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Blasse Engel by Anders Roslund

Blasse Engel (original 2005; edition 2007)

by Anders Roslund

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3902040,828 (3.72)8
Title:Blasse Engel
Authors:Anders Roslund
Info:Fischer (Tb.), Frankfurt (2007), Edition: 1., Aufl., Broschiert, 365 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Box 21 by Anders Roslund (2005)


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» See also 8 mentions

English (11)  Swedish (4)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  French (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
Ugh. I knew this wasn't going to end well from the first chapter. I also sort of knew all the "mysterious" players from just the first section. The blurb says something like "Box 21 is a mind-blowing psychological thriller of the highest order." The only mind blowing is from a gun in the book. Ugh. And Library Journal, your "This excellent crime thriller is bound to please fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo..." is a low down dirty lie. ( )
  lesmel | May 16, 2013 |
Box 21 is not for the faint of heart. It’s not even for the mid-strength of heart. It is strong stuff. There were things about it that I thought were excellent, one thing that didn’t work, and many things that made me very, very angry. Basically, there’s not a lot of middle ground with this book.

Though dark and extraordinarily sad the plot is quite outstanding. There are two main threads, both involving Stockholm detective Ewert Grens. In the first Grens is on the trail of Jochum Lang, a criminal of the nastiest kind who is being released from prison on the morning the book opens and Grens’ sole objective is to send him back there as soon as possible. Twenty five years earlier Lang caused an injury to Grens’ colleague (who was also his girlfriend) which resulted in massive brain damage. She has been institutionalised and unable to recognise him or communicate with him since the incident and Grens has proven pathologically incapable of recovering from the incident himself. When Lang is sent to sort out a young heroin addict who has upset Lang’s criminal bosses, Grens sees an opportunity to arrest Lang again.

The second thread is one of the saddest stories I have ever read. Lydia Grajauskas and Alena Sljusareva are two Lithuanian girls who have been tricked into leaving their country for lives as whores (not the waitresses they believed they would be), the property of a man they call Dimitri-Bastard-Pimp. As the book opens the girls have been working for him for 3 years, servicing 12 clients every day and have become fractured souls in the process. On this particular day Dimitri-Bastard-Pimp beats Lydia so badly that neighbours call the police and she is hospitalised. This enables her to put her long-dreamed-of escape into action.

These threads unfold and intertwine expertly. The pace is fast, and the action credible. The ending is horrific but, in the best noir tradition, is entirely suitable. Although the violence and abysmal treatment of the two women is described in quite graphic detail it never felt gratuitous to me. There was no revelling in the descriptions here, merely a factual accounting of events and their impact that would surely make even the toughest reader weep. I have read books dealing with this theme before but none has touched me in quite the way this one did; keeping me awake, making me seethe with anger and feel impotent that there is nothing I can do about the real-world examples this fiction is surely based on.

The characters, even the minor ones, are vivid. Lydia and Alena are credible in addition to being heart-wrenching and that’s not an easy combination to achieve. But they will stay with me, especially Lydia, and her truth. Ewert Grens will, unfortunately, stay with me too. He is a self-absorbed, dysfunctional, cowardly, bigoted, hypocrite. I regularly fall in love with fictional characters but it’s very rare for me to fall in hate; Grens is an exception. While he is the worst of the bunch there isn’t a remotely decent male in the entire book, which is the only real qualm I have about it. I shy away from unintelligent generalisations about any population group and I know in my heart that all men are not the bastards they are collectively depicted as here (though I might have argued differently in the wee hours of this morning as my anger at the book’s resolution swirled around my un-sleeping brain).

I baulked at giving a book which made me feel so wretched, a book in which there is no lightness, no levity and never even the merest suggestion of a happy ending a five star-rating. But in the end I had no choice. Box 21 does everything I could ask of fiction: it transported me into another world, it introduced me to people I will never forget and it explored social issues thoughtfully and so credibly that I have lost sleep. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Een echter thriller. Spannend, onverwacht, af en toe rauw. Ik vond het geweldig om te lezen, omdat het boek toont dat het heel makkelijk is het verkeerde te doen om allerhande goede redenen. Zelfs voor een politieman. Of, misschien juist voor een politieman? ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
I am disappointed in this book. I read 3 Seconds by the same authors, and found it to be a taut, well-structured, first-rate thriller. Box 21 is well-structured, perhaps (and I mean perhaps), but it is not as tight and engrossing as the other book.

The story does bring back Supervisor Detective Investigator Ewert Grens, who in 3 Seconds was written as a curmudgeonly sort of guy, adept at police work, inept at life. Here, however, he comes off more mean-spiritedly, underhanded and simply unlikable.

Story line: human trafficking involving Lithuanian girls who are tricked into coming to Sweden only to be sold into prostitution. One of the girls ends up being whipped nearly to death and then taking her revenge.

A side story involves Grens' obsession with the criminal responsible for the injuries suffered by Grens' girlfriend Anni. The criminal is released from prison, and Grens is intent on putting him back behind bars forever.

This is, basically, an attempt to make one novel-sized book out of two unrelated novelettes. The result is a book that really has no direction, and in which one is not able to get involved.

Any remaining Ewert Grens stories have fallen way down on my reading list. A fair story, no happy ending, not even nice. ( )
  jpporter | Mar 4, 2013 |
Excellent thriller, fast paced, complex plot, interesting characters. A seriously injured young prostitute is rescued from an apartment where it is obvious she and another have been kept locked up. When she takes hostages and makes an odd demand, they have little time to figure out what is behind it. The consequences lead them on another search for deeper and more disturbing answers. ( )
  ellenr | May 17, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
En ung kvinne blir funnet med trettifem piskerapp over ryggen i en leilighet utstyrt med elektronisk lås. En desperat mann blander vaskemiddel og amfetamin som han selger. Brukerne nærmest etser bort. Snart skal en av dem rase nedfor trappen i rullstol, så ansiktet smeller rett i en vegg. En annen skal ta heisen ned til likhuset, sikte med pistol og ta både døde og elvende som gisler. Førstebetjent Ewert Grens og hans kollega Sven Sundkvist leder plutselig to ulike kriminalsaker fra en operasjonssal på akuttinntaket. Romanen handler om handel med liv, om hvordan ofre blir gjerningsmenn og om boks 21 som skjuler to unge kvinners liv. Dette er den andre romanen hvor du møter politimennene Ewert Grens og Sven Sundkvist.
added by kirstenlund | editwww.tanum.no (Mar 12, 2011)
Books are books — except when they’re movies trapped between the covers of a book. "Box 21" has something of that trapped quality. Scene by violent scene, this thriller by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (in a blunt, uncredited translation from the Swedish) never loses sight of Lydia Grajauskas.

» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anders Roslundprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hellström, Börgemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Sybesma, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"...medvetslös kvinna. identitet okänd, inkom ambulans kl 09.05, påträffad i lägenhet på Völundsgatan 3, larm från granne till Larmcentralen.
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Description from authors website:
In Box 21, the follow-up to their much-acclaimed debut novel The Beast, Swedish crime duo Roslund & Hellström take on a controversial current topic: trafficking. They do it in the form of a breathtaking thriller, yet find time to allow us a deeper understanding of the characters and their psychological motivations. Thus, several sad tales of lost love are woven into the basic plot, where a policeman´s revenge on the man who crippled his lover coincides with a trafficking victim´s revenge on the man who raped her and enslaved her.
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Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel. What will happen when they get an unexpected chance at freedom?

(summary from another edition)

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