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ccshealy
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎11-24-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

At this point, it seems very hard to label any of the characters specifically "good" or "bad."  I have the feeling that line is going to be hazy in this novel, that some of the "good" characters will do/have done "bad" things so that it becomes very hard to make a distinction.  I think that is perhaps a more realistic picture than we tend to see in fiction though.  A lot of times in fiction, there are characters who are very clearly painted as strictly "good" or strictly "bad," and in real life, people are only human and tend to be more of a blend.

 

Right now, though, there are so many characters and the point of view is shifting so fast, I am having a very hard time even keeping track of everyone.  At this point, I find it hard to pass judgment on any character, as I am still getting to know them.  Maybe further into the book, I will have a clearer picture of who is "good" and who is "bad." :smileywink:

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DSaff
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

You both seem to be right about the ends justifying the means. I don't like that thought because no matter what Piet thinks he is doing right, he is still doing something horribly wrong. The drugs are still getting to people (albeit by choice) and people are dying. Corruption gets stronger. It also seems that he is putting his family in danger through his "work" (i.e. leaving the sick boys in the car alone while he went to a meeting). I hope nothing happens to them.


LadyMin wrote:

 


thewanderingjew wrote:

Rachel-K wrote:

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

 

Some of the characters are both good and bad guys. It is a difficult road to follow. Piet is Paula and the buyer who was murdered was also some kind of a double agent. It surprised me that Piet called attention to the buyer, since he seemed to recognize that he was probably an investigator of some kind, as he was. He felt it was a matter of him or the other guy dying, yet, if he had remained silent, they might both have lived. I suppose he didn't want to have the drug bust since he was working hard to infiltrate the drug running mob. Still it bothered me that someone working to infiltrate the mob to expose it, who seemed to be on the right side of the law, would sacrifice someone else working toward the same end. Does the end justify the means in this case?


 

Piet/Paula is not going to let anything stop him from completing his mission of infiltrating the mob. In the first few pages when he phones Erik to tell him of the unexpected delivery and Erik tells him to pull out, it's too dangerous, he hangs up the phone and goes it alone. He watches another man die rather than risk ruining the mission with a drug bust. He says he loves his wife and misses his family and yet he is willing to repeatedly lie to his wife and even leave them for several months to go to prison to infiltrate even deeper.

 

For Piet the end justifies the means. I don't understand yet why he is so driven but there must be something in his past that would make him want to take down this drug mob at any cost.


 

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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JoanieGranola
Posts: 172
Registered: ‎11-11-2009

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 novel certainly blurs the line between good guy and bad guy. And it makes one think that there are certainly more bad guys acting as good guys than one would normally expect. Good guys are good guys because they want to fight crime, etc. and bad guys are bad guys because they don't care about anyone but themselves. To see, in this novel, that there are many operations run by good guys that use bad guys certainly makes you wonder who the bad guys really are.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far? Piet has a hidden agenda that will most likely be revealed in Part III. We know little of Wilson, who I think will be revealed as a criminal himself later in the novel. Grens is a widower who misses his wife dearly and seems to be suffering from depression or Alzheimer's. I think he'll be retiring after this case is resolved.
 
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 a widower who cannot accept that his wife died. He feels responsible for her accident and subsequent admission to an institution and ultimate death. He appears to be very thorough in his police work. The boxing up of the cassettes is his way of finally moving on from the past tragedy in his life, although his continued action of sleeping in his office mean that he hasn't really let go.
 
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 believe we know little about Wilson's background. He was at a military base in the US, which doesn't tell us much. I didnt' realize he was an attorney until it was mentioned in the last chapter of Part I.
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character? Not yet.
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm? It lays the foundation for the entire story thusfar - everything we've been told through Part I revolves around the Russian mafia and the expansion of their drug trade. I think that's been the most clear part of the story -- the more I read, the more confused I get because I realize that there's something that's not currently being described. Piet's past is very fuzzy and his role with both organizations and his personal conflict between truth and lies has me believe that there's a central part to this story that's missing (obviously to be revealed at a later time).
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OKC_NookJA
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

[ Edited ]

 


nbmars wrote:

 



 

 
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!
 

