Virginia W. (Cloverdale, CA)
A meticulously written book of suspense
This is an excellent book that is meticulously written. Tension builds for the reader right from the beginning. This book is an indictment of the Swedish justice system use of criminal informants rather than undercover policemen that the American justice system uses. The characters are described fully. In all my years, this is the most suspenseful book I have ever read and one of the very best books I have ever read. If you like mysteries and thrillers, this is the book for you.
Margaret M. (Troy, NY)
If you enjoy a good thriller......
I found Three Seconds to be a mix of reality and fiction. Some parts are difficult to believe could ever happen in real life. Given the authors combined backgrounds as parole officer, drug therapist and probation officer, they give us insight into the criminal world. It is a much darker world than I could ever have imagined. Hang on, there are lots of twists and turns especially in the last few pages. I would recommend Three Seconds to anyone who enjoys a good thriller.
Dorothy M. (Owatonna, MN)
To stop a branch of Eastern European mafia from taking control of amphetamines in prisons, Swedish officials decide to use former criminal as covert informers. "You have to be a criminal to play a criminal" gives us Piet Hoffman who is the undercover cop in this situation.Although it is hard from him to keep thoughts of his family out of his mind, he realizes if he is fingered as an infiltrator, he will have "three seconds" to protect himself.
In the contrasting role is Det. Inspector Evert who is investigating a drug related killing, not knowing his suspect is working as an undercover cop. Grens' success record is outstanding, but now forces within the justice system are holding out on him.
Excellent characterization and ingenious plot make this an easy book to recommend to mystery lovers. It has been added to my favorite Scandinavian mystery authors.
Book club members might like to raise the question "Does the end justify the means".
Debby H. (Grand Blanc, MI)
Why the hype?
I found this book to be fairly typical of Scandinavian crime fiction (Mankell, Wahloo, Sjowall). I did enjoy aspects of the book that addressed various issues of illegal drug usage in prisons. Character development wasn't enough to cause any real emotional attachment. Given a choice of only one word, I would choose "confusion". Sometimes I just felt like I "missed" something. The details needed to be tightened up or maybe it is an editing issue. All in all, I have to say I can't figure out the basis for the major award this won in Sweden.
Georgette I. (Oxford, GA)
The best description of my feelings about Three Seconds is ambivalence. On the one hand, it is loaded with details that enrich the story and enhance the suspense. While the reader can probably figure out the ending before finishing the book, the story holds interest to the last page. On the other hand, I found it difficult to relate to any of the characters. None are multidimensional and there doesn’t seem to be anything about them that evokes empathy. The book is stern and stiff and lacking in even a hint of humor. If you can make it through the first 100 pages which are agonizingly slow, the pace picks up rather quickly. I am disappointed in not discovering another Steig Larson but willing to give the authors the benefit of the doubt by hoping that something was lost in
Diane S. (Batavia, IL)
Drugs, Drug mules, prison guards and the police force are at the core of this novel. I found the police officers Gren and Winters were intriguing characters and was surprised at the extent of the drug problems in the prisons. Found the going back and forth between characters and scenes a bit confusing but all in all it was a well written book. Did like very much the fact and fiction excerpt by the author at the end of the book. Also thought that the book was a bit too long.
Jane R. (Plantation, FL)
Bad translation or lack of editting?
Overall, I enjoyed Three Seconds, but often found it confusing. I don't know whether that was the result of a bad translation or that the book had not been edited. The first part of the book where Piet is planning the takeover of the prison drug trade dragged on, but I think the book would make an exciting movie.