Barbara Bryant's Reviews > Three Seconds

Three Seconds by Anders Roslund
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Jun 03, 11

Read from May 23 to 25, 2011

I just loved this book and look forward to reading others by the same authors. They are a nice combination, a journalist and a former criminal--we hope he is former. The story is really grand, a great tale with lots of detail and surprises and information about the drug trade and police procedures and prison that we are privileged to read. Initially a story of a Poland-to-Sweden drug trade that goes bad, the story expands to include lots of characters and stories that deepen the experience greatly. I was fascinated with reading about the drug "mules" and what they go through, but much more fascinated by other things as the book was developed.

The undercurrent of that Swedish national affliction, depression, does not bother but enhances the story as we suffer with each character and his own particular weight that he's carrying. The side characters, family mostly, of a few main characters allow us to understand their behavior and really flesh out the conflicts. There is a little Le Carre in the idea of a sort of double agent in this drug trade and we have to choose for ourselves whether to like or be dismayed by the main character, Piet. We certainly hang on his story and wait with bated breath to see what will happen to him.

The clever set-up of Piet's experience in the last half of the book is interspersed with what is going on about it in other quarters. There are a few people on his side, as well as some who want to see the end of him ASAP. The development of this section, with each group not quite knowing what is going on anywhere else is really fun, albeit brutal and very chilling at times. This is not for people who abhor violence in books. There is a Big Secret, and who doesn't love that?

I can't say much else without revealing too much, but read it! And make sure you know what a gatan is--it appears 3,000 times in this book.
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