 


 

I agree. This book is very confusing. I have read over 30 books since June and have never had to re-read many paragraphs over and over.

 

 

For example, from page 70, "his superiors had opened the door to the basement". I had to re-read to determine that meant his transfer.

 

Page 80: "Wilson had twelve passed ..." I stil don't now what that paragraph refers to.

 

Some of the descriptions are very, very good and this could be an excellent book.It's just all of a sudden a bad paragraph will come out of nowhere.

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OKC_NookJA
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎08-09-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Pages 80 to 100 went a lot smoother :smileyhappy:

 

I like how the characters are coming together. The tension between Gren and Wilson.  Hoffman's internal struggle at keeping his secret life from Zofia. I am intrigued to see how these play out.

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JaneM
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


OKC_NookJA wrote:

 


nbmars wrote:

 



 

 
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!
 

 


 

I agree. This book is very confusing. I have read over 30 books since June and have never had to re-read many paragraphs over and over.

 

 

For example, from page 70, "his superiors had opened the door to the basement". I had to re-read to determine that meant his transfer.

 

Page 80: "Wilson had twelve passed ..." I stil don't now what that paragraph refers to.

 

Some of the descriptions are very, very good and this could be an excellent book.It's just all of a sudden a bad paragraph will come out of nowhere.


I just reread page 80, and I don't know what this refers to either....   Maybe someone else can shed some light?

Jane M.
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OKC_NookJA
Posts: 35
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

[ Edited ]

 


JaneM wrote

OKC_NookJA wrote:

 


 

I agree. This book is very confusing. I have read over 30 books since June and have never had to re-read many paragraphs over and over.

 

 

For example, from page 70, "his superiors had opened the door to the basement". I had to re-read to determine that meant his transfer.

 

Page 80: "Wilson had twelve passed ..." I stil don't now what that paragraph refers to.

 

Some of the descriptions are very, very good and this could be an excellent book.It's just all of a sudden a bad paragraph will come out of nowhere.


I just reread page 80, and I don't know what this refers to either....   Maybe someone else can shed some light?


 

Reading on further past page 100, it seems it refers to the police recording where Hoffman calls to report the murder. Still not sure what it means and looks like it needs to be rewritten or removed IMO.

 

Another place, I think page 45 where it metions Paula being born nine years earlier and I didn't have a clue what it meant until many pages later where I read Piet had become the undercover Paula. It's the things ilke that, that are throwing me off. They weren't caught in the revision. But I guess that is what First Looks is for.

 

James

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meme1
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm wondering about the significance of the phrase - always an even number.  Anyone figured that out?

meme

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SandyS
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I also disliked not having the translations.  The book was confusing enough in parts with confusion of characters, places, and even events (not familiar with drug transactions); I did not need translations problems as well.

 

I think I like the story but am spending a little too much time struggling with the nuances.


irises1889 wrote:

 

I agree that the translation has not been a hindrance for me.  Although another thing that annoyed me a little at the beginning were the Polish sentences that were not translated for the reader.  You get the just of what it's about, but I would have liked to known what was being said without having to look it up.  Anyone else want these parts translated or do you like the bit of mystery?

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beak77
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
 
Hoffman is both a mafia & police informant. He is feeling the stress of being both but at the same time he is at the top of his game for both sides. The book has not mentioned a real job for him. He tries to be a father & husband. It is hard for him to juggle informant/home life. He lies practically daily to his wife, Zofia, daily. He misses out on a lot of his son's lives, which he regrets.
Wilson is a Swedish poiceman that handles the undercover/informants. He is persuasive and uses needed tactics to get his way with police or government personnel to alter informant records. Wilson seems to be a little cocky, at least in his head. He thinks himself better than Grens. He also prides himself in his appearance.
Polish Mafia (I collectively use them as a character) is trying to set up a drug ring in the Swedish prisons. They were behind the 15 mules that smuggled into Sweden at the beginning of the book. It was also one of their men that shot the man at 79. Hoffman works with them and will be going into the prisons to establish the drug rings.
Grens is a Swedish veteran police officer. He has been working long enough that he is consider "old school" in his tactics. He has a problem functioning because of grief left over from the death of, I assume his wife. He had a collection of tapes that he boxed up at the beginning of the book. He had the boxes entered into the evidence locker for storage. This did seem that these actions relived some of the tension that Grens had been carrying around. The book mentions early on that Grens will never close this case. So as I read, I feel that he works it is all in vain and just a way to bide an old man's time.
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BookWoman718
Posts: 220
Registered: ‎01-28-2007

Re: Three Seconds: Part One


JaneM wrote:

nbmars wrote:

 

 

For example, from page 70, "his superiors had opened the door to the basement". I had to re-read to determine that meant his transfer.

