piet Hoffmann is living a confusing triple life in which his wife thinks he works for a security firm when in reality he is former criminal and current undercover agent for the Swedish police and has infiltrated a Polish drug-running organisation. At the very beginning of the book he is present at a drug deal which goes wrong when one of the trigger-happy participants shoots the buyer who, it turns out, was another infiltrator (this time of the Danish police). Ewert Grens is the dysfunctional-but-brilliant policeman who is called in to investigate the death. Apparently his reputation and methods (which mostly involve lying on the floor and thinking) scare the willies out of the police people responsible for handling Hoffman. They are, as it happens, not as above board as one might hope for in one’s law enforcement officers and they work to ensure that Grens does not discover Hoffman’s presence at the shooting or the reason for that presence. Even if they have to sacrifice Hoffman to save their own skins.

Genre fiction tends to be driven by either plot or character or, if the reader is really lucky, both. For me, Three Seconds was neither. If anything it was driven, at funereal speed, by a series of excruciating details. I’ve been kept on the edge of my seat by books about banking, horse-racing and dentistry not because those subjects interest me in the slightest but because the author made me interested, at least for the span of the book. Here there were just details. Never. Ending. Details. About how to swallow lots of drug-filled condoms (and how to regurgitate them again), how to weigh and cut drugs, how to insert a digital recorder into your anus, how to take over the drug distribution channels inside a country’s prison system. At the end I am closer than I ever wanted to be to excelling at a career as a drug distributor but do not consider myself particularly well entertained.

There was probably a gripping story somewhere in Three Seconds but at an actual 56,820 seconds long it was bloody hard to find. This book needed a serious amount of editing, especially in its first two thirds. It also needed some characters with depth so that I cared enough to learn their fate. I admit I started the book not liking Grens due to his behaviour in the previous book which was at odds with the ‘honest cop’ persona created for him. Perhaps if you haven’t read that book or are more easily able to forget his behaviour in it you will not find Grens the pathetic hypocrite that I did. But seriously the man can barely function enough to hold a minute-long conversation for heaven’s sake so I found it a stretch to accept his depiction as brilliant or honest. Hoffman, in the end, is shallow too. There’s so much time taken up describing what he does that there’s little time for why and that is mostly of the whiney ‘none of this is my fault’ kind of stuff that bores me witless. If a character can’t be honest with himself when his thoughts are being depicted as Hoffman’s are early on in this book then I’m not terribly interested in anything else he does.

Although I did start the book feeling less than favourable to Ewert Grens I was really looking forward to it as its predecessor was one of only four 5-star reads I’ve had this year. That, and the fact the book has won many accolades in its own right including being shortlisted for the 2011 CWA International Dagger Award, is why I kept on listening long past the point at which I would normally have given up. But even though I persevered to the end I missed whatever it is that others have seen in this one. For me it read like one long information dump and lacked the connecting human warmth I look for. It probably didn’t help that there’s no victim to speak of and barely a female presence in the entire thing (seriously the woman with the biggest presence in the story has been in a vegetative state for twenty years). The final third of the book actually had a vaguely decent pace and storyline but by then I’m afraid the damage had been done for me and I sighed with relief when it was all over. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Deciding to become a police informant puts Piet Hoffman in the position of having to hide his criminal past and lie to his wife and sons. But his increasingly successful infiltration of a Polish drug ring operating in Sweden puts him puts him in a position where he is unable to prevent a murder.

When the opportunity comes for Piet to be temporarily arrested and placed in a Swedish prison, the danger he faces rises. He strikes a deal with a certain team of the Swedish police and government agency that is to provide certain guarantees towards his safety within the prison and immunity from the murder.

However, Ewert Grens, a tenacious detective who is called out to the murder scene starts to unravel the victim's identity and stumbles on the Polish drug angle, but is frustrated by the lack of evidence. As he continues to grow closer to identifying Piet, violence breaks out at the prison with unforeseen consequences. The tension in this thriller is built steadily throughout the novel and comes to a surprising end. ( )
  cameling | Jan 5, 2013 |
Piet Hoffmann is an ex-con who has been enlisted by the Swedish police to infiltrate a Polish criminal organization, which he does to the extent that the Polish mafia wants Piet to set up drug distribution in Swedish prisons. At the same time, Detective Supervisor Ewert Grens is investigating the murder of a Danish infiltrator, with the growing suspicion that Piet was involved - and the investigation has people in high places getting nervous.

