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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


elaine_hf wrote:

 


BookWoman718 wrote:

elaine_hf wrote:

 

 I think Erik is the least trustworthy of the bunch. He's involved in some way in military/spy training, then he appears as Piet's attorney, if I'm not mistaken - what exactly is he?? And who's side is he on?? We think it's Piet's, but can we be certain at this point? He's all in favor of Piet serving time and setting up the drug connections in prison, I have a hard time believing that he's so altruistic.

 


Erik is a policeman and he is also Piet's 'handler' - not his attorney.  He speaks on behalf of Piet to the govt officials because as a police detective they will look to him to provide the rationale;  they trust him as they could not trust Piet.   So far his actions lead us to believe he is a 'good guy' if you want to look at the surface.  He is handling Piet in the line of duty - to root out and contain the expansion of the Polish mafia into prisons.  Everything he has done seems to be in furtherance of that goal, and he has acted skillfully to both check out Piet's story of the murder and to set up the one they will use to place Piet in prison.  I don't see his working with Piet as 'altruistic' - it's his job.  He recruited Piet in order to use him to 'get inside' the Polish mafia.  They both understand that.  It's not a friendship.  It's a working relationship and so far there's no indication that Piet was coerced into it.  He, too, wants to get the job done.  If they are successful, the main payoff will be psychic;  the excitement of winning a tough battle.  The job promotion for Erik that might come as a result would be, I think, something of a distinct secondary reward.  Whatever it is that Piet wants to get out of it, besides the satisfaction of winning in a very tough game,  he is also conflicted with his fears for his family and his desire to be with them, to be living without lies, and in safety.


 

Yes, I agree with what you said, and I see now where my error is - I knew that Erik was Piet's handler, but on page 122, the 3rd paragraph says, "Erik Wilson, the defense lawyer in this trial, cleared his throat." That was really just a figure of speech that I read too quickly. But I would still contend that Mr. Wilson wears many hats - he's abroad in the start of the book, now he's back home - and I'm not ready to say that I think he's simply what is portrayed on the surface. Oh well, all of this will hopefully start to play out in the next section.


Wilson could be a non-practicing Attorney,with his License to Practice Law..He represented Piet....I believe he does wear many hats..Its not that uncommon,even for PO to have their Law Degree ,but decide to become PO,probably Dectective First Class or Higher..

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One-PARALLELS


literature wrote:

 


Vermontcozy wrote:

thewanderingjew wrote:

 

I am late to the reading because of some unexpected personal issues so I am not yet prepared to answer the questions, but I have noticed some parallells in the descriptions of some of the characters as they have been introduced.

 

The mule was standing at the railing on the boat, watching the water. He was frightened.

Ewert Grens stopped his car on the bridge and looked at the water, searching for peace.

 

The mule could not sleep .

Erik Wilson found sleep eluding him. He was lonely.

 

Ewert Grens was consumed with love for his wife. He was lonely for his deceased wife.

Piet Hoffman was consumed with love for his wife. He was lonely for his wife when he traveled.

 

Ewert Grens stayed in his office all night. sleeping dressed, on the hard floor.

Piet Hoffman lied down on the hard hotel bed, fully clothed.

 

Has anyone else noticed any other similarities? I wondered if they were intentional and would have greater meaning later on or were they merely accidental.

 


I think Borge and Anders meant this to be intentional..To see the Human side...Not a word or sentence is accidental, in "3" Seconds..Its very tightly and deliberately  written ..132 pages of an enormous amount of information...


I noticed the comparisons and they are intentional.  Everything in this book is written for a purpose.  As written above "it's very tightly and deliberately written".  There is a lot of repeated thoughts.  Paula reminding himself to be in control, Piet about how he longs for Zofia and how much he loves those two little boys.  Gren how much he misses Anni and always thinking about Siw Malmkvist.  Paula kept thinking one shot, two exits.  Krantz keeps thinking one entrance wound from one shot,  Paula, one part amphetamine to two parts grape sugar.  The bullet, half lead and half titanium.  Even the small red plastic fire engine in the driveway was mentioned a few times.  How many times did Piet mention that he is a nobody.   We read these facts so many times that we can't forget them and, for me, it adds so much more to the intrigue.  I love their use of the italics. I find myself reading this book very slowly and then discussing with myself about what I just read. 

 


 I am also being careful not to miss anything..Even a phrase or an innuendo,can be important.All you have stated above,,.Next week is a short Part 2,,probably a great deal of information..Will know over the weekend  Monday should be interesting...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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laoliver67
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

As in life, the book blurs the lines between good guys and bad guys.  I would have a difficult time at this point classifying Hoffmann as a good guy or a bad guy because he walks that tightrope between two worlds.  I can't quite figure out Wilson yet, but I'm interested to find out more.  Grens is an interesting guy.  I think something must have hit home when he was told to leave the nursing home and never hit home.  Underneath his anger, his boxing up of the tapes indicates he is attempting to move forward from his wife's death.  I think playing the music made him feel that his wife was still with him & I found his co-worker's relief upon seeing the tapes put away humorous.  As an investigator, he is clearly thorough and old school.  This case may represent his moving forward and, perhaps, moving on.

