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JerseyAngel
Posts: 168
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I just now finished Part 1. Not because I am not enjoying it but because I am working a lot of OT, Christmas shopping & also renovating. I didn't think it would effect my reading time but unfortunately exhaustion wins over reading most nights :smileysad:   I hate being behind & this is the first time I have fallen behind in First Look.

 

Anyway, I am really enjoying the story. Like some others, I did have some trouble keeping the characters straight. I actually thought Paula was a woman at first. Slowly they came into focus. I don't feel like I really know them yet. We are getting little glimpses of them but have not yet been shown their full stories. I imagine it will be shown as the story continues.

 

On the surface it seems like Grens is a good guy, Wilson is a good guy & Hoffman is a once bad guy turned good. I think there's something deeper there though that we aren't seeing yet. At the end of Part 1, when Wilson warns Hoffman that if something goes wrong he will be on his own, this gives you the feeling that the good guys can be bad guys. Willing to throw someone that is risking their life to help them to the wolves at the first hint of trouble. Not much different then a mafia boss taking out someone that poses a threat when you think about it.

 

I find myself rooting for Hoffman. As Grens seems to get closer to finding clues in the murder case, I keep hoping he will get thrown off the trail. As for a favorite supporting character, I don't have one yet. I don't think I know any of them well enough. Although I do like the idea that some had for Hoffman's wife playing a bigger part.

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1archi1
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎07-07-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I received my book once the discussion had already started so I am a little behind on my posts.  I did have trouble getting into the book at first but now am getting into it. I am going to suspend judgement on the characters until further on because I do not feel that I fully know all of the characters and why they do what they do. I did get kind of confused with all of the characters, who was who, and had to go back a couple of times.  I think I was reading too fast to try and catch up with everyone and got confused.  It might be nice if someone could post a thread on each character with a brief description.  I am hoping Part 2 will give me more insite on each character to better understand them. I would like to say that all of the previous posts have helped me alot to understand some things I have evidently missed.  Part 2 is a short section so I am hoping to be finished reading Part 2 and Part 3 by the end of the week, this way I will be all caught up and can post for Part 4 on time.  Thanks fellow posters!!

:smileyhappy:
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misterz
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Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm still sorting out the characters too. (My book was accidentally delivered to my neighbor's mailbox and he just got it to me last week). So far I am finding Gren quite fascinating. I think he has many layers yet to be revealed. Really looking forward to digging farther into this book and these very interesting characters.

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Peppermill
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


misterz wrote:

I'm still sorting out the characters too. (My book was accidentally delivered to my neighbor's mailbox and he just got it to me last week). So far I am finding Gren quite fascinating. I think he has many layers yet to be revealed. Really looking forward to digging farther into this book and these very interesting characters.


 

Welcome!  I see this is your first post!   (Or have you been here before with a different name?)

 

So sorry to hear your book got delivered to your neighbor!  Do know that the pace accelerates!  At least you won't be slowed by the schedule as some of us have chosen to be up until this week.

 

Pepper

"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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bettymac
Posts: 65
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Like many others, I had a hard time sorting out the characters and too was surprised that Paula was not a woman. It is appropriate that we find the characters confusing because they are spending their lives deceiving people. The difficulty sorting them out parallels the lives they are living. I am beginning to be more comfortable with them all now and am getting used to the Swedish names and places.

Betty

"Tell me what you read and I'll tell you who you are" is true enough, but I'd know you better if you told me what you reread. ~François Mauriac
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OKC_NookJA
Posts: 35
Registered: ‎08-09-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Chapters or sections begin with "he" instead of the characters name. Sometimes it takes a paragraph or two to find out who is being referred to and then I have to keep re-reading.

As a reader, at the end of Part I the book was not grabbing me. The mules were mentioned at the beginnig, then they disappear. From the amount of time they were given in the early part, it left me expecting to see more of them later. I have finished the book and they don't return  except in a passing reference. Some of the minor characters, such as the police detectives that worked with Gren, could have been developed more. I think that would make the book more interesting.

Maybe some of my issue is the heroine, Zofia, only plays a minor role. Piet's and Zofia's interaction is all from his point of view. And Piet is always gone and always making excuses. Any normal spouse would be asking questions and not remain silent. It says he loves her, he loves her but they don't really communicate. Zofia doesn't return as a forefront character.