This book is one of the best crime stories I've ever read (it won the Sweden Crime Novel award). Roslund and Hellstrom set up an extremely plausible plot line and run with it. The tension is continuous (it's the second book I've read recently that I had to put down on occasion because it is so taut and unrelenting I could only take it in small doses), and twists and surprises wait in the most unexpected places.

Roslund is a journalist who is familiar with the social problems facing Sweden's prison system, and Hellstrom is a former criminal who brings deep experience of the Swedish prison system to bear. If you like intelligent, well-researched books, if you like crime novels with suspense that never lets up, you'll love this book. I highly recommend it. ( )
  jpporter | Oct 30, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
Det som setter Roslund & Hellström i en klasse for seg, er en høy grad av troverdighet. Der de fleste krimforfattere laller rundt med tåpelige massemordere i skandinaviske småbyer, har dette svenske forfatterparet føttene solid plantet i moderne kriminalrealisme. De har lært leksene. De vet hva de skriver om. De kjenner de tunge gutta som sitter på de lange dommene, og politifolkene som fikk dem dit. De vet hvordan den polske amfetaminen produseres, og hvordan den bringes inn, både over landegrensene og inn i de lukkede anstaltene.

De vet at politiet selvsagt lyver, når de benekter bruk av faste informanter. Slik at de også kan benekte at de tidvis må la dem falle. Ofre dem.

«Tre sekunder» er bok nummer fem i serien om Ewert Grens og hans folk i Stockholmspolitiet. Definitivt førstedivisjon! Helt øverst på tabellen.

added by annek49 | editVG, Ingvar Ambjørnsen (Mar 20, 2011)
 
“Three Seconds” spent the better part of a year on Swedish best-seller lists. Its authors won a prize — the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year — that has also been awarded to Larsson and Henning Mankell. They know how to deliver the kind of stilted, world-weary verbosity that somehow quickens the pulses of this genre’s readers. Even better, they are on a first-name basis with the Seven Dwarfs of Scandinavian Noir: Guilty, Moody, Broody, Mopey, Kinky, Dreary and Anything-but-Bashful.
 
Nils Schwartz: Anders Roslunds och Börge Hellströms nya roman Tre sekunder är deras bästa och ställer de flesta internationella konkurrenter i skuggan.
added by annek49 | editExpressen, Nils Schwartz (May 20, 2009)
 
As intriguing as it sounds, Roslund and Hellström dole out the drama in scenes that suffer from too much information, erratic intercutting and a heavy-handed style that not even an able translator like Kari Dickson can smooth over. Also problematic is the unsympathetic portrait of a character appearing in the authors' four previous novels, Det. Ewert Grens. Grens is gruff to the point of hostility and haunted by guilt about his wife Anni, a fellow police officer injured on the job who recently died after 29 years in a nursing home. Grens has been in a funk over Anni for years, reduced to sleeping on the floor in his office and grieving in a manner that would make any astute supervisor send him to a departmental shrink. Even when Grens is roused to action by the murder of the undercover Danish cop, his bitterness combined with the minute details of the investigation makes reading the novel's first part a dreary affair.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anders Roslundprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hellström, Börgemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dickson, KariTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Description from authors website:
 An informant is caught between the police he works for, the ruthless criminals he infiltrates, and the family he loves. Set in present-day Stockholm, the story revolves around Piet Hoffman – the most successful infiltrator ever to work for the Swedish police. Moving up in the hierarchy of a Polish crime organization, the threat to Hoffman’s life grows parallel with his ability to stop the organization’s expansion. His mission: to infiltrate Sweden’s most infamous maximum-security prison. His dilemma: to survive and fail, or to risk his life and succeed.
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Ex-convict Piet Hoffman--a family man, a rising member of Stockholm's Polish mafia, and an undercover police informant--is sent to a maximum security prison to make himself the boss of the amphetamine trade so the police can shut it down.

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