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Deltadawn
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Sorry for joining the conversation a little late in the week - I had fallen behind a bit in the reading but now am mostly caught up! Of course, once I started, I found it difficult to stop. This book is so compelling and intriguing- it's difficult to put down.

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
This novel definitely challenges expectations of good guys and bad guys. The infiltrators are ultimately working for "good" - to get solid evidence and bring down criminals - but inevitably they get caught up in the culture of crime and violence to the point of participation. It is also difficult to know the true intentions of each and every character. Therefore, I definitely am suspending judgment of characters.
 
 
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 seems extremely dedicated - both to his now deceased wife and to his job. The fact that he boxed up his cassettes signifies that he realizes it is time for him to move on in his life - at least to stop living in the past.
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 in charge of undercover operations - specifically the assignment that Piet is assigned to.  I can't really decide if he is trustworthy yet - haven't quite figured him out....I believe he was in the US for some kind of training...
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Like others have said, Piet's family - his wife Zofia and his children.
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
It gets you right into the ugly truth of this world. well, at least that aspect of it.

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cubicleblindnessKM
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One-PARALLELS

in response to Vermontcozy's similiarities post:

 

In my opinion I think you gave me an epiphany in ways after reading this post. I was having a lot of trouble reading this first section feeling it was so full of things happening and jumping back and forth that I had a really hard time with the first 50 or so pages. But now that you mention these similiarities I 100% agree and I even think that this is partly what was throwing me off in the beginning of the book. I kept thinking "didn't I already read this part" "are we still talking about the same guy" because of these similiarities I found myself getting the characters confused! After page 50 when we got to see more of the outside life and the families was the part that I finally started getting the different characters straight.

Thank you for the insight on that, I think it's going to really help me understand the rest of this novel. And pay a little more attention to the details, there are a lot of details in this one.

 

--also on that picture of the gun, looks pretty heavy! Technology today has done wonders with guns

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cubicleblindnessKM
Posts: 28
Registered: ‎10-07-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?

 

I've decided that the author opens the book with the mules, because this act/job is the one thing that is going to bring all the characters together. I think that throughout this book we are going to see that everything is going to lead back to this night and the events that happened.

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hawk4ever
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One-PARALLELS

Thanks for pointing out all of these similarities.  As I have read this, I thought they sounded like they were on the same paths, but never tied all of the similarities together like you have.  I will have to absorb more of the details as I read, instead of waiting for the light bulb to go on after the fact.

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amomthatlovestoread
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I too had a difficult with this first Part.  Things seem to be moving a little more smoothly now that all the characters (I hope) have been introduced.

I think that Hoffman is going to struggle because he is trying to live a double life. 

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


BookWoman718 wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

Do you have a favorite supporting character?

Not a favorite by any shot, at least not yet, but the "mysterious" supporting character to me at this point is Mariana Hermansson. 

 

 

Having already read the authors' previous book, "Box 21"  I am keeping an eye on Mariana.  She was seen by Grens as a young officer with exceptional potential.  I wouldn't be surprised to see more of her, especially if the plot begins to cover more of Grens and company's activities once Piet is inside prison. 


 

Thanks for the insight, Bookwoman!

 

On page 100 we read, "You want the same solution as for Maria?"  I haven't figured out who "Maria" is and wondered if that also related to another book/story.

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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meme1
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

[ Edited ]

 


Rachel-K wrote:
How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?  I'm struggling with who are the good versus bad guys.  I want to think that "Paula" is one of the good guys, but I see him as willing to try to live two lives - his "undercover" work and his family life (and not honest in his family life).  
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?  Grens = dedicated and tenacious    Erik Wilson = slippery    "Paula" = caught between his undercover work and family
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?  Zofia  = loves Piet but I think she is astute and believes there's more that what he is telling her
 
 

 

meme

~~ Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

~~ Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
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thewanderingjew
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 

I think that opening the novel from the perspective of the frightened mule, drops us right into the middle of the story and introduces us to the mob that the police are working so hard to  expose. It sets us up to see another perspective on drug crimes and It gives us another perspective on the mules, as well. Why are they subjecting themselves to such danger? The mules are victimized by the mob since they are almost blackmailed into helping them. The mob preys on their weaknesses, encourages their habit and preys on other innocent victims outside of the prisons, too. It shows that the mob doesn't care how they infiltrate society. They will use any means...again, does the means justify the end? It seems to be a theme that keeps coming back to me. If they keep turning us into drug addicts, one way or another, they are successful at what they do? Does that justify their efforts even though we don't like the results?
Rachel-K wrote:
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
 

 

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IandSsmom
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

[ Edited ]

I feel much better after reading everyone's comments that I'm not the only one struggling with this beginning. I'm definitely forging ahead with it because it seems like my kind of book!

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calb15
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm having a lot of problems with the names, keeping up with all the background story.   I'm still debating how it's gonna work, who is who, and if they are good or bad.  