 

Page 80: "Wilson had twelve passed ..." I stil don't now what that paragraph refers to.

 


I just reread page 80, and I don't know what this refers to either....   Maybe someone else can shed some light?


In the quote you refer to, the word "twelve" is in italics, as are two other numbers that appear seemingly randomly in the midst of this sentence:  "Wilson had TWELVE passed through the County Communication Center THIRTY SEVEN when he left Kronenberg and had checked FIFTY the recording."   This sentence is near the end of the interview Wilson has with Piet to assure himself that Piet is telling the truth about what happened at the meeting where the Danish agent was killed.   I believe the authors use italics, at least some of the time, to indicate that these are thoughts that the subject of the sentence is thinking at the time the action is taking place. Like all our thought patterns, they can be immediately related to what is going on, or they can be thoughts that pop into our minds as we are reminded of something.  So near the end of his meeting with Piet, Wilson is remembering the stop he made in the Comm Ctr, and these numbers come to mind.  But why?   Look at page 85; those numbers are the time that Piet made the phone call to report the murder.  Wilson had stopped to check the recording, and he is remembering those numbers as he pins down every bit of Piet's story. 

 

I can't remember now if that sequence appeared earlier in the book, maybe it did, but maybe it is a teaser, a clue, if you will.  Something to fill the reader's mind with the same sort of doubts and confusion that all of the characters in the book are feeling.  At this point we don't have enought info to thoroughly understand the whole picture - and neither do any of the characters.  They know some things we don't, and we know some things they don't.  We are as drawn into the mystery and its questions as they are.    

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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


BookWoman718 wrote:

JaneM wrote:

nbmars wrote:

 

 

For example, from page 70, "his superiors had opened the door to the basement". I had to re-read to determine that meant his transfer.

 

Page 80: "Wilson had twelve passed ..." I stil don't now what that paragraph refers to.

 


I just reread page 80, and I don't know what this refers to either....   Maybe someone else can shed some light?


In the quote you refer to, the word "twelve" is in italics, as are two other numbers that appear seemingly randomly in the midst of this sentence:  "Wilson had TWELVE passed through the County Communication Center THIRTY SEVEN when he left Kronenberg and had checked FIFTY the recording."   This sentence is near the end of the interview Wilson has with Piet to assure himself that Piet is telling the truth about what happened at the meeting where the Danish agent was killed.   I believe the authors use italics, at least some of the time, to indicate that these are thoughts that the subject of the sentence is thinking at the time the action is taking place. Like all our thought patterns, they can be immediately related to what is going on, or they can be thoughts that pop into our minds as we are reminded of something.  So near the end of his meeting with Piet, Wilson is remembering the stop he made in the Comm Ctr, and these numbers come to mind.  But why?   Look at page 85; those numbers are the time that Piet made the phone call to report the murder.  Wilson had stopped to check the recording, and he is remembering those numbers as he pins down every bit of Piet's story. 

 

I can't remember now if that sequence appeared earlier in the book, maybe it did, but maybe it is a teaser, a clue, if you will.  Something to fill the reader's mind with the same sort of doubts and confusion that all of the characters in the book are feeling.  At this point we don't have enought info to thoroughly understand the whole picture - and neither do any of the characters.  They know some things we don't, and we know some things they don't.  We are as drawn into the mystery and its questions as they are.    


Similar to your interpretation of the time factor..12 passed The hour,then 37,then 50..Sometimes in Europe thats how some will tell you what time it is We might say 1:12..some will say 12 past 1.,or 12 passed...  That how I read it...I am not sure which post I read it on but Erik Is Undercover ,yes that  we know,,Do his Superiors in The Police Dept,like Grens know the full extent  no..otherwise wouldn't he be able to help Grens..Erik is way too deep in This Operation   I  am just thinking How stressed he is and always nervous   ..Seems like he must answer to many people and keep it all straight...