I went ahead and finished the book. It does pick up beginning in Part Three. Part Four is very good. The last, Part Five, left me wondering. I am guessing it is because there will be a sequel. I will discuss those sections when the book club does.

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Shanameydala
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Registered: ‎02-13-2010
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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'm suspending judgement, because I have a hard distinguishing stereotypical good and bad guys.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?

The main characters are complex people. They all seem to be stuck in a situation that they can't seem to get out of.

 

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?
Gren is meticulous in his police work. He makes tsure to wrap up his cases. He has been unable to deal with his personal life, so he is literally wrapping it up. He will most likely take care of it later, but he can't deal even being near the evidence of it now.
 
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
Haven't read much of Erik Wilson. I figure he is either being educated by FBI or teaching a course for FBI. Not sure what to make of his intent yet.
Do you have a favorite supporting character?

I'm interested to read more of Gren's "sidekicks." Hopefully they will continue to give him a hard time and help him solve the case.

 

Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
I have been confused throughout the first section of Three Seconds.  The shifting perspectives among the characters and by having characters that have lives that are contradictory keeps the story in a fog for me.  By starting with a situation that only the desperate would be in sets-up a story that carries desperation through it.
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LerBear
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

First off, let me apologize for my delayed post.  I have been sick for the past two weeks and am just now getting a chance to join the discussion; my sincere apologies.

 

To be quite honest I had a very difficult time getting into this book, and then after continuing to read I found myself having a hard time following it.  I am still not 100% sure what’s going on if I’m being honest.  There are so many different characters (some with multiples names) and story lines going on at once that I am finding myself getting very confused as to who is actually doing what.  I want to enjoy this book so badly, and I’m still holding out hope that I can get into it and follow the different plots.  The use of so many Swedish names, places and terms is also adding to my confusion.  This is my first time reading an International book, so this is really a new reading experience for me.

 

 

How does the novel so far challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?

 

I am having a difficult time discerning the good guys from the bad so far.  I think most of them are bad guys in one way or another.  Whether they are past criminals or present, drug mules or dealers, they all have a bad guy quality.  Piet seems to be a good guy, trying to do the right thing.  He is portrayed as a family man, who truly loves his family, but at the same time he is lying to his wife, and possibly putting his family in danger, so is he really good?  So far I must say my expectations and qualifications of good guys and bad guys are definitely being challenged.  

 

I do find myself suspending judgment on all of the characters thus far.  I can’t easily relate to any of them so far, so I find myself judging/questioning their actions and lives, partially in an effort to better understand them.

 

 

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

 

I think opening the novel using this perspective is probably the most effective way to get reader to understand the process of drug trafficking, and how it relates to the story.  The whole book so far revolves around drugs, and the efforts and tragedies involved in selling them.  I think this was an effective way of showing the shocking involvement that is required to successfully move/deal drugs.  Using this perspective adds a level of severity in my opinion, one that I hadn't realized existed.

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blackjack77
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Registered: ‎11-02-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I agree with several other contributors that the lines between good and bad are blurred through the beginning of Part One.  Also, I had a little trouble keeping track of the characters as we got to know them.  I didn't make judgements, but let the authors lead me down their intended path. 

 

Even after finishing the book, I don't think I fully understood Grens and his ordeal.  Guess those references were too subtle for me...  Clearly the authors intended the boxing of the cassettes as a major step for him, but I didn't relate.

 

My favorite supporting character so far is Piet's wife, Zofia.  She's the character I can relate to.  The others are more interesting and lead exciting lives, but hers is relatable for me.  When Piet calls her in the middle of his meeting to say he'll be late, the authors do well with her replies - verbal and non.  It's exactly how I react when my husband calls with a change in plans.  That really added an element of bonding for me and the story.   They did a great job making some of those minor details personal and realistic. Piet/Zofia relationship/storyline is what made the more than another spy/thriller novel for me.  Most of the others don't bring it home as well as I think Roslund and Hellstrom did.

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ruthieWW
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎01-07-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

It seems the major characters are determined to do their jobs, dedicated to great lengths. Gren's and Erik's backgrounds are vague to me. They are portrayed as tormented souls, even sad at times.

To separate the "good guys" from the "bad guys" at this point in the novel is too difficult for me, because the characters are very mysterious. The old adage "The end justifies the means" may be at work. Some "evil" deed may be necessary to bring about the ultimate "good".

I do not have a favorite supporting character in this novel.

