Adrenaline-fuelled action

2011-07-27 00:00

PUT aside quite a few hours of your life when you start Three Seconds, an addictive thriller that has deservedly won Sweden’s main crime ­fiction award.

The novel is a meaty tome about a man who is an informer for the police force. So far, so clichéd, one might think. Actually not: the book rises above this somewhat predictable plot by its strange mixture of adrenaline-fuelled action, its magnetically depressive wreck of a police officer, and by attention to many fascinating if horrible details of how drug smuggling and dealing are carried out, how the prison is infiltrated, how the informer plans to escape, and so on. An added impetus for the reader is that everything is always going wrong, so one never knows what’s going to happen next.

Mainly, though, the book has two elements. In one, it is a great thriller, whose pace never lets up, particularly in the second half. It is full of the sort of detail that made Stieg Larsson so popular. The other element, again with echoes of Larsson, is the political corrup- tion of the national police force in Sweden, and the ministry of justice responsible for its oversight.

The authors are clearly on the campaign trail here, and occasionally their convictions overwhelm the plot. But the two elements combine to make a heady mix that is very exciting to read.

Three Seconds invites comparison with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

There is the same obsessive detail, the same corruption of the authorities, and even Larsson’s tactic of the slow introductory chapters that suddenly shift into a higher gear. But Roslund and Hellström are very much their own men. The first third of the book may be andante but thereafter, the tempo is firmly allegro. The authors have even managed to freight in some cogent aperçu about the nature of identity amid the clammy suspense.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.