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Rachel-K
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Computers and thrillers
 
It can be difficult to get a sense of suspense when detectives are are often trying to boot up and break code on a laptop rather than break down doors--and Grens does both in our last chapters! What role does "information" stored in electronic databases play in our story?
How do the authors create suspense around these scenes?
How heavily do we rely upon it? How does the quest for "real" information play out in the novel?
In what ways does this reflect how we trust our sources of information in our daily lives? (All of us are certainly familiar with eagerly booting up!)
 
Grens' guilt
 
What has been consuming Grens all this time? How has his involvement with Piet Hoffmann's case been tied to his own past?
Piet Hoffmann 
 
When did you know Hoffmann was alive?
How do you picture Piet and Zofia's future? 
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dhaupt
Posts: 11,839
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

This was a great selection for FL

 

Okay Computer and thrillers

I think the authors did an outstanding job of pulling anxious emotions from readers, from me anyway. The way they did it was by leaving all those questions unanswered through out the novel and then wham bang answering them for us and still letting us fill in some of the blanks for ourselves. How they brought Piet back to life was amazing, the way they brought Sven and Erik together and how we saw little by little Erik come apart.

 

Grens' guilt

I am still unsure about the guilt that Grens has, I get that he "felt" responsible for his wife's injury and eventual death, but it was never made clear to me why he released himself from that guilt by comparing it to Piet's situation.

 

I knew Piet was alive when he crawled out of the pipe, I had my suspicions but was not sure

 

I HOPE that Piet and Zofia can reunite and relocate somewhere be safe and stay together. I hope and if we knew more about Zofia maybe I would be more confident in my belief but we don't know Zofia that well and I think that was also brilliant on the part of the authors to leave us with so many holes to fill.

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skibaer
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

By incorporating the thoughts of the characters, you can really sense their emotions. I was so wrapped up in the suspense I could barely put the book down at the end!

 

Grens blamed himself for the death of his wife. Working through the investigation, he was able to understand how he was not responsible for the events that occurred. Discovering that Hoffmann was alive gave Grens the understanding on why he couldn't let the investigation go.

 

Right from the sniper shooting, I wondered if Piet was alive. His actions were so meticulous up to that point, even though he was panicked. I did begin to wonder if I was incorrect, and then he showed back up.

 

I think Piet will look for Zofia and start life anew. He likely can't go back to assisting the police since he was burned and Wotjek would know he was an informant.

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DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Electronics proved invaluable in the conclusion of the book because there was a record of all the verbal and written transactions. Once accessed, the information could be copied, e-mailed, printed, and verified. It shows just how much of an electronic fingerprint we leave when we save something on a computer. These people never thought they would be caught, thinking that they had found a safe place. Thankfully, they hadn't destroyed the evidence, although I can't figure out why not. It totally hung them out to dry!

 

Grens was on a quest to clear his mind of the death of his wife. He needed to let go of the responsibility and grieve, then let her go. This case gave him an escape from that for a few moments then ultimately smacked him when he had to have the sniper "kill" Piet. He couldn't bear the responsibility of taking another human being's life that way. Once he started putting the pieces together, he found the people who were truly responsible and could let go. At that point, Ewert Grens could go to the cemetary and let her go. I loved the hated attorney being the first person he had into the apartment and how that wove into his staying there. Grens started living again.

 

I never thought Hoffman was dead. While I didn't know how he got out of the explosion, I was sure that there was more to using the rug on the prisoner. After reading his elaborate plan, I was amazed by his ability to think and plan so well.

 

I don't know if Piet and Zofia have a future. I think Zofia will always be wary of what Piet does and where he goes. The trust is something I don't think will be easy to rebuild.

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Bonnie824
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I hope Piet and Zophia have a future, for their children if nothing else. I feel he was a good dad and a good man and deserves a change at a nice safe life now.

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tjewell
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎09-05-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I must say that I really enjoyed the book.  As many have said, I had a little bit of difficulty getting into the book - but once I did - WOW.  The suspense was continuous.  I was devastated when Piet was killed.  I thought "How is this possible"  He was doing everything he had promised and then to be betrayed.... I wondered about the phone calls that he made - wondered if these were to Zofia and what she said to him. 

 

Then when Grens received the package with the recording etc, I began to wonder if Piet had called Zofia to have her send grens the package.  Yes, Grens continued to deal with the loss of his wife and then with the supposed lose of Piet.  Grens knew that Piet had been double crossed by the powers to be and was working on making this right.

 

I don't know when I first realized that Piet was still alive.  But I was quite surprised when it was revealed.  I was quite happy to hear it as I believe that all along I was supporting Piet and hoping that everything worked out for him.

 

I guess my hope for Piet is that he and zofia are reunited and live happily ever after - just like in the fairy tales.  I always try to see the good and believe that everyone is good but sometimes you just have to look behind their facade.

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wendyroba
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I loved the last 150 pages of this novel - I thought the tension was great (and I was cheering for Grens as he was able to crack the case). I knew Hoffman survived (I just wasn't sure HOW he had survived) because he had Zofia and his kids to live for...and he had planned for just this eventuality. I also think that faking his death was the only way for him to get clear of the mafia.

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elaine_hf
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

 


DSaff wrote:

Electronics proved invaluable in the conclusion of the book because there was a record of all the verbal and written transactions. Once accessed, the information could be copied, e-mailed, printed, and verified. It shows just how much of an electronic fingerprint we leave when we save something on a computer. These people never thought they would be caught, thinking that they had found a safe place. Thankfully, they hadn't destroyed the evidence, although I can't figure out why not. It totally hung them out to dry!

 

Grens was on a quest to clear his mind of the death of his wife. He needed to let go of the responsibility and grieve, then let her go. This case gave him an escape from that for a few moments then ultimately smacked him when he had to have the sniper "kill" Piet. He couldn't bear the responsibility of taking another human being's life that way. Once he started putting the pieces together, he found the people who were truly responsible and could let go. At that point, Ewert Grens could go to the cemetary and let her go. I loved the hated attorney being the first person he had into the apartment and how that wove into his staying there. Grens started living again.

 

I never thought Hoffman was dead. While I didn't know how he got out of the explosion, I was sure that there was more to using the rug on the prisoner. After reading his elaborate plan, I was amazed by his ability to think and plan so well.

 

I don't know if Piet and Zofia have a future. I think Zofia will always be wary of what Piet does and where he goes. The trust is something I don't think will be easy to rebuild.


 

I agree with so much of this post - great summary!! I also thought that Piet was alive; not because of any evidence, at first, but because I just felt like the story needed him to survive. Of course, once he came down from the pipes we knew it. Because he was with the prison guard near the time of the explosion, it seemed that he had a better than fair chance of survival, as he placed the guard in that location so that he would be safe.

 

I think that Grens needed to step back from his own life in order to see his wife's life and eventual death in perspective. While he was responsible for actually running over her head, the ultimate responsibility for her being in the situation that allowed that to occur lies elsewhere. As with Piet - as long as he felt that it was his decision to fire, he was going to blame himself. But when he saw more of the truth, he realized that he was just a pawn in a bigger game, and I think that led him to rethink his entire career, ultimately leading him to reconsider his wife's death.

 

This was such a great read! I can't wait to get my hands on more of this series.

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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clodia2
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


elaine_hf wrote:

 


DSaff wrote:

Electronics proved invaluable in the conclusion of the book because there was a record of all the verbal and written transactions. Once accessed, the information could be copied, e-mailed, printed, and verified. It shows just how much of an electronic fingerprint we leave when we save something on a computer. These people never thought they would be caught, thinking that they had found a safe place. Thankfully, they hadn't destroyed the evidence, although I can't figure out why not. It totally hung them out to dry!