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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Vermontcozy
Posts: 5,276
Registered: ‎10-20-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


SandyS wrote:

I also disliked not having the translations.  The book was confusing enough in parts with confusion of characters, places, and even events (not familiar with drug transactions); I did not need translations problems as well.

 

I think I like the story but am spending a little too much time struggling with the nuances.


irises1889 wrote:

 

I agree that the translation has not been a hindrance for me.  Although another thing that annoyed me a little at the beginning were the Polish sentences that were not translated for the reader.  You get the just of what it's about, but I would have liked to known what was being said without having to look it up.  Anyone else want these parts translated or do you like the bit of mystery?


DStaff posted."Google Translator".I just went with the flow,but will if Polish comes up again...Now I  might go back and have it translated..Otherwise,nothing else troubled me..DStaff posted the link I believe in Welcome and Introductions...I did use it for my own benefit looking up certain Swedish words that were not in the book..Just out of curiousity...very easy to use..Thanks Debbie...  

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

 


meme1 wrote:

I'm wondering about the significance of the phrase - always an even number.  Anyone figured that out?


When I read that, I just assumed that it was one of those private rituals between couples - perhaps it started before they were married, some private joke between them, and now it's just an unspoken sign of their love and understanding of each other. It's come up a few times, and maybe it will have a different, deeper significance as the book moves on.

 

‎"Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God." -Bokonon
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Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I totally agree about Zofia.  There must be more to her.  She's too accepting.  Either she knows more than she lets on, or she has her own "issues".

 

Amanda

 

 


DSaff 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.

 

 


 

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Amanda-Louise
Posts: 156
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

That's what I'm puzzled about at the moment.  How on earth is he going to pull off going to jail when he has two small children and a wife that obviously counts on his support, both for her and for raising the children.

 

I actually have to admit that I'm not all that fussed about the police work in the book, or the drug smuggling going on, or the murder, really.  I am most enjoying the relationship between Zofia and Piet, as small a part as it's playing at the moment.

 

Amanda

 

 


silverwitch wrote:
How is he going to explain where he's going for the next three months? Business trip? No phone calls from him to his children or to her? Yeah he can lie  about wher he's going but I don't think she'll believe him. Not this time.

 

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msh11
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I thought Zofia's reaction to Paula's confession was interesting. I would think if she didn't know anything, she would have had questions. Her saying nothing and retreating to bed leaves one to believe she was aware of who he was all along. I am curious to see where her involvement in the story goes.

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AIRKNITTER
Posts: 133
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Would be wonderful to know more about Gren. So far he is my favorite character.

Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.
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All-Things-Stephen-King
Posts: 29
Registered: ‎05-17-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

At this point, I would have to say it hard to really tell who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are in the story.  The story really moves around a lot between the different characters, in a very quick fashion.  This made it hard to really get to know the characters when the story starts off.  Eventually we start to learn more about the characters and their roles:  Erik Wilson, Piet Hoffman, Ewert Grens and Zofia.  These are the four characters that I believe have the most impact of the story.  Zofia's role, at this point is minimal, but I feel this that her role will become a bigger part of the plot.  

 

Up to this point, we know the most about Piet Hoffman.  We know he is involved with the Polish mafia, but he is there because he is helping the police as an informant, through handling with Erik Wilson.  With a criminal past of his own, he is able to be the best the police now have.  He lives the lives of two men and seems to be losing himself between the two.  But what are his true motivations for his deeds.  Yes, he loves his wife and children and wants to keep them safe.  He wants finish his work and have normal life.  However, he relishes the status, adrenaline rush and being the best infiltrator the police have.  It is easy to see view Piet as a "good guy" who blurs the line due to his situation.  He have met his family and looked into to each of his two lives.   

 

Ewert Grens is a man possessed.  We should see him as a "good guy" because he is a policeman.  However, I don't feel this is exactly the case.  He has a sad history with the lose of someone close to him (wife or former partner, I don't fully understand yet), but I think this is something that works against him.  We learn that he never gives up and will dig until the case be solved.  I feel this is because of the death he is dealing with makes him seek revenge on the criminals he chases and it is that drive that may bring him down in the end. 

