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fordmg
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
 I AM NOT READY TO JUDGE THE CHARACTERS YET.  IT SEEMS THAT THERE IS NOT A DEFINING LINE BETWEEN 'GOOD GUYS AND BAD GUYS'. 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
NOT SURE ABOUT THIS.  I HAD TROUBLE GETTING INTO THE STORY AT FIRST.  IT TOOK ME A FEW PAGES TO GET A FEEL FOR WHAT WAS GOING ON, BUT THEN THE STORY FLOWED.  IF THE AUTHOR DIDN'T START WITH THE 'MULES' THEN WE WOULD NEVER SEE THEIR STORY AT ALL.
MG
 
 

 

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mommybooknerd
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters? I think that everyone has a bit of good and bad in each of them, but that is all about your perception.  Is it wrong to over look one crime to solve a bigger one?  It is all your point of view!
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
I think that they are all trying to find there way and to do their job to the best of their abliltiy!
 
What do we get of Grens' background? How would you describe his police work? What does it mean that he has boxed up his cassettes?  I am curious about what happened to him to close him off so much and turn himself into a workaholic.
 
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
So many questions with so much speculation...we will have to keep reading to know for sure
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character? I love Piet and Gren's determination and mystery
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?  To set the pace of the book, draws us into the world they are in...
 
You are the author of your own life story.
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avalonpriestess
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Debbie wrote:

Grens/ a mystery- a combination of the Pink Panther, Colombo and Sherlock Holmes

-------------------------------

 

I love this!  I'm rereading the story with this vision of Grens.  I viewed Grens as an Ellery Queen sort of character but I like Columbo better!

 

I am also suspending judgement about the characters.  I can't really figure out who is 'good' and who is 'bad' at this point.

 

Piet seems to have the most to lose, but he is my favorite character so far.  Erik I can't figure out- I think he walks a fine line between good/bad.

 

I liked the way the book began with the  Polish mule.  At first I felt sorry for him, I still do. We all make whatever choices we need to get by..some are foolish.

 

Donna

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mommybooknerd
Posts: 178
Registered: ‎08-04-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I actually went online to look up pictures of Stockholm and other places they speak of to get a better sense of what it looks like there, so I felt more connected to the book and characters.  It was out of my point of reference and when I did that it made the story so much richer!

You are the author of your own life story.
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avalonpriestess
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

DonnaS wrote:

My favorite supporting character so far is Zofia. While she is playing the part of the loving, unsuspecting wife and mother, I think there is more to her. I don't think she believes all the lies, but also don't think she knows the truth. I only hope she stays on the good side of things.

_______________________________________

 

Interesting choice.  I didn't think of Zofia as a major player so far.  Remember the movie True Lies? (Arnold Schwartzenegger is a secret gov't agent and his quiet mousey wife ends up becoming his partner?) hmmm...

 

Donna

 

 

 

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nbmars
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 



 

 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
i found it very confusing in the beginning sorting out who is who and what is what!  It didn't help that so many sections started with "He [did whatever]..." not telling you yet which "he" they were talking about!
 
What do we get of Grens' background? How would you describe his police work? What does it mean that he has boxed up his cassettes?
Grens is very confusing to me. I imagine he has boxed up his cassettes because he is trying to forget his past, whatever that entailed. But I looked up the authors books and discovered that Grens was in a previous book and I think that if I had read that, I would probably know what was going on with him better.  
 
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
 
Erik is another confusing character.  I don't think we know anything at all about him!  I imagine he is in the U.S. for an international training exercise, although it doesn't seem he is participating all that much!

 

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MBSpencer
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

The authors have me now!  I feel Pier Hoffmann's love for Zofia and his children.  I feel his dedication to his profession.  I'm to that point with Pier where my inner reader is begging me to look at the back and see if all ends well.  This is my one of my barometers for a good read.  Of course, my lunch hour is over and I must wait.  Is delayed gratification the adrenaline of a thirsty reader?

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maxcat
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

This book is very complicated and challenging at the same time. It does challenge my expectations as far as good guys/bad guys. Through this first section, I didn't trust anyone, not even Piet. He evidently works for Erik Wilson in trying to infiltrate a prison with addictive drugs and get the prisoners on some addictive substances. Nothing is really cut and dry in this section and I find myself a bit overwhelmed by the somewhat blurriness of the different cities and languages. I think the opening scene was meant to be a shocker, an opening into the drug dealing markets across Europe.

Some scenes are sensitive and needed to be toned down, others were descriptive in a very good way. Grens, for instance, haunted by his wife's death and the packing up of her favorite music and her pictures. To me, this meant he was going to leave the police force but the opening murder puts a hold on everything. He is out to find this murderer with a vengence and he too does not trust anyone. I think it was even mentioned that you trust no onebut yourself a couple of times.