The last question about the opening of the book beginning with the "mules" probably was a way for the author to create instant fear, anxiety, shock.....It worked!

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retromom
Posts: 113
Registered: ‎02-02-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


mommybooknerd wrote:

I would love to see more people stick it out...there will come a point you CANNOT put it down....so please hang in there....it will be worth it!


I am having a hard time with the flow of this book and getting to know the characters. I think what I have learned about the characters so far may not be exactly who they really are so at this point I am not quite sure who the bad guys and the good guys are. I will stick it out but hope I get to the point where I can't put it down soon. Thanks for the advice mommybooknerd!

 

Beth

http://bookaholicmom.blogspot.com/
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Peppermill
Posts: 6,768
Registered: ‎04-04-2007
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


retromom wrote:

mommybooknerd wrote:

I would love to see more people stick it out...there will come a point you CANNOT put it down....so please hang in there....it will be worth it!


I am having a hard time with the flow of this book and getting to know the characters. I think what I have learned about the characters so far may not be exactly who they really are so at this point I am not quite sure who the bad guys and the good guys are. I will stick it out but hope I get to the point where I can't put it down soon. Thanks for the advice mommybooknerd!

 


 

hope I get to the point where I can't put it down soon.  

 

Beth -- I think you will, or at least I hope so, for your enjoyment.  Many of us seem to have found that point somewhere in the third section.    Pepper

"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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scnole
Posts: 103
Registered: ‎11-15-2008
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


Rachel-K wrote:

Please use any of the following questions to start off our discussion of the first section of Three Seconds. Please also feel free to post any of your own questions or observations for the group. Enjoy!

 

How does the novel so far  challenge our expectati ons of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?    It took me a little while to figure out what was going on in the book.  I started it from the beginning again and it is difficult at times to figure out the good guys and the bad guys.   Now that I am into the book I am enjoying it very much.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?    I'm still trying to figure them out I will will wait to describe the 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?
 
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?   None yet
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
 
 

 

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LadyMin
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-29-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

 


Peppermill wrote:

 


retromom wrote:

mommybooknerd wrote:

I would love to see more people stick it out...there will come a point you CANNOT put it down....so please hang in there....it will be worth it!


I am having a hard time with the flow of this book and getting to know the characters. I think what I have learned about the characters so far may not be exactly who they really are so at this point I am not quite sure who the bad guys and the good guys are. I will stick it out but hope I get to the point where I can't put it down soon. Thanks for the advice mommybooknerd!

 


 

hope I get to the point where I can't put it down soon.  

 

Beth -- I think you will, or at least I hope so, for your enjoyment.  Many of us seem to have found that point somewhere in the third section.    Pepper


 

While I've liked the book from the start, it was shortly into the 3rd section that it became can't put it down for me.

 

~Leslie

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flouncyninja
Posts: 78
Registered: ‎09-14-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Wow, I am so behind.  Between the regular busyiness of the holidays, I've spent the last two weeks moving as well, so I've just now gotten around to finishing this first section in between unpacking boxes.  After the initial turn off of the very graphic drug smuggling scenes and the descriptions of the dead body, I'm starting to like the book a bit more.  I'm having a similar problem as I did with Steig Larsson books - too many men who have foreign names that I can't keep apart so well.  I think I have the infiltrator, his handler, and the main police detective looking into the murder case straight, but all the bit players are running together still.  Also, use of all the addresses takes me out of the story a little because I always want to try to pronounce them outloud.

 

Anyway, question time...

 


 
How does the novel so far  challenge our expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some character?
Piet/Paula seems like a nice guy.  He tried to save the Danish infiltrator without giving up himself up, he loves his family and he hates lying to his wife.  It sounds like he had a drug problem in the past, but has tried to make up for it.  He's the most well-rounded character at this point, so I'd like to think he's a good guy now who has a bad guy past that he's faking to infiltrate the real bad guys.  All the while the Polish mafia is run by a bunch of business men who find selling drugs more profitable than a more reputable source of income. 
The two cops are your standard good guy cops at this point, though I really want to hear more about the event that left Ewert's wife in a nursing home.  He has ghosts that haunt him.  Erik WIlson doesn't have much to round him out just yet.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
 
I think Erik is the younger cop, more willing to take risks that he sees are ultimately for the greater good.  Ewert is the older cop, who is tired and dislikes all the new fangled tech and ways of his younger coworkers.  He wants things to return to the good ol' days when he was seen as the best.  Piet is trying to make up for past crimes, but really just wants to be with his family, protect them from the dangers of life.

