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Tre secondi (Grens & Sundkvist #5)

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,638 Ratings  ·  515 Reviews
In this dark and gripping novel from #1 best-selling Swedish writing duo Roslund & Hellström, Piet Hoffman is the Swedish police’s most valuable secret operative. His cover is that of a lieutenant inside the ruthless Polish mafia trying to take over amphetamine distribution within Sweden’s prison system. With this, his most dangerous assignment, success will mean a new ...more
Hardcover, 657 pages
Published 2010 by Mondolibri (first published 2009)
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Mar 01, 2012 Kathryn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
The latest book from Roslund & Hellström is about the crooked dealings between the Swedish police and their well-placed informants. Ex-con Piet Hoffman, now a “covert human intelligence source” for the Stockholm police, is deeply implanted into the Polish Mafia. He is attempting to stop the organization from controlling drug distribution in Sweden’s prisons, and all the while, Hoffman is also a family man with a wife and two young sons.

When Hoffman is involved in a fouled-up drug deal that l
Feb 28, 2012 thewanderingjew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best crime novels I have read in a long time. For me it exceeded the Larsson series everyone loved. It is so well written. There wasn't a single moment when I felt that even one word was extraneous, except maybe when I was confused with the foreign terms but that had nothing to do with the book itself.

The book is set in an unfamiliar place for most Americans, since it takes place mostly in Sweden. Every character has a unique purpose and is developed specifically in a way to
Rachelle Urist
Jul 24, 2012 Rachelle Urist rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though it took me a while (50 pages? 80? 100?) to get into the book, once it took hold it didn't let go. For the last 300+ pages, I couldn't put it down. It's a riveting look at detective work, criminal minds, and the enormous risks, both physical and psychological, that both sides take in doing what they do. I may have vaguely known that investigators use criminal elements to spur - if not enable - their efforts. But this book, written collaboratively by a former journalist and former criminal, ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of S. Larsson or Sjowall and Wahloo, those interested in the politics of policing and prison
I won this hot-off-the-torturous-translation-table Swedish thriller in a goodreads giveaway contest. My review is of an uncorrected advance reading copy, so it is possible that changes may be made to the text before it is released in January 2011. Three Seconds is the first novel I've read by Roslund & Hellstrom.

I don't know what it is about Sweden as a country that makes it inclined to produce crime novels that are so much more interesting, insightful and refreshing than the formulaic Koon
Brian Oldham
I love Scandinavian Crime Fiction. This book cover says it is the best book of the year. It is good but not the best Scandinavian crime fiction you can read. I don't know all the books that came out in the last year, but I know that this is not at the level or Henning Mankel, Arnarldur Idridisson, Helen Turston, Sjowall and Wahloo, Karen Fossum, Ake Edwardson, Hakkan Nesser and certainly is no Stig Larsson. This book also does not compare to the quality of England's Peter Lovsey, or the U.S. aut ...more
Scandinavian crime fiction has been hot for many years now, but in the wake of the unexpected success of the Steig Larsson books, it appears to be even more ubiquitous. This latest example (the third in a series, following The Beast and Box 21) takes a very straightforward and familiar plot about an undercover operative working for the Swedish police, and manages to milk it for more than 400 pages of not particularly engaging prose. The premise is that former drug addict and ex-con Piet Hoffman ...more
Dec 10, 2010 Maddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tops, 2010-reads
PROTAGONIST: DI Ewert Grens; infiltrator Piet Hoffman
SERIES: #5 of 5; 3rd book translated into English
RATING: 4.75
WHY: Piet Hoffman is an infiltrator working with the Swedish police. Over a long period of time, he has built a relationship with the Polish Mafia. He commits a minor crime so that he can be incarcerated and work on their drug distribution network in the Swedish prison system, eventually to topple their reign. He is witness to the murder of another infiltrator, a case
Feb 15, 2015 Bill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Closer to 2.5 STARS ... but I’m rounding down to 2.0 STARS. It was OK but if I knew when I started this book what I know now I probably would have passed on this one. Don’t get me wrong. The writing is very strong, almost addictive in its cadence and flow and smooth transition between characters but the subject matter simply isn't my gig.