 

Grens was on a quest to clear his mind of the death of his wife. He needed to let go of the responsibility and grieve, then let her go. This case gave him an escape from that for a few moments then ultimately smacked him when he had to have the sniper "kill" Piet. He couldn't bear the responsibility of taking another human being's life that way. Once he started putting the pieces together, he found the people who were truly responsible and could let go. At that point, Ewert Grens could go to the cemetary and let her go. I loved the hated attorney being the first person he had into the apartment and how that wove into his staying there. Grens started living again.

 

I never thought Hoffman was dead. While I didn't know how he got out of the explosion, I was sure that there was more to using the rug on the prisoner. After reading his elaborate plan, I was amazed by his ability to think and plan so well.

 

I don't know if Piet and Zofia have a future. I think Zofia will always be wary of what Piet does and where he goes. The trust is something I don't think will be easy to rebuild.


 

I agree with so much of this post - great summary!! I also thought that Piet was alive; not because of any evidence, at first, but because I just felt like the story needed him to survive. Of course, once he came down from the pipes we knew it. Because he was with the prison guard near the time of the explosion, it seemed that he had a better than fair chance of survival, as he placed the guard in that location so that he would be safe.

 

I think that Grens needed to step back from his own life in order to see his wife's life and eventual death in perspective. While he was responsible for actually running over her head, the ultimate responsibility for her being in the situation that allowed that to occur lies elsewhere. As with Piet - as long as he felt that it was his decision to fire, he was going to blame himself. But when he saw more of the truth, he realized that he was just a pawn in a bigger game, and I think that led him to rethink his entire career, ultimately leading him to reconsider his wife's death.

 

This was such a great read! I can't wait to get my hands on more of this series.


I agree with this assessment.  Although I didn't think Piet was dead, it didn't detract from the action at all, and I was waiting for him to show up.  I don't know about Zofia, I am stuck with how detached she seemed to be in the book. 

 

The one that I was still intrigued with to the end was Erik.  Which part was real?  His nonchalant attitude when confronted about Paula/Piet and the anger that Paula/Piet was burned without notifying him, or the "kinship" that's implied through the book? 

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literature
Posts: 499
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

 

 
Grens' guilt
Gren lived with the guilt of running over Anni for 29 years and even after her death, he still felt turmoil from within and didn't know how to deal with it.  The fact that he was now responsible for taking another life brought him to a breaking point that could easily send him over the edge.  The breakthough for Gren came when the case started unraveling and he realized that perhaps he didn't kill Hoffmann.   It was a jolt to his brain, a sorely needed one, for the healing process to begin.  Life was too valuable to be wasted.
 
When did you know Hoffmann was alive?
I posted earlier that it didn't seem possible that Hoffmann would allow himself to be killed.  He planned everything so strategically, left nothing unturned or to the imagination.  He knew down to the second the life of the bullet from the sniper's gun to impact.  Two seconds from when first released and I said that that still left one second with which to escape.  On page 212 he is examining "the pillar that was nearest to the window...He could stand there and be completely hidden."  He checked out the location of the barrel of diesel.  He knew that once the pillars fell,  the ceiling would follow.  He was confident that he would save Jacobsson by covering him with the rug.  Also, the fact that the sniper had to abort two times because Hoffman moved out of sight each time on the count of two.  I figured he was going over in his mind his escape plan.  Once the shot was fired and the explosion occurred, the black smoke from the burning diesel provided the necessary smoke screen for Hoffman to escape without being seen.  I just didn't know how he was going to get out of the building but knew it had to be an ingenious plan and it was at this point that I felt that he was still alive but hadn't a clue about the details.
How do you picture Piet and Zofia's future? 

We know so little about Zofia.  Obviously, whatever Hoffmann wrote to her in the note paid off.  Even though I never thought them to be particularly close, she did listen to him and followed his instructions.  Maybe we'll find out in a sequel how Piet's and Zofia's lives turned out.

 

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elaine_hf
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]

 


clodia2 wrote:

elaine_hf wrote:

 




I agree with this assessment.  Although I didn't think Piet was dead, it didn't detract from the action at all, and I was waiting for him to show up.  I don't know about Zofia, I am stuck with how detached she seemed to be in the book. 

