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The Beast [Paperback]

Roslund Hellstrom
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Sep 2006
Two children are found dead in a basement. Four years later their murderer escapes from prison. The police know if he is not found quickly, he will kill again. But when their worst fears come true and another child is murdered in the nearby town of Strengn s, the situation spirals out of control. In an atmosphere of hysteria whipped up by the media, Fredrik Steffansson, the father of the murdered child, decides he must take revenge. His actions will have devastating consequences. As anger spreads across the whole country, the two detectives assigned to the case - Ewert Grens and Sven Sunkist - find themselves caught up in a situation of escalating violence. A powerful and at times profoundly shocking novel, THE BEAST has been likened to both Hitchcock and le Carr . It is also an important and timely exploration of what can happen when we take the law into our own hands. It is the winner of Glasnyckeln 2005 (The Glass Key 2005) for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New edition edition (7 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349118493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349118499
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.6 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 76,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'A must-read' -- OBSERVER

About the Author

Roslund Hellstrom are two authors: Anders Roslund is one of Sweden's most distinguished journalists and worked for many years as head of news for the Swedish equivalents of CNN and the BBC. Borge Hellstrom is an ex-criminal who works to rehabilitate young offenders and drug addicts.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extremely powerful, thought-provoking novel 18 Jun 2010
By femmyd
I am an avid reader but this is the first time I have felt compelled to write a review to give credit to the authors of this book.

Having never read any nordic crime fiction before, I found this experience refreshing. Whilst the book deals with the sensitive issue of child abuse, I feel that the authors handle it very well, looking at many conflicting views on sex offenders and people's attitudes and values towards to them. The characters in the book were multi-dimensional; the authors giving us enough of an insight into their private lives to get to know the characters and empathise with them without deviating from the main storyline which is often the case in crime novels to the point were we lose interest and focus.

Many parts of the novel are distressing and upsetting but justified in dealing with the main issue. The prison and prisoners were very true to life (having spent some years working within the system) and the characters were portrayed as being remorseless and brutal but also with a respect for justice.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Read it in a few days which is difficult with a hectic lifestyle but felt this one deserved making time for! I will certainly be reading more Roslund-Hellstrom books in future. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Horrifying 19 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I want to give it 4 stars, but to say "I Like It" doesnt feel right to me.

Its the first book I have ever read where I have felt myself start to cry. Not at the violence, although that probably set it up, but at the emotions of the parents. Sometimes I couldnt read more than a chapter at a time as it was so disturbing but I kept coming back to it.

It is gruesome, but I will definitely read the next in the Grens series once I am sure I can sleep at nights ok again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars the beast 16 Jan 2013
By babs
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this was a brillant book, lots of twists and turns. other books by same author are better though. there seemed to be broken english in the book so sometimes it was hard to follow. a true to life book as you would think i would do the same myself if it happened to my children
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An odd beast of a book 15 April 2007
By Ann Fairweather TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
This is a rather odd crime novel. Being quite fond of nordic crime fiction, I tried this one because completely unknown to me. The beginning is rather off-putting and brutal. Thanksfully it lasts only for a few opening pages, set to become the center of the story. Any novels about paedophiles is bound to be difficult, heavygoing. This one tries to demonstrate that as hateful as they are, these 'beasts' don't deserve revenge-killing, and that any kind of self-made justice is bound to go wrong. It soon appears that the whole novel is constructed to illustrate that point and that's about it. Don't expect much style in the writing, nor depths in the characters. Everything turns around demonstrating a difficult issue with more or less success, and as the story unfolds, it feels more and more contrived by the minute. Not a great read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing on many levels. 8 Aug 2007
By Daniel A. Scott - Published on
This book isn't for the feint of heart, it was so graphic and disturbing that I almost stopped reading it. Then, I realized the author was trying to make an impact with all the sick and twisted details that were included. It starts out tragic and ends the same way, it's what you learn in between that make the book worth reading. The whole 344 pages seemed to scream one question: What would you do if the same situation happened to you?
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An agglomeration of interesting themes that is all squandered potential 13 Jan 2008
By Bachelier - Published on
A thriller should start with thrills, and the horrible crime depicted at the beginning of this book certainly churns your stomach and sets you on the edge of your seat waiting for the plot to unfold.

And "The Beast" starts out okay, with excellent character sketches establishing each person's place in ordinary and underworld Swedish society. With each new chapter you anticipate how these various characters are ultimately going to come together.

The major spine of "The Beast" follows the interior meditations of Fredrik Steffanson as he raises his daughter alone, and has various interactions with the other characters, which include his ex-wife, his current girlfriend (only described as beautiful and half his age and his daughter's nursery school teacher), police officers, prisoners, their guards, no-nothing working class Swedes who can't differentiate between a sadistic murderous sexual pervert and a flasher, and a pointless and unresolved side plot about a married prison warden carrying on a homosexual affair with a guard (one suspects that the authors simply wanted to put a sympathetic gay character in somehow, but it all looks tacked-on).

The more interesting and brutal interior dialogue is from the sexual predator, which does approach art as the horror of reading it is absolutely nauseating and horrifying.

But halfway through the work, the thriller stops, the "chase" is resolved, and it all becomes a preachy middle-brow meditation on what is justice in the face of a horrible crime in a society with the absence of the death penalty. There is a side meditation on vigilante justice. But these themes are not worked out in any complex or challenging way and lack the intellectual depth of an editorial in a giveaway newssheet. The allusions to empty Swedish state churches and a single mention of two popular evangelical free churches and their true ideas and the thoughts of their adherents is left unexplored and a squandered opportunity to make this vapid work slightly more complex.

An agglomeration of interesting themes that is all squandered potential.
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite a Challenge 1 Jun 2014
By Toni Osborne - Published on
Book 1, in the Ewert Grens series

Being engaged in a book about pedophilia, torture, human savagery and prisons can be quite a challenge. These co-authors know only one way to get from point A to point B: straight and to the point. This thriller is absolute darkness, a masterful reflection on the concept of justice. It is not the run of the mill mystery and not for everyone.

This story is raw especially at first. But as difficult as it may be, this rawness is for us to reflect on the second part of the book. The true basis behind this novel noir is how we react to what we read and this is where we find the talents of these co-authors come to play and excel in doing. The prose is razor sharp and different views are dealt with and zoom alternately between the investigators, prison inmates and personal, crimes committed by Bernt Lund and the parents of the victims. It chronicles the activities in detail graphic and brutal language. Everything that happens stems from the murder of two little girls in a basement of a Swedish town, the arrest of the pervert who did it and his subsequent escape from prison. My synopsis may be too simple but the story is far from it.

The second part is absolutely brilliant which invites us to reflect on the possible sentences for sex offenders, the death penalty, on the paradox of Justice and the power of public opinion. The story also illustrates the potentially serious consequences of letting people take the law in their own hands. There are numerous characters to keep track of and the name can become confusing but everything really gels well if you stay with the flow.

Gruesome but a very interesting and captivating story that kept my full attention from start to finish.
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