Mule? Yes I have to agree with the one statement as that is how everything is presented right now.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Lis49
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

The sections start out with the pronoun he and it is difficult to determine which character the authors are talking about.  I assume that this is to heighten the suspense.  I was unable to make decisions about the characters until later in the book.  The major characters are hard to pin down.  Grens is a by the book, persistent guy who never gives up.  He is sad and has had a tragedy in his life.  He is suffering and has no support group to help him.  He takes his suffering out on everyone else.  His effort to remove his music indicates that he is making an effort to move on.  Erik is getting special training that the others are not.  He has a more "end justifies the means point of view".  He is getting training in how to handle criminal infiltrators.  I like Grens--he reminds me of Wallander, another Swedish detective.

The Polish mules are used to show how pitiful and prone to playing the victim role some of the "criminals" are.

Lis49
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DSaff
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I think that's why I like her character - the possibility of lots of layers like an onion.  :smileywink:


avalonpriestess wrote:

DonnaS wrote:

My favorite supporting character so far is Zofia. While she is playing the part of the loving, unsuspecting wife and mother, I think there is more to her. I don't think she believes all the lies, but also don't think she knows the truth. I only hope she stays on the good side of things.

_______________________________________

 

Interesting choice.  I didn't think of Zofia as a major player so far.  Remember the movie True Lies? (Arnold Schwartzenegger is a secret gov't agent and his quiet mousey wife ends up becoming his partner?) hmmm...

 

Donna

 

 

 


 

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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sarah223
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I just recieved my book in the mail about 2 minutes ago! Can't wait to read it!!! :smileyhappy:

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lisapt
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

It seems to me that really the bad guys are all bad. The are the high level drug dealers and the low level folks suppling drugs for money. However, some of these people are infultraters. I wondered, in the first section, if the mule was also an infiltrator. It will be interesting to see if he shows up again. In the scene where the drug buyer turned out to police, I started to wonder if everyone on the room was really working for diffent police forces. On the side of the good guys the lines are defiantly more blurry. Some of them may well be criminal infultrating the other side. It is also interesting how the different good guys, either their institutions or individually, are fighting each other. It always frustrates me that various governments and institutions within the same governemt can't cooperate more when they claim to have the same goals. I have to admit to getting a bit lost in the scenes where there was head-hopping, or POV shifts. I tend to like an author to pick a person for a point of view and stick with it for the entire scene, it helps me to keep track of whose head I'm in. I like that Gren seems to be taking a step back to the real world. We are seeing him at the beginning of a new phase of his life and it will be interesting on how he handles it. He seems very obessive. I doubt he will be willing to play too many little games with the law. It seemed the other people he worked with really respected him. I enjoyed seeing how seriously everyone took the murder of a man. In so many books, and other media, killing someone is just brushed off. It doesn't really effect the charters beyond a shurg and a "oh well."
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mv5ocean
Posts: 114
Registered: ‎12-03-2008

Re: Three Seconds: Part One


How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?  Well it already seems that good and bad guys are simply a fantasy title in this book because some of the seemingly good characters turn around to shock you in the next chapter. :smileysurprised:  I think that we assume good = good and bad = bad but so far we are learning that even the best characters have moments where they either consider or adopt "bad" ideals and vice versa.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?  The "mules" have been most intriguing to me as they are down on their luck and willing to undergo a terrible process in order to earn money out of desperation.  We note the mule who introduced us to the story even said he was terrified and saying he wouldn't do it again as he already knew he would forget soon and go right back.
 
Piet strikes me as a man who truly wants to get completely away from this whole scene and love his wife and children but is so much in the thick of things now he has to involved them in his lies and it is tortuous to him. 
 
What do we get of Grens' background? How would you describe his police work? What does it mean that he has boxed up his cassettes?
At this time I'm assuming he has boxed up his cassettes as a statement that he absolutely must move on from his grief which has obsessed him for so long. 
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
I believe the sole reason the book starts off this way is ----- fear! The author wants you to actually feel the nervous energy, the sickness, the anxiety and all of the feelings that the mule is experiencing and to jar you into the reality of this underworld right off.
 
 

 

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high96
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


mv5ocean wrote:

 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
I believe the sole reason the book starts off this way is ----- fear! The author wants you to actually feel the nervous energy, the sickness, the anxiety and all of the feelings that the mule is experiencing and to jar you into the reality of this underworld right off.
 
 

 

Yes! I was thinking that as well.
The mule "had to do it, keep it all down, or else- he knew the way things worked- he was dead man."
Then in several subsequent passages the authors have Piet show his fear of being the 'dead man' and his fear of losing himself to "bad morals" and losing his wife's trust and love. 
Grens is afraid of death. He did not attend his wife's funeral. He keeps visiting the care facility where she lived because he can't let her go to that final place. He holds onto her cassettes and mementos because he is reliving a life that is over. 
The buyer who was killed was afraid of death and made a mistake in saying he was police, thinking that would stop his death. 


