Title: Three Seconds
Author: Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom
Publisher: Silver Oak
Copyright: 2009 (translated 2010)
Quick Review: 4 stars (out of 5)
Why I Read It: I am a major fan of Scandinavian Mysteries.
Where I Obtained the Book: I received an ARC from the publisher through the Goodreads giveaway program. It is going to be released January 2011.
Synopsis: Piet Hoffman, a top secret operative for the Swedish police, is about to embark on his most dangerous assignment yet: after years spent infiltrating the Polish mafia, he's become a key player in their attempt to take over amphetamine distribution inside Sweden's prisons. To stop them from succeeding, he will have to go deep cover, posing as a prisoner inside the country's most notorious jail.
But when a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in a murder, the investigation is assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens--a man who never gives up until he's cracked the case. Grens's determination to find the killer not only threatens to expose Hoffman's true identity-it may reveal even bigger crimes involving the highest levels of power. And there are people who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.
Winner of the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' 2009 award for Best Swedish Crime Novel of the Year, and a #1 best-seller there, THREE SECONDS captures a nefarious world of betrayal and violence, where a wise man trusts no one and even the most valuable agent can be “burned.”
Review: I love Scandinavian mysteries ever since I read my first Henning Mankell book. Since then I have found others like Nesbo, Indritason, and Larsson. So I was very excited to win this from Goodreads.
The book is broken up into several sections, with the first two laying the foundation for the rest of the book. Unfortunately they were a little confusing and slow first time through. Section one lays out all the main players, which is always challenging pronouncing the Swedish names and remembering who was who. Section two laid out the plot. While not terribly exciting by itself, it really was useful. Then it just took off like a bloody rocket. If I could break up my review the first two sections would be a three while the last 400 pages were a 5 plus.
The protagonist is a low level criminal who was recruited by the police to be an informant on the Polish mafia. Over the course of ten years he infiltrates the top levels of the mob insomuch he is selected to set up their takeover of the drug trade in the Swedish prison system. Of course want to use this moment to break the mafias influence in Sweden once and for all. Though it seems everyone on both sides conspire against him, our hero still manages to meet his goals.
If I had to give an overall message from this book, it would be success comes to those who prepare. And by prepare I mean to really, really prepare. To study and plan, not only for the likely, but for the unlikely. To be honest, most failures in my life, both personal and professional, usually boil down to be being arrogant and assuming I can just wing it. I think most of us work under the impression that we know enough to get by, and use that attitude to justify being lazy.
I really liked this book, and the beginning made a lot more sense once I read the end. I am eagerly awaiting their future novels.
Author Biography: Award-winning journalist Anders Roslund and ex-criminal Börge Hellström are Sweden’s most acclaimed fiction duo. Their unique ability to combine inside knowledge of the brutal reality of criminal life with searing social criticism in complex, intelligent plots has put them at the forefront of modern Scandinavian crime writing. In 2009, Three Seconds was awarded the Swedish Academy of Crime Writers’ Award for Swedish Crime Novel of the Year, previously won by both Stieg Larsson and Henning Mankell, and it was a top 10 best seller in Sweden for eight months.