Three Seconds by Roslund and Helström

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3SecondsThree Seconds by Anders Roslund and Börge Helström (SilverOak, 2011)

Blurb: In this dark and gripping novel from #1 best-selling Swedish writing duo Roslund & Hellström, Piet Hoffman is the Swedish police’s most valuable secret operative. His cover is that of a lieutenant inside the ruthless Polish mafia trying to take over amphetamine distribution within Sweden’s prison system. With this, his most dangerous assignment, success will mean a new identity and the freedom to start a new life with his wife and young sons. When a botched drug deal involving Hoffman results in the cold-blooded killing of a police informant, the investigation, assigned to the brilliant but haunted Detective Inspector Ewert Grens, leads to a string of unsolved cases in which key evidence has been withheld under mysterious circumstances. As Grens’s investigation takes him closer to the truth, government lies are exposed and Hoffman is trapped in prison, wanted dead by both the police and the mafia. He has only one chance to make it out alive and start a new life. One chance and Three Seconds.

This book was fantastic. I’ve read two previous books in the series (Cell 8 and Box 21) and they’ve gotten progressively better, and this one is really good.

As is typical of Nordic crime novels, this one looks at bigger issues than just the people who are directly involved: this book addresses the question of how far can and should a democratic society go when it comes to protecting “good” criminals to get information about “worse” ones?

The story itself is taut and well-written. There is some minor repetition as parts of the story are told from varying character POV, but after two books where I felt I wasn’t learning that much about the characters, this book was the payoff: all of the characterization and plot lines from previous books built up to the events of this book.

My rating: 5 stars

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