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on 24 October 2010
'Three Seconds' is Roslund and Hellstrom's third novel to be published
in English,all featuring the grumpy Detective Inspector Ewert Grens.
It was,with good reason,a huge bestseller in the authors' home country,
The plot focuses around Piet Hoffman,a police informer,who has infiltrated
Wotjek Security,which is a cover for a Polish drug-dealing operation.They
have decided to supply illegal drugs to Swedish prisoners,and Hoffman is
to get himself incarcarated in order to control the operation from the
inside.Prior to this he is a witness to a killing during a drug exchange,
which D.I.Grens-who 25 years after the event is still obsessed with the
accident and subsequent death of his female partner and colleague-
investigates.Grens enquiries are impeded by a cover-up and corruption in
high places.
This is a lengthy,exciting,well-plotted thriller,which goes into considerable
yet interesting detail regarding Hoffman's activities in his quest to stay
alive. One is ,though,left wondering as to his motivation in taking such
great risks ,especially as he has a close family.
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on 25 February 2011
I ordered this book because I had seen it received a Swedish Crime Writers award and, given the quality of Scandinavian crime-writing, I felt that meant it had to be good.

I found the initial chapters and storyline unpleasant - almost vomit-making (if you've read it you will know why) - but I persevered. The characters became increasingly intriguing and the plot decidedly complicated - just how I like it.

By a third of the way through, I was steaming through the book like a high-speed train. Every spare moment was an opportunity to read a bit more.

I definitely warmed to grumpy Ewart Grens - a typical misanthropic Scandinavian detective, but probably with good reason for his behaviour and attitude. I will be reading the earlier novels in this series.

Highly recommended.
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on 30 March 2011
At over 600 pages long this is a weighty tome for a crime novel but I can honestly say that I wish it was double the size! A marvellous look at the underbelly of the Scandinavian police and punishment system. Ewart Grens the main police character is recognisable from this genre - a moody, emotionally tortured policeman whose job is his life but you really start to identify with him thanks to the skill of the writers. I loved this book and will now read the other two novels by the same authors.
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on 16 November 2011
I don't know if my review counts for much, Three Seconds is not the kind of book women are allegedly drawn to, but then I'm not a woman who's drawn to the type of books women are allegedly drawn to, if you see what I mean?

Very much written in the style of one of my favourite author Gerald Seymour, Three Seconds is a page turner, full of suspense , an excellent gripping read.
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on 10 August 2015
If there were spaces for ten stars every one would be highlighted. This is the most gripping book I've read in ages. The plot is unique, the pace is fast and the characters are just so vivid. This book was even better than Cell 8 which was also great. I've even felt forced to splurge and buy 'The Beast' in 2nd hand paperback which is out of print and pretty expensive (not read yet). If you like Nordic crime you won't be disappointed with 'Three Seconds'. Roslund & Hellstrom have just shot to the top of my reading list!
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on 22 November 2010
FACTS: Sweden is a nation of laws and rights. Criminal organizations profit from illegal trade -- drug distribution being one. Swedish prisons are underfunded, understaffed. Drugged inmates are easier -- cheaper -- to control. Police supervisory authority believes conventional intelligence methods are insufficient to combat organized crime. To infiltrate criminal organizations, the police need spies. Swedish police cannot engage in criminal activity. Only real criminals can pose as criminals.

How far will criminal organizations go to kill a snitch?

How far will police authority go to deny it employs criminals?

What must a man -- caught in the middle -- do to survive, to "not die yet"?

THREE SECONDS provides the explosive answers in a taut human drama set in the limbo of Swedish law versus Swedish need.

A relentless nerve-wracking police thriller right up there with DAY OF THE JACKAL and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. One of the best books I've read -- ever.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 22 March 2011
I haven't come across this writing duo before: Roslund a journalist and Hellstrom an ex-criminal. Between them them they've created a thriller with page-turning pace. It took me a few chapters to get into the story as the narrative switches between characters with unfamiliar sounding names located in geographical locations, apart from Stockholm, which I don't recognize. Rather like when I started to read Henning Mankell or Stieg Larsson novels, but like those books I soon got the hang of things.

Three Seconds is an extraordinary story about the lengths that the authorities might go to in order to undermine the criminal gangs from abroad who evidently dominate the supply of drugs to Scandinavia. The amount of convincing detail about how the gangs operate and the covert operations employed against them kept reminding me of Frederick Forsyth's writing who similarly gives his thrillers authenticity by inclusion of meticulously researched detail. As with Forsyth's books, women are largely absent; scenery, weather and surrounding are minimally referred to; and characters are not fleshed out by a lot of description but are there to carry-out the inventive story. The style of writing is economical without superfluous adjectives and natural flow must owe a lot to the translator. I would say it's more a man's book than a woman's, but I did enjoy it and thought it worthy Winner of Swedish Crime novel of the year.
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on 17 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed the Millennium Trilogy. So when I saw this on the Kindle daily deal and also saw that it won Swedish Crime Book Of The Year, I didn't think twice.

If you liked those books you may enjoy this too. It certainly is no where the same standard as them though. There's nothing really in the story that is unique to Sweden, the story could happen in any Western European country.

It is a bit of a slow burner, not that it was heavy or tiresome to read, but the last 40% of the book are easily the best and this is where the pace really picks up, I found it much harder to put down, I read the last third of the book in half the time of the first third.

The end is a bit unrealistic, the reader can guess it fairly early on too, so there's no huge twist.

There is an interesting facts about drugs in Swedish prisons at the end, one think that can be said is that it's a very well researched book.

Another thing worth noting well in this version at least is that the book has been into British English, not only in spelling but also in vocabulary.
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on 6 December 2010
Piet Hoffman, Swedish undercover police informer, has climbed very high in the ranks of the Polish Mafia when he helplessly 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 without the indefatigable Grens, intent on solving his case all unaware of the secret agenda.

This stunningly well-written police procedural meets thriller meets psychological suspense novel succeeds in all three genres. At times the suspense was so well drawn, and had so drawn me in, that I had to put the book aside for awhile to regain my composure. Only Alfred Hitchcock had managed that previously. The details of the drug trade in the early chapters, while distressing to read, nonetheless set the story up perfectly.

This is the first book I have read by these authors, and I was very impressed. Definitely worth finding the earlier books and following the series in future.
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on 23 March 2011
Inevitably the blurb on the cover was comparing this to Stieg Larsson but beyond a tense thriller in a bleak landscape and the author's nationalities there is little else to suggest the two should naturally go hand in hand. The plot is pacy and the question of what the title means looms long into the book but the overall impact of the preparation and scheming is let down by the ending which seems rushed. It was almost as if they had a word limit which they were about to exceed so hurriedly drew things to a close with little in depth explanation to conclude. Given the extent of the detail in the planning it is at odds to try and wrap things up in a matter of pages.

That all said, an enjoyable enough read with some interesting characters, even if the ending is all very Hollywood - coming to a multiplex near you soon!
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