 

The one that I was still intrigued with to the end was Erik.  Which part was real?  His nonchalant attitude when confronted about Paula/Piet and the anger that Paula/Piet was burned without notifying him, or the "kinship" that's implied through the book? 


(Bolding is mine)

 

I think that Erik and Zofia are the most intriguing characters in the book. Zofia, because we don't even hear her 'voice'. Literally, there can't be more than a few dozen spoken words from her and figuratively, we only see her as a wife and mother, there is so much more to her. We know that she must have sent the recording to the police, we see the results of her actions, but never see the actions themselves.

 

Erik, I agree, is hard to read. It would be easy to just take him at face value, but I would like to see a little more of him as well.

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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nfam
Posts: 231
Registered: ‎01-08-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

Feeling responsibility for events when those events go wrong creates a huge sense of guilt. Grens had spent years feeling guilty for the death of his wife. He felt the responsibility heavily. From the description of the accident, it appears that he couldn't have prevented it. At least, we have no information that he was responsible. 

 

Finding that he wasn't responsible for killing an innocent man, that he was at the mercy of events he couldn't control made a huge difference in his outlook. Realizing that he had been the tool of his superiors gave him a great boost in understanding the limits of his guilt. I found Grens a tremendously interesting character. I was glad he found redemption through a tragic situation. 

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fordmg
Posts: 546
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


Rachel-K wrote:
Computers and thrillers
 
It can be difficult to get a sense of suspense when detectives are are often trying to boot up and break code on a laptop rather than break down doors--and Grens does both in our last chapters! What role does "information" stored in electronic databases play in our story?
How do the authors create suspense around these scenes?
How heavily do we rely upon it? How does the quest for "real" information play out in the novel?
In what ways does this reflect how we trust our sources of information in our daily lives? (All of us are certainly familiar with eagerly booting up!)
 
Grens' guilt
 
What has been consuming Grens all this time? How has his involvement with Piet Hoffmann's case been tied to his own past?
Piet Hoffmann 
 
When did you know Hoffmann was alive?
How do you picture Piet and Zofia's future? 

Gren - is really a strange personality.  I had trouble pictureing him.  He never seemed to go home, slept on the couch in his office, sat on the floor in his office.  Did he ever change cloths?

He does most of his work in the middle of the night..........I could understand why co-workers tried to avoid him.  Despite all this, he does have a good track record for solving cases.  He seems to feel guilty about not solving cases, he feels responsible for his wife's death, and then he was 'responsible' for Hoffmann's death.   He was disfunctional in his private life, while he poured all his energy into police work.  Hard person to figure out, but he seems to get closure at the end of the book. 

 

When he is looking at the tape feed and sees Hoffmann walking out as a guard, he is relieved that he didn't actually kill him.  The guard who was punched out by Hoffmann also seems to recognize him and do nothing.  I think he wanted him to go free because he felt guilty about letting the lawyer in and being forced to release him back into the prision community. 

 

Piet Hoffmann - I just knew from the beginning of the book that he would survive.  I didn't know HOW he would do it, but he was meticulous about everything, and knew he had 3 seconds, so I figured he had some plan.  I was surprised by how he did it, but I knew he would.

I do not have a feel for Zofia at all.  She is an undeveloped character.  I was surprised that the entire upper crust of the police system would be caught and prosecuted.  Then when Hoffmann calls Wilson and says mission accomplished - that is the perfect ending.  Liked that alot.


MG

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fordmg
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel


clodia2 wrote:

elaine_hf wrote:

 


DSaff wrote:

Electronics proved invaluable in the conclusion of the book because there was a record of all the verbal and written transactions. Once accessed, the information could be copied, e-mailed, printed, and verified. It shows just how much of an electronic fingerprint we leave when we save something on a computer. These people never thought they would be caught, thinking that they had found a safe place. Thankfully, they hadn't destroyed the evidence, although I can't figure out why not. It totally hung them out to dry!