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calb15
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I think Piet it's so complex, he's my favorite so far, I can't imagine how can he do it, and how he's gonna keep his wife out of the reality of his life.

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dj5775
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I also have been having difficulty with the brginning, however as it progresses I find it easier to follow. The foreign names have been tough to follow but again the further I get the easier it becomes.

ct
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JaneM
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One-PARALLELS


CubicleBlindness wrote:

in response to Vermontcozy's similiarities post:

 

In my opinion I think you gave me an epiphany in ways after reading this post. I was having a lot of trouble reading this first section feeling it was so full of things happening and jumping back and forth that I had a really hard time with the first 50 or so pages. But now that you mention these similiarities I 100% agree and I even think that this is partly what was throwing me off in the beginning of the book. I kept thinking "didn't I already read this part" "are we still talking about the same guy" because of these similiarities I found myself getting the characters confused! After page 50 when we got to see more of the outside life and the families was the part that I finally started getting the different characters straight.

Thank you for the insight on that, I think it's going to really help me understand the rest of this novel. And pay a little more attention to the details, there are a lot of details in this one.

 

--also on that picture of the gun, looks pretty heavy! Technology today has done wonders with guns


I agree with Cubicle that I struggled with the first 50+ pages, mostly due to confusion with the characters and similarities.  As always, thanks to TWJ for pointing out what we so often miss!

Jane M.
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Marsha64
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I know I'm a bit late, it's been along week.

This has been a very interesting book so far. The amount of detail is amazing.

I see a lot of similarities between Hoffmann and Gren. Both on opposite ends of the good and bad, and very similar at the same time. Still trying to figure Wilson out. Very good so far and hard to put down.

 

 

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JaneM
Posts: 152
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I had difficulty initially getting into the book.  I liked the opening with the drug mule which set up the context for the story.  I also like the sections per day, which helps you track the time narrative of the story.  What is confusing to me is the shift from italic to regular type, and what that indicates.  On p. 6 italic is used for non-translated Polish.  (BTW, I found it easy to translate these sections due to the context of the conversation or because the responder used the same words in English in their reply.)

 

Then on p.7, italics are used and I interpreted it as part of Wilson's mental thought process.  Then on p. 9 italics are used to represent Piet's half of a phone conversation which saves the authors from having to use a lot of "Paula said" or "Erik said."  But on p.14 another conversation occurs between Grens and Susann with no change in type.  And on p.17, italics are used both as a reference to an internal thought ("Don't you trust me, you bastard") as well as to indicate emphasis ("I repeat, which section?")  I would be interesting in asking the authors or the editor how they see this issue.

 

I also had difficulty with the very brief sections at the beginning in keeping the characters separated.  I had to re-read several times, and refer back, and I'm still not clear on many of the minor (at least I hope they are minor!) characters.  Probably the foreign names and locations makes it doubly hard.  Although I am happy to say that I quickly figured out that Paula was Piet's code name.

 

I do know that these short sections help to keep you turning the pages as each action leads to some concurrent action with another character and you keep flipping to see what is going to happen next.

 

On another note, I think it's interesting that amphetamines have a strong smell of tulips.  Since I'm in So California and the only tulips we get are from the florists, my experience is that tulips have little to no smell.  But for someone from a colder climate where tulips are common, the smell must be quite recognizable, almost like a gardenia is for me.

Jane M.
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redfraggle_98
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


Rachel-K wrote:

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?

 
 

 

In my mind, the only person so far that I would characterize as a true good guy is Grens.  He is a dedicated, by the book cop that wants to do his job.  Of course, it is important to note that he is a total mess, because he is a sufferring workaholic mourning the loss of his wife. 

 

I really hope Wilson turns out to be a good guy as well. So far,  I really don't trust him.  I hope for Piet's sake that my assumption is wrong. 

 

Other people that have posted have challenged my thoughts about Zofia as well.  She's described as a good guy in Part 1 as a dutiful wife and mother, but I'm now wondering if that will all change as the book goes on. 

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BookWoman718
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


Vermontcozy wrote:

BookWoman718 wrote:

Peppermill wrote:

Do you have a favorite supporting character?

Not a favorite by any shot, at least not yet, but the "mysterious" supporting character to me at this point is Mariana Hermansson. 

 

 

Having already read the authors' previous book, "Box 21"  I am keeping an eye on Mariana.  She was seen by Grens as a young officer with exceptional potential.  I wouldn't be surprised to see more of her, especially if the plot begins to cover more of Grens and company's activities once Piet is inside prison. 


That was a good Idea to read a previous novel by the Authors..Did you read it when you knew who the Authors of FirstLook were,or before.? I went back and read about Mariana..as the plot thickens


I looked for the book after we found out we would be reading these authors.  Actually, I was kind of surprised that I was unfamiliar with their work, since their work has won awards, and I've been really hooked on Henning Mankell and then Stieg Larsson for a while as well as several others of the Scandinavian mystery writers.  Don't know how these two escaped my attention. It's turned out to be a good idea, though, having a little familiarity with some of the police characters.