So why did I read it? Some background color ... I bought this book, along with a half dozen others, for $0.50 at my library’s annual spri
Toni Osborne
Feb 16, 2015 Toni Osborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 5, in the Grens & Sundkvist series

This book is by far from being short in fact it is close to 500 pages of intense reading. The plot is multi-faceted and it takes its merry time to spring into action but once started it crakes up tension and our engagement with the novel. Some entering midstream into this series may feel at a lost since the bleakly eccentric protagonist has a very heart wrenching past which is essential to know.

The novel deals with criminals in contemporary Sweden, the
Feb 02, 2011 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

Many writers are currently being touted as the next Stieg Larsson. These writers are no exception. Many librarians are struggling with what to recommend to readers who want more in the style of Larsson's Millenium trilogy. I'm not sure that this book qualifies.

Piet Hoffman is a devoted husband and father but he hides a secret. He is also an ex-con who has been working undercover as a mole for the Stockholm police for the last nine years.
Jan 05, 2013 Caroline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
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
May 16, 2011 Anthony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book in the series that I've read by these Swedish authors. I thought this book was even better than the first. These two authors, one of them a former criminal, write so well and thoroughly draw out their characters in addition to developing a walloping good story.

The gist of the novel is that the Swedish police, through an undercover former petty thief, have infiltrated the Polish mafia. The send this infiltrator into the prison system to learn more about how drugs are smugg
Jan 26, 2011 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers
Rosland, Anders & Hellstrom, Borge. THREE SECONDS. (2009; Eng. trans. 2010). ***. The authors of this thriller are described, respectively, as an award-winning journalist, and an ex-criminal. Apparently, they are a very popular fiction team in Sweden. This novel was awarded the Swedish Academy of Crime Writeers’ Award for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year. This award has also been given to Stieg Larson and Henning Mankell in the past. This work is nowhere near as good as anything written by th ...more
Ronald Roseborough
Riding high on the wave of Scandinavian novels breaking on our shores, comes this first rate thriller from the award winning team of Roslund and Hellstrom. Names we will definitely be hearing a lot more of in this country. Superb plotting and in depth characterizations highlight this novel. It details the relations between the Swedish police and the informants they use to help stem the rising tide of the Polish Mafia in Sweden. The book is shared by two main characters. Ewert Grens, an old schoo ...more
J Edward Tremlett
Jan 13, 2011 J Edward Tremlett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Call him Paula. That’s what his handlers in the Stockholm police do.
Codename Paula is their inside man within the dangerous Polish mob, which has infested Sweden’s underworld with drugs and other nefarious activities. At their behest, he walks a terrifying path — turning a blind eye to death and murder as he commits some crimes in order to stop others. And at every moment, with each new crime and deception, he knows that one wrong word or off action could cause his long-standing deception to col
Three Seconds by the Swedish writing team of Anders & Hellstrom is pretty good. Once I had the chance to really get into the book, I enjoyed it more. However, I didn't feel that it was anything so special that I'd want to read anything else by them.

Piet Hoffman is a former criminal turned police informant. He has managed to delve deeply into a Polish mafia drug ring. His next move is to get himself arrested so that the mafia can expand into the prison--which is when Hoffman and the Swedish
Γιώτα Παπαδημακοπούλου
- Είναι σε χωρισμένο σε μικρά, σύντομα κεφάλαια, κάτι που τα καθιστά ευκολοδιάβαστα και δεν "μπουκώνουμε" κατά την ανάγνωση, παρά το πολύ μεγάλο μέγεθος του κειμένου συνολικά. Παράλληλα, είναι ιδιαίτερα κινηματογραφικό, πράγμα που όπως έχω ξαναπεί, στα βιβλία αυτού του είδους, λειτουργεί θετικά.