 

Erik Wilson, I believe, is a wild card.  He should be a "good guy" but it is hard to see.  He acts like he has concerns for Piet's well-being.  He comes across as someone who will use any tool available to him to accomplish his goal and he views Piet as just another tool.  We don't know what his goal is yet, other than maybe to strike a huge blow against the drug trade.  I don't trust him with regards to how he relates with Piet, though I think he is still one of the "good guys".  

 

I am still holding out on discussing Piet's wife, Zofia, at this time.  I think she will have a bigger role to come later in the book.  

 

I think we, as the reader, are meant to see Piet as someone who is working for the “good guys” but is slowly losing himself and missing the shift in balance towards the bad.  He thinks too much like the criminals he is trying to bring down. 

 

Who thinks that the Government is going to try and cut ties with Piet's operations?  Will there be a betrayal by Erik?  Will Ewert's investigation expose the operation and put Piet's life on the line? 

 

Let me know what you think.  

 

Rob 

 

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Vermontcozy
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


All-Things-Stephen-King wrote:

At this point, I would have to say it hard to really tell who the "good guys" and the "bad guys" are in the story.  The story really moves around a lot between the different characters, in a very quick fashion.  This made it hard to really get to know the characters when the story starts off.  Eventually we start to learn more about the characters and their roles:  Erik Wilson, Piet Hoffman, Ewert Grens and Zofia.  These are the four characters that I believe have the most impact of the story.  Zofia's role, at this point is minimal, but I feel this that her role will become a bigger part of the plot.  

 

Up to this point, we know the most about Piet Hoffman.  We know he is involved with the Polish mafia, but he is there because he is helping the police as an informant, through handling with Erik Wilson.  With a criminal past of his own, he is able to be the best the police now have.  He lives the lives of two men and seems to be losing himself between the two.  But what are his true motivations for his deeds.  Yes, he loves his wife and children and wants to keep them safe.  He wants finish his work and have normal life.  However, he relishes the status, adrenaline rush and being the best infiltrator the police have.  It is easy to see view Piet as a "good guy" who blurs the line due to his situation.  He have met his family and looked into to each of his two lives.   

 

Ewert Grens is a man possessed.  We should see him as a "good guy" because he is a policeman.  However, I don't feel this is exactly the case.  He has a sad history with the lose of someone close to him (wife or former partner, I don't fully understand yet), but I think this is something that works against him.  We learn that he never gives up and will dig until the case be solved.  I feel this is because of the death he is dealing with makes him seek revenge on the criminals he chases and it is that drive that may bring him down in the end. 

 

Erik Wilson, I believe, is a wild card.  He should be a "good guy" but it is hard to see.  He acts like he has concerns for Piet's well-being.  He comes across as someone who will use any tool available to him to accomplish his goal and he views Piet as just another tool.  We don't know what his goal is yet, other than maybe to strike a huge blow against the drug trade.  I don't trust him with regards to how he relates with Piet, though I think he is still one of the "good guys".  

 

I am still holding out on discussing Piet's wife, Zofia, at this time.  I think she will have a bigger role to come later in the book.  

 

I think we, as the reader, are meant to see Piet as someone who is working for the “good guys” but is slowly losing himself and missing the shift in balance towards the bad.  He thinks too much like the criminals he is trying to bring down. 

 

Who thinks that the Government is going to try and cut ties with Piet's operations?  Will there be a betrayal by Erik?  Will Ewert's investigation expose the operation and put Piet's life on the line? 

 

Let me know what you think.  

 

Rob 

 


Rob... All of your points in part one are as correct.As far as we know...We all seem to be on the same page.... I have read Chapter two,so of course I will refrain from saying anything until tomorrow..Yes I agree Erik is a wild card....and Grens is as one Bner posted  is "Old School"..so he is in my "Good Guy Corner" along with Nils Krantz,Forensics.Grens ..I worry about him..But his focus is on Solving this crime..Piet.and Zofia...What does she know.?.Does Piet really know her?.Does she know more than he gives her credit for....Glad you have joined us.I always like your comments..Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer