Jessica's Reviews > Three Seconds

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund
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's review
Nov 16, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: read-2010, fiction, translations, group-reads, mystery, used-to-own
Read from November 29 to December 19, 2010

I received an ARC of "Three Seconds" for B&N's First Look book club.

Wow. What an intense book!

Three Seconds tells the story of the role of criminal informants in Sweden in infiltrating the criminal underworld. Piet Hoffman is an ex-criminal and an informant for the Swedish police, attempting to help them infiltrate the drug trade of the Polish mafia. We open at the scene of a botched drug buy that results in a murder, which veteran police investigator Ewert Grens is assigned to investigate. But because the use of informants is a well-kept secret, Grens finds details that don't quite add up and begins to suspect there may be more than meets the eye... As Grens gets closer to the truth, Piet is more and more in danger as he attempts to infiltrate and secure the drug trade in the Swedish prisons. For Piet, success means being able to go back to his family and start a new life with them; failure means certain death.

It took me a little while to really get into Three Seconds; the book is split into five sections, and the first two went by a little slowly. It took me several days to read the first 200 pages or so, but I ended up reading the last 250 pages in about a day! Once the action picked up in Part Three, there was no way to put the book down; it was relentless and so suspenseful that I had trouble setting it down for even a few minutes at a time. The first two parts are heavy on the backstory and character development, but I don't think that it was detrimental in any way (other than making for a slower read at first) because it made the characters more interesting and compelling in the later parts, and only added to the intensity of the action. By the end, I found myself cheering for Piet and crossing my fingers that he would make it out alive.

One of the things I found especially interesting in Three Seconds was the depth of description of both the police and criminal worlds. Roslund was a news reporter who specialized in criminal issues and Hellström was an ex-criminal, so they know a LOT about the issues they were writing about and the depth of their knowledge shows. I would recommend Three Seconds for fans of Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy or anyone else who just wants a really good crime novel. I actually found myself enjoying this book even more than Larsson's books. I'm definitely going to seek out the other two of Roslund & Hellström's books that have been translated into English.

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11/30/2010 page 28
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