- Οι χαρακτήρες είναι καλοδουλεμένοι και η προσωπικότητά τους, ολοκληρωμένη και ξεκάθαρη, κάτι που κάνει ανάλογες και τις προθέσεις και τα κίνητρά τους. Αν μη τι άλλο, είναι ένα μεγάλο συν το να ξέρεις πο
Feb 10, 2012 Rosemarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Piet Hoffman, Swedish undercover police informer, has climbed very high in the ranks of the Polish Mafia when he haplessly witnesses a murder during a drug deal gone terribly wrong. While Inspector Ewert Grens investigates the murder, Hoffman's Mafia masters want him in prison to take over drug operations there. A secret arm of the law agrees, and offers him and his family protection and new identities for breaking the drug operations of the Mafia in the Swedish prison system. But they reckoned ...more
Aug 11, 2011 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic Sweedish read By Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom and written in the style of the "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" series by Stieg Larsson. This story takes place in Stockholm and surrounds the plight of "Paula" (the main character is male) who is caught up in the Polish mafia's attempt to flood the Sweedish drug trade as well as being hung out by the justice system. Until the conclusion, it is difficult to predict who will survive and who will fall to their respective life c ...more
Dec 21, 2010 Sissy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Received via Goodreads First Reads. Thank you Goodreads and Publishers!

A relatively quick read. This wasn't a can't put it down book, for me - but I can see that it would be for some readers. I feel like this book would be highly enjoyed by anyone who loved the Dragon/Millenium series. For those that found Girl with a Dragon Tattoo slow (like myself) well, I think you may end up feeling the same way about this novel. Like Tattoo, I found there was a lot of repetition (the conversations Ewert ha
Bookmarks Magazine
Feb 08, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mar-apr-2011
In this superb translation, Sweden's latest contribution to crime writing tackles some weighty subjects -- specifically, the nature of identity, the Swedish police force's use of civilians in its operations, and the safekeeping of its prisoners -- as it twists, turns, and hurdles towards its conclusion. Despite the intensity of its finale, however, Three Seconds is a novel to be savored, its multifaceted story line leisurely unfurling over the first 200 pages. The critics diverged over the novel ...more
This was an extraordinary 'experience', a heart-in-your-throat thriller of the first order. The title hints at the sense of 'real time' pacing of the story and the characters are ones that you grow to like/admire despite their human frailties. Sometimes the level of detail seemed too heavy, but as a mechanism to lock you into the story it was perfect. This is a wonderful mystery despite the fact that it isn't a 'whodunit' but rather a 'howdunit'. It's a contemporary look at the ambiguities in Sw ...more
Ex-con Piet Hoffman has been working undercover for the Stockholm police for nine years, rising within the Polish mafia to lead its effort to control the supply of drugs to Swedish prisons. Getting himself arrested after assurances from senior police and governmental officials, Piet is burned and sets up his own death after taking hostages to expose his double dealing masters. Relentless Inspector Grens orders the sniper to fire and then has to unravel the strange behavior of Hoffman. Probably 3 ...more
Wat ben ik blij dat ik Roslund & Hellström ontdekt heb! Het eerste boek dat ik van hen lees is meteen raak. Hoogst origineel, maar tegelijk heel realistisch, dus heel geloofwaardig; je kan wel merken dat de auteurs hun research hebben gedaan. Heel spannend, dus niet weg te leggen. Ik ga er verder niet te veel over loslaten behalve dat het dus echt een aanrader is. Een van de beste Scandinavische thrillers die ik ooit gelezen heb. Enig minpuntje: hier en daar een beetje te uitgesponnen, had z ...more
Carl Alves
Three Seconds is a Swedish crime thriller where an ex-con, Piet Hoffman, has been working deep undercover for the Swedish police infiltrating the Polish Mafia operating in Sweden. He is involved in the drug dealing business and gets his break when he is being told to take over the drug distribution in the Swedish jail system. His handler proposes that they go along with this plan, but things get complicated when a Danish infiltrator is killed during a drug delivery, and the murder is being swept ...more
Fernando Delfim
Nov 09, 2015 Fernando Delfim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Só um criminoso é capaz de fazer de criminoso"

"Quem sonhava na prisão, enlouquecia."

