Three Seconds: Book summary and reviews of Three Seconds by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom

Three Seconds

By Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom

Three Seconds
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2011,
    496 pages.

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Book Summary

Three Seconds is a gripping tour de force from Sweden’s #1 bestselling crime writing duo Roslund & Hellström about a former criminal who goes undercover for the police to infiltrate an organized crime ring that controls the prison drug trade. Roslund, an acclaimed investigative journalist, and Hellström, an ex-con who has spent years working to rehabilitate criminals, combine inside knowledge of the brutal reality of criminal life with searing social criticism to create a novel that ratchets up the tension until the explosive conclusion. Three Seconds has already sold over 1.5 million copies in Scandinavia and won the prestigious Swedish Academy of Crime Writers' Award.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Americans are finally catching on to what thriller fans around the world already know - that the Swedish team of Roslund & Hellstrom is writing explosive crime novels as good, if not better, than those of Stieg Larsson." - USA Today, Carol Memmott

"A highly entertaining novel that is full of twists and turns" - The Associated Press

"The authors ratchet the suspense beautifully right up to the final, inevitable confrontation." - Publishers Weekly

"Readers who persevere through the glacial pace of the book's first third will be rewarded with a terrific, nail-biting climax..." - Library Journal

"This is crime writing at its most ambitious and morally complex. A visceral, demanding read filled with the kind of insider knowledge that raises it from the pack." - The Financial Times

"Named the Swedish Crime Novel of the Year in 2009, Three Seconds puts Roslund and Hellstrom in the company of Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson. Crime fiction rarely gets as good as this." - Booklist

"Gritty, brutal and gripping, Three Seconds is bound to continue the inexorable march up the best-seller lists by talented Scandinavian crime writers." - The Irish Independent

"The first third of the book may be andante but thereafter, the tempo is firmly allegro. R & H have even managed to freight in some cogent aperçus about the nature of identity amid the clammy suspense. Three Seconds is no dumbed-down blockbuster." - The Independent (UK)

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Judith W. (Brooklyn, NY)
Faster than a speeding bullet, it's..................
Once I suspended my disbelief, I found this book completely engrossing. I also enjoyed the experience of rooting both for the 'criminal' and the detective and found the ending completely satisfying. Great characters and action!

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Melissa H. (McKees Rocks, PA)
Took a long time to get there.
The ending of this book was surprising, but not completely unforeseeable. It just took f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get to the ending. I can respect the factual nature of the book which was interesting to learn, but it's possible that due to the real world feel the authors tried to incorporate that it caused the book to drag on and on like realty often can do.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Andrea L. (Cottonwood Heights, UT)
Full of intrigue
This book is a very fast paced, well written thriller. The characters are well developed and the reader knows just enough background information at each twist and turn to sustain the tension and intrigue. I was fascinated to learn the differences and similarities between the Swedish and American penal systems, trusting that the author's backgrounds gave them enough insider information to accurately dramatize the truth.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
Great read for crime buffs
I really enjoyed this book, learned a lot about the Swedish police system, it is fast paced and suspenseful. My only criticism is that it really needs to be tightened up or maybe the translation is the issue. I was distracted by repetitive detail and thought that a good editing job would have helped. But I totally enjoyed it and would recommend it to other crime fiction readers.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Steve B. (Spring, TX)
Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellstrom
I had somewhat of a problem keeping up with the cast of characters. This was probably due to my lack of familiarity with Swedish names.

The book got off to a rather slow start, but once I got into it, it was very gripping.
The story has so many plot twists and intricacies that I think it would be even more interesting if I were to read it again. I think I may just do that.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Les G. (Fort Collins, CO)
Swedish thriller
Three Seconds is an interesting look at how the Swedish police operate a criminal informant, and react to corruption related to the informant. It is an exciting book that builds suspense throughout the story.

I found it very interesting that things like the use of a criminal informant that would draw very little suspicion in the US, are taken very seriously in Sweden. Several times I found myself unable to understand why the Swedes were getting all upset about actions that most likely would not have raised any questions in the US.

...33 more reader reviews

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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. Three Seconds is translated by Kari Dickson.

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