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 getting over the death of his wife, who suffered from a tragic accident many years before.  His cassette tapes were all by the same singer who he used to listen to and dance with his wife before her accident.  By boxing up the tapes, he's trying to close a door on his wife and forget about her.  It's not the healthiest way of finding closure, but it seems to be the only way he knows how.  "She no longer exists" is what he says after he finishes packing.  He wants to forget all about her instead of living with the memories that cause him such pain.
He's an old school type of cop who doesn't like this new strategy of using infiltrators who have identities that need to be protected.  He's set in his ways and wants everyone else to work how he thinks they should.  It sounds like his own younger coworkers indulge him a little too much.
Do we know anything of Erik Wilson's background? What do you make of his character? What was he doing in the United States?
He's the least well-rounded of the three main characters.  He's a handler for criminal infiltrators.  He's been doing this for some time with little success at stopping organized crime from entering Sweden, but I think he's a little on the green side.  He strikes me as being younger.  He seems like a generally good guy, who wants to work hard and protect his assets, but still fight the every increasing gangs building up a criminal underground in Sweden.  I'm not sure if he was training or conducting a training course in Georgia.  It sounds like he was training about acting as handlers since he was able to leave suddenly.  I don't think that would have been as likely if he was heading the classes.
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Not really.  As I said above, I'm having a hard time telling them all apart.
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
 
It sets a grusome scene that continues for about the first third of this section.  Drug trafficking is the center of this story.  We got to hear a very graphic telling of what exactly is involved in that sort of crime.  It allows us to see that so many others are affected by what's going on and that, while we're focusing on the rich bigwigs pulling the strings, there's sufferring that's occurring in order for the drugs to be sold.

 

Reader 2
TheMayIssue
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I agree with some of the posters I am definitely still getting use to some of the characters. I just feel like things are not what they appear to be on first sight. Hoffmann and Zofia especially if she knows more of what's going on than she appears to.

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AnnahE
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

  I think that there is a find line between the good guys and the bad guys.  I think all of the characters have a little of both in them.  I find Grens to be a very interesting character.  He is still in the throes of grieving for his dead wife, yet he is still sharp enough to do his job well.  I don't understand the references to boxing up his cassettes.  I assume that that will be explained later.  I think I trust Piet...it seems his wife does...for now.  The jury is still out on Erik.  I just don't know about him.  I am looking forward to the next chapters.

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gackie
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎08-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I am very intrigued by this book even though I am having some trouble following along. I like others thought that Paula was am woman too. Gren's seems like a very interesting character. I am hoping to have more time to devote to this book but with Christmas creeping up I am having trouble making time to read.

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wendyroba
Posts: 58
Registered: ‎02-21-2007
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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?
It is funny...at first I thought Piet/Paula was part of the Swedish police as an undercover agent...then it became apparent that no, he was an ex-con. I was surprised how much I liked him (although he makes me mad at how he lies to his family and I really hate when he takes the kids with him to "work." So, yes, I'm suspending judgment 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?
Gren is one weird guy! I see him as one of those cops who just diligently work through the evidence, one piece at a time, and won't quit until they find an answer. The fact that he has boxed up his cassettes indicates his willingness to move on after the tragedy in his life.
 
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 one of the characters I have a lot of questions about. He seems to sincerely care about Piet, and yet I don't really completely trust him.
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Not yet :smileyhappy:
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
Because it puts a human face on the crime perhaps.
I have to admit, that I am not always understanding everything in the book - it is fast paced and the technical details sometimes leave me scratching my head. BUT, I am finding the book interesting and I want to know the outcome...and I am willing to be "in the dark" for awhile to find out what happens.
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terilhack
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎09-01-2010
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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 suspending judgement because aside form the view of the mules who we are introduced to first andb begin to understand them a bit we might now have understood their story with out this intro.

 

The good guys vs bad guys is pretty welly not defined. You have bad guys inside of the police force and then there are bad guys in the mafia I guess would be a better word. Realy there is the idea as the book progresses into doing bad things for the betterment of everyone else. 

 

The first part of the book was really hard for me to get into because there were so many characters introduced so early on. After the whole first section I understood better. So after a rocky beginning I was them hooked into the story.

TeriC