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January 14, 2011 / schulerbooks

Three Seconds, by Roslund and Hellstrom

Call him Paula. That’s what his handlers in the Stockholm police do.
Codename Paula is their inside man within the dangerous Polish mob, which has infested Sweden’s underworld with drugs and other nefarious activities. At their behest, he walks a terrifying path — turning a blind eye to death and murder as he commits some crimes in order to stop others. And at every moment, with each new crime and deception, he knows that one wrong word or off action could cause his long-standing deception to collapse around him, leaving him exposed amongst killers.
Leaving him dead, or lost to the wife and children he dearly loves.
In the midst of the dangerous deception comes a chance at the best sting of his life. The mob wants him to enter a maximum security prison, and take over its methamphetamine supply and distribution on their behalf. His underworld bosses think it will be a major coup, and so do his police employers. All he has to do is have his record adjusted to make him sound even more dangerous than he is, and then arrange to have him arrested on a bogus but heinous charge, and off to prison he goes, there to betray one set of friends for the other, and maybe get out of this double life once and for all. 

But it’s never that simple.
Just before the opportunity came a disaster — a killing Paula was only tangentally involved in, but involved enough to get a different side of the Stockholm police looking for him. That’s just enough heat to make the secretive portion of the police that handles him wonder if they should drop him rather than implicate themselves in his crimes on their behalf.
And if they drop him while he’s in prison — in an environment where found out snitches die rather quickly — there’s no way Paula could get out before angry inmates tore him apart
Except that Paula is no ordinary snitch, and no ordinary man. He can see the writing on the wall. He’s got plans within plans, and interesting areas of expertise that even his police employers are largely ignorant of…
If the police think they can play him and walk away clean, then they don’t know Paula. But readers of this fantastic follow-up to “Box 21” will not only know him, but root for him as the danger slow-burns to a riveting conclusion.
Fans of exotic thrillers should snap this book up as soon as they can. It is not, as the advertising would have you believe, “the next Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — it’s something altogether different and exciting, and hopefully a sign of more good things to come from the stellar writing team of Borge Hellstrom and Anders Roslund.
Three Seconds is not quite on our bookshelves yet. Their previous work, Box 21, is, but you do not have to have read it first in order to fully enjoy Three Seconds.

– Jim Tremlett, Eastwood

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