Three Seconds

threeseconds2.jpg“They’ll sacrifice you the moment you’re a threat, they’ll burn you in the same way that the authorities have burned other informers when it’s a matter of protecting power. You’re Wojtek’s main man. You’re our main man. But if anything happens, Piet, you’re on your own.”

Three Seconds by Roslund & Hellström

The Swedish police need to break up a drug ring in one of its most dangerous prisons and to do so they call on one of their best undercover operatives, Piet Hoffman. When Piet meets with several key officials to go over the details of his assignment he is still struggling with the aftermath of a botched drug deal.

Infiltrating the prison will require Piet to put aside thoughts of his family and anything other than the end-goal, bringing down the Polish mafia who’ve taken over the prison. Afterwards he knows that whatever he has to do it will be worth it because he and his family will finally have a chance to have a new life.

While Piet is busy preparing for his most daring operation, Detective Inspector Ewert Grens is meanwhile trying to solve a murder, the murder in which Piet was involved. The more Detective Inspector Grens finds out about the drug angle, the more he comes up to dead ends and questions but he’s not going to give up. As he and Piet both get deeper into their assignments they find out some ugly truths that many in powerful circles would rather hide.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book for me was how informants are used and the risks they take. Do their actions, no matter how dangerous or questionable, justify the means? What is in it for the informant? And, just how fool-proof is their get out plan? Even though Piet was a criminal and is forced to participate in criminal acts to keep his cover, you also question an organization that says one thing and does something else.

I tend to prefer my crime fiction with a good balance of character development and mystery-solving so this one didn’t quite meet up my expectations as I thought the authors were more invested in the action. Having said that, the beginning took me a while to get through because sometimes it was hard to tell what was dialogue and what were internal thoughts but once I passed the 100 page mark it was a page-turner. Definitely a book I can see destined for the big screen.

Source: Personal copy

  1. June 20, 2013
  2. June 21, 2013