 

"I don't like secrets! All this cooking, and reading, and TV watching, while we... read and cook! It's like you're involving me in crime, and I let you! Why do I let you?" --Emile in "Ratatouille"
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Caffrey
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

It is very difficult to label anyone as a "Good Guy" or "Bad Guy". As in life, everything is all about persepective. I am sure that everyone has picked their favorite character(s) and is silently cheering that they suceed in their endeavors.

My personal favorite is Pief. He is a character that is very easy to like. He is the man that is caught in the middle. All he wants to do is be with his family and keep them safe. He is a very interesting character because his worlds have begun to blend. He is a father, a husband, a convict, a criminal, and a double agent.

 

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Caffrey
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I think your idea of every character being a "mule" is fantastic! I completely agree with you. Each character is holding within them their own private "cargo" full of longings, secrets, and motives....

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vpenning
Posts: 71
Registered: ‎11-03-2009

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


 

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
 This is not my normal genre, so my expectations of what is good and bad guy are based on what has been drawn by other areas of literature. In many other areas, the bad guy is not always so cut and dry, but rather a tease to the reader as to what might be in store further down the line. Some antagonists, however, are pretty stereotypical with their deeds clearly defining them as anti-social and abhorrent. This one is more the former method, giving the reader a chance to explore the different sides of evil, and the greyer sides of good.
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
 
What do we get of Grens' background? How would you describe his police work? What does it mean that he has boxed up his cassettes?
Grens background it seems to me to be one of years of good detective work marred by a tragedy. HIs boxing up the cassettes symbolizes to me what one of the characters surmised, he was boxing away a part of his life, and making a new beginning.... perhaps finally reaching the last stage of grief...acceptance.
 
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?

Erik's background appears to be one of secrecy. One linked to organizations like those he saw training in the US. Organizations such as CIA or FBI. But, his clout isn't as extensive as an agency such as that, as he does not override the police that were in the room when discussing the fate of Piet. He does, however, have information and access to areas of both sides of the law, so it makes one wonder exactly where he falls in the hierarchy of the law. I believe he was in the US studying methods that would help his countrymen.
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?

Not at present. I am most drawn to the main characters.
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
The mule is a symbol of desperation. Either a junky, or a college student strapped for cash...this occupation brings in those who have no other choice. This symbolizes Piets life in a nutshell. He has no choice. He wants a life that is free of crime and one that is filled with family and future dreams. But, in order to get there, he has been backed into a corner that has only one choice. Desperate to fulfill his dreams, he has to do something that is abhorrent, and dangerous-just like the job of the mule.
 
 

 

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JamesterCK
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Well, I'm only about half way through Part 1 (I have a 3 year old that doesn't like me to read, lol), but I am really liking the book already! I definitely like Piet, even though you know he has done bad things in the past, and he does cause that other guy that was undercover to get killed. But he has a family, and it seems like he's trying to do the right thing...so far anyway. Grens definitely takes his job seriously; I think it would be extremely hard to function carrying around all of that guilt about the woman that died, but he appears to be doing well and I think he's at least attempting to let go of the pain by boxing up the cassettes. Ok, well I'm going to get back to (trying) to read so I can participate more!

Jamie"Bookerella" Kline
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jtyra0425
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I too had a difficult time following who the characters were in the beginning. As the book has gone on, I have been able to seperate who is who.

 I think that Hoffman is struggling with life in general, not just because of his "double" life, but just life.  Really we all deal with this struggle...we aren't the same people we are at home that we are in the workplace.  Perhaps none of us have this big of a split, telling flat out lies, keeping secrets...but we do have seperate lives. 

Jodi Tyra
"Children have a short time to grow and a lifetime to live with the results" MAGIC Foundation Motto
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Passie71
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
It is hard to distinguish between who the good guys are vs who the bad guys are.  You have "Paula" or "Piet" that at one time was a bad guy but is now trying to put the bad guys away.  But he is?  I feel there may be some twist and turns as we continue reading.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
Gren is tough as nails on the outside, but is a softie on the inside.  I like the sections that deal with how he continues to handle his wife's death.
Hoffman seems to be a very dangerous man in his past but is also portrayed as a great dad and husband. 
Wilson appears to be your every day cop but with hidden agendas for his own cause.  I don't feel that he has been portrayed as a "person" yet.  Not too much has been shared of his life outside of work.
 
What do we get of Grens' background? How would you describe his police work? What does it mean that he has boxed up his cassettes?
As stated above I enjoy Gren's character.  He is not going to give up until the killer is caught.  His mind never seems to stop working weather it is about the investigation or his wife.
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
I can not recall much about Wilson just what I stated above.  He seems to get lost between the other characters.
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Not at this time.
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
Opening the novel this way grabbed my interest immediately.  I had never heard of such a thing before.  This was shocking to me until I thought about it.  Some people will do anything to make money so why not destroy your body.  This concept amazes me and has opened my eyes to the bad world of drugs and how low some people will sink.  It is very sad to me.
In general, I am enjoying this novel and looking forward to Part II.  Although, I wish this book would have come as an ebook--I am missing my Nook!
Staci