Rated of 5
by Michele W. (Kiawah Island, SC)
I wanted to review "Three Seconds" because I am a huge fan of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, the pioneers and unchallenged masters of the Swedish police procedural, as well as Henning Mankell, who has followed in their footsteps with his charming and clever Wallender mysteries. "Three Seconds" is heir to the traditional formula in that it combines an intricate plot with pointed criticism of the Swedish state. Several crimes that are initially thought to be unrelated are shown to be part of the same larger picture. The lead detective is flawed, eccentric and interpersonally-challenged. The humor is missing, however, and therefore the book reads much more like a thriller a la James Patterson. I was distracted by the repetition of information, and by the occasional Britishisms in the translation (Can you really describe the indisposition of a cold-blooded criminal as a "dicky tummy?") At first, the rapid switches between stories and characters was difficult to follow. On the other hand, the plot was engrossing and the jumpy structure probably enhances the suspense as intended. There is a sort of a trick ending, but the impact is reduced by the fact that the reader has already figured it out, and is just hanging around to find out how it was done. In spite of its flaws, I enjoyed reading "Three Seconds", and I would rate it an above-average thriller that should appeal to those who like this genre.