 

Grens was on a quest to clear his mind of the death of his wife. He needed to let go of the responsibility and grieve, then let her go. This case gave him an escape from that for a few moments then ultimately smacked him when he had to have the sniper "kill" Piet. He couldn't bear the responsibility of taking another human being's life that way. Once he started putting the pieces together, he found the people who were truly responsible and could let go. At that point, Ewert Grens could go to the cemetary and let her go. I loved the hated attorney being the first person he had into the apartment and how that wove into his staying there. Grens started living again.

 

I never thought Hoffman was dead. While I didn't know how he got out of the explosion, I was sure that there was more to using the rug on the prisoner. After reading his elaborate plan, I was amazed by his ability to think and plan so well.

 

I don't know if Piet and Zofia have a future. I think Zofia will always be wary of what Piet does and where he goes. The trust is something I don't think will be easy to rebuild.


 

I agree with so much of this post - great summary!! I also thought that Piet was alive; not because of any evidence, at first, but because I just felt like the story needed him to survive. Of course, once he came down from the pipes we knew it. Because he was with the prison guard near the time of the explosion, it seemed that he had a better than fair chance of survival, as he placed the guard in that location so that he would be safe.

 

I think that Grens needed to step back from his own life in order to see his wife's life and eventual death in perspective. While he was responsible for actually running over her head, the ultimate responsibility for her being in the situation that allowed that to occur lies elsewhere. As with Piet - as long as he felt that it was his decision to fire, he was going to blame himself. But when he saw more of the truth, he realized that he was just a pawn in a bigger game, and I think that led him to rethink his entire career, ultimately leading him to reconsider his wife's death.

 

This was such a great read! I can't wait to get my hands on more of this series.


I agree with this assessment.  Although I didn't think Piet was dead, it didn't detract from the action at all, and I was waiting for him to show up.  I don't know about Zofia, I am stuck with how detached she seemed to be in the book. 

 

The one that I was still intrigued with to the end was Erik.  Which part was real?  His nonchalant attitude when confronted about Paula/Piet and the anger that Paula/Piet was burned without notifying him, or the "kinship" that's implied through the book? 


Erik's reaction to Piet's death....That made sense after I thought about it.  He didn't believe he was dead at first, and so had to put up his front of not admitting to any info, when it finally stuck him that the higher ups had burned his agent without his knowledge and when he was out of the country, he tacidly gave the info that Gren's needed.  He commented 'to himself' that he was already missing Piet.  Then he was surprised when Piet's private phone rang.  What a stunner. 

 

MG

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crazylilcuban
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]
I think that the authors did a great job of still making the scenes where Grens is searching for info suspenseful; once I got into Part 3, I literally couldn't put the book down even though some of the "action" quieted down near the end. It took me a while to read the first 250 pages or so, but I managed to finish the last 250 in a day because I just HAD to know what happened next each time I flipped a page! In some ways, I think it's almost more suspenseful when the action is a little slower (like when Grens is trying to get to the info) because I know for me, I was on the edge of my seat going "Almost there! " knowing that the info was so close to him. I think the book was a great commentary on how things are not always as real as they seem to be, even in our day and age where there is so much accessible to us; also, that it could be as simple as a click and suddenly someone's existence could be wiped off the map. Scary thought.

As for Grens... guilt is really his big issue the whole time, and it's what has been consuming him for years. Specifically, it's his guilt about the accident/death of his wife (at least I think she was actually his wife. if not, then girlfriend.) His involvement with Piet's case near the end is an issue of his guilt over another person's fate coming back to haunt him. When we're finally told that Grens was at least partly responsible for her death (though I guess it's more an allusion to it), I was really surprised but it really made events fall into place better.