"a energia desaparece do corpo quando a única coisa que existe é o medo da morte."

Piet Hoffman vive duas vidas.
Uma com uma mulher que ama e dois filhos - uma família de que não tenciona abdicar, custe o que custar - e uma outra, secreta, onde coloca em perigo tudo o que tem a cada dia que passa.
Piet Hoffmann é o melhor informador da polícia sueca, mas só um homem sabe da sua existência. Após um caso de
Bev Taylor
Mar 29, 2015 Bev Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
he leads a double life

one with a beloved wife and two small boys - a family he will protect no matter at what cost. and another, secret life, in which every single day he risks losing everything

this is piet hoffmann who works as a paula undercover for the police to break an eastern european drug gang. but if they learn the truth it is over and the police will bear no responsibility

an ex con he has worked for 9 years at this job and he is getting in deeper. the final part is to go into a priso
Feb 24, 2011 Kua rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, a-4-2
Io sono... sconcertata.
Come è possibile che questo libro sia lo stesso che è stato pluripremiato nel 2009? Un romanzo che, per far partire la trama, viene condito con delle azioni che posso solo definire delle cavolate gigantesche, accompagnate da ripetizioni continue (forse per riuscire ad arrivare a 650 pagine); per fortuna diventa un pò meno pesante verso la fine... eh no ragazzi (Roslund & Hellström), così non va per niente bene.
Apr 04, 2015 Silvia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-finished
I can't really rate this book because I didn't finish it. It's not the first book of Roslund & Hellström I've read, it's the third or rather, would have been the third if I had finished it. I picked it up on good faith because I liked the other two well enough. This one, phew, I just didn't get into the story. Like, at all. I usually like Scandinavian crime novel because of their slower pace, because they take their time telling a story and focus more on an overall atmospheric approach than ...more
Jul 26, 2015 Sandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. I've read some Jack Reacher novels and most of the Jo Nesbo series, but Roslund and Hellstrom knock it out of the ball park with their ability to tell a detective story. They let the reader follow along with the detective as clues are presented and pieced together. In other books, the crime is solved in a matter of 4-5 pages at the end as the detective explains everything to the partner he's kept in the dark (along with the rest of us). Here, we are allowed to see what Grens is ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Three Seconds 1 2 Jun 26, 2012 08:46PM  
Scandinavian Crim...: Review of "Three Seconds" By Anders Roslund & Börge Hellström 1 7 Feb 21, 2012 04:33PM  
  • The Cruel Stars of the Night (Ann Lindell, #6)
  • Summer Death
  • Frozen Moment (Christian Tell, #1)
  • Black Seconds (Inspector Konrad Sejer, #6)
  • Sail of Stone (Inspector Winter, #6)
  • Hour of the Wolf: An Inspector Van Veeteren Mystery
  • Misterioso (A-gruppen, #1)
  • Lucifer's Tears (Inspector Kari Vaara, #2)
  • Red Wolf (Annika Bengtzon, #5)
  • The Abominable Man (Martin Beck, #7)
  • The Darkest Room (The Öland Quartet, #2)
  • Unspoken (Anders Knutas, #2)
  • Between Summer's Longing and Winter's End (The Fall of the Welfare State, #1)
  • I tystnaden begravd
  • Bortom sanningen (Hanne Wilhelmsen, #7)
  • The Torso (Inspector Huss #3)
Anders Roslund is a Swedish author and journalist. He is the founder and former head of Kulturnyheterna (Culture News) on SVT, Sweden's national television broadcaster. For many years he worked as a news reporter – specializing in criminal and social issues – and as an Editor-in-chief at Rapport and Aktuellt, the two major News programmes on SVT.

Roslund regularly collaborates with Börge Hellström,
More about Anders Roslund...

Other Books in the Series

Grens & Sundkvist (6 books)
  • The Beast (Grens & Sundkvist #1)
  • The Vault (Grens & Sundkvist #2)
  • Cell 8 (Grens & Sundkvist #3)
  • Flickan under gatan (Grens & Sundkvist #4)
  • Two Soldiers (Grens & Sundkvist #6)

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