I didn't actually "know" Piet was still alive until the moment we come across him in the pipe, but I had my hopes that he would be. His plans and actions up to the moment of his death had been so deliberate and carefully thought out that I just couldn't be okay with the idea that he just let them shoot him and that was that. I don't feel like we learn enough about Zofia to really know what will happen with the two of them, but she did follow his plan to leave and send the package to Grens, and I'm hopeful that their future is one that sees them together as a family again.

Wow. This book was amazing. Thanks for the opportunity to read it and be a part of these great discussions!
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crazylilcuban
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

 


fordmg wrote:
Erik's reaction to Piet's death....That made sense after I thought about it.  He didn't believe he was dead at first, and so had to put up his front of not admitting to any info, when it finally stuck him that the higher ups had burned his agent without his knowledge and when he was out of the country, he tacidly gave the info that Gren's needed.  He commented 'to himself' that he was already missing Piet.  Then he was surprised when Piet's private phone rang.  What a stunner. 

 

MG


I agree. At first, I was really pissed of at Erik's reaction because I thought this was really his chance to redeem himself and show he could be an okay guy but after I thought about it, he probably had to be callous at first because he couldn't be sure that Piet was actually dead. He couldn't just admit anything without really knowing. That phone call was the perfect end to the story.

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

 

The way they were able to manipulate information made me wonder about everthing we see online! What about WikiLeaks, for instance, could that information have been manipulated too, as well as leaked? With the right people behind the scenes, it would seem that anything is possible. We know the info was leaked but do we know if it is real or accurate? Do we know if it has been changed. This "information age" we live in, can be dangerous in so many ways.The technology can be used for good and evil. We all have to hope that those who are so well versed in it will also be well versed in right and wrong and know the difference! The genie is out of the bottle and it won't go back in without kicking and screaming!

Rachel-K wrote:
Computers and thrillers
 
It can be difficult to get a sense of suspense when detectives are are often trying to boot up and break code on a laptop rather than break down doors--and Grens does both in our last chapters! What role does "information" stored in electronic databases play in our story?
How do the authors create suspense around these scenes?
How heavily do we rely upon it? How does the quest for "real" information play out in the novel?
In what ways does this reflect how we trust our sources of information in our daily lives? (All of us are certainly familiar with eagerly booting up!)
 

 

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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

[ Edited ]

Piet's use of the church, so near the cemetery, was fortuitous for Ewert. It made him come face to face with his horror of the place the cemetery represented. He never even went to his wife's funeral because he couldn't face her death or his responsibility for it. He blamed himself.

 

When he thought he had also been responsible for Piet's death, he was beside himself. When he realized how he had been manipulated by the system to do what he had done, he set out to make the guilty ones pay and free his conscience of that burden of guilt. With that freedom came the knowledge that he wasn't really guilty in the accident with his wife either. There was nothing he could have done. They were working and the system was once again to blame.

 

He could face life for the first time in years and stop grieving. He could visit her gravesite and face the future without her.

 

However, when I learned how Grens was involved in his wife's accident, I was horrified. I wondered how anyone could live with themselves after doing something like that and I understood his withdrawal and pain. Even if it was a guiltless, accidental act, he loved her so much that it caused him pain every waking moment of his life. He couldn't face what he had done and who could blame him once they knew what he had lived through. I was glad that in the end, he found peace.

 


Rachel-K wrote:
 
Grens' guilt
 
What has been consuming Grens all this time? How has his involvement with Piet Hoffmann's case been tied to his own past?

 

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tweezle
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I'm behind and am trying to finish. The holidays are sucking up more of my time than I anticipated. This is such an exciting book - I can't wait to finish it!!

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” - Mason Cooley
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vpenning
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Re: Three Seconds: Last Chapters and Whole Novel

I knew Piet was alive from the moment the bomb went off. The foreshadowing that the author did in creating the character, and setting up the little details that Piet did before he went into prison gave me a clue. But, when he started to time the shots, and looked exactly for the moment, I knew he what he was planning.

 

I picture their future the way I would hope most folks would have. Love, and happiness. Perhaps in a place with no worries except whether they are late for their kids soccer game.