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Correspondent
LadyMin
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎11-29-2009

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?

The mafia is clearly defined as 'bad guys'. Gren is a 'good guy'. Everyone else is still up in the air.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?

 

Erik has an agenda. He is being judged on Piet's success or failure. And I believe if Piet fails Erik will drop his support. I don't trust him. I also think he is working with other agencies... good or bad I don't know yet.

 

Gren has tunnel vision when it comes to police work. He has one goal and this is to solve the crime. He has a dead guy and he is going to find out what happened by any means necessary. He isn't going to worry about anyone else's agenda.

 

Piet is the most complex. I don't yet understand why he has agreed to infiltrate the mafia. How much does he have to gain vs what he has to lose. He does not appear to be a hardened criminal although he is able to portray one. He has a lot of guilt over the lies. But it doesn't stop him. He is driven to continue.

 

Do you have a favorite supporting character?
 
Not yet, although I do feel for Zofia and worry how she will cope having to shelter her children from the fallout when Piet's mission goes wrong.

 

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

The opening with the mules was to demonstrate how bad the bad guys, ie mafia, really are and that they have no regard for anyone. If the mule died well, too bad, they didn't care as long as they got their drugs.

 

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

I am enjoying this book. I like the shifting viewpoints, however it is sometimes unclear who is speaking until I read a few paragraphs in. I'm not sure if this is a technique the author is using or if it still needs editing. Either way it's making me pay more attention to detail.

 

~ Leslie

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tweezle
Posts: 75
Registered: ‎11-03-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

This is a great book so far, but one that I need to really take time to read. There's just so much I could easily missed if I breezed through it.

 

The characters are amazing. I was a bit confused about Paula in the beginning but that has all fallen into place. Funny - I thought Paula was a woman :smileytongue: Piet is an interesting character riding the fence between good and bad. With the amount of thanfulness he has about his wife being clueless, I think we are going to see that she suspects something - either he is having an affair or some other reason for him lying to her.At this point I'm enjoying both of them.

 

Ewert is a bit of a mystery to me. I know he's wallowing in grief, but why does he feel he's the one that killed his wife. I would love to know more about that story, and am hoping that it will go more into detail in the future. He is a fun one though - not caring if he's liked or not - all real.

 

Erik - I'm not so sure about yet. He's not sitting right with me so far.

 

Sven - another one I'm not sure about, but I think he's going to turn out quite interesting.

 

I can't wait to get back to the next part to see what happens and how Piet's wife is going to react to the up and coming sentence. That whole deal doesn't seem "right" and I think Piet is in a lot of danger - more than he realizes!

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” - Mason Cooley
**3 NOOKS with 3 separate accounts in one household.**
Contributor
thecatsmeowAM
Posts: 14
Registered: ‎08-03-2010

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?
--I have tried not to judge anyone yet because I think the line between good and bad is very blurry.  So far I feel badly for Paula/Piet, but at the same time dislike him for putting his family in danger and not taking good care of his kids when they are sick like that.
 
How would you describe each of our major characters so far?
--Paula/Piet is leading a double life and I am not sure yet how much his wife knows about it.  He has crossed over into lying to her and also exposing his children to possible danger which he is torn about and angry at himself about.  Gren seems to still be in the grieving process and I am not sure his priorities are all in line.  Erik Wilson seems to care about Piet, but also must have something to gain for himself to, at least I am assuming so.
 
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? 
--We see bits of his past in that someone he loved dearly has died and he is still grieving her.  Based on what others have said in the book, it seems he runs a "tight ship" when on police cases.  I think the fact he is boxing up his cassettes is a sign that he is trying to move on from his deceased loved one.
 
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 think Erik Wilson will end up being a bad character.  He seems shady to me, but I am not sure why I think this.  I think he is a double agent of some kind.  I think he was at a training facility in the US and that is why I feel he is a double agent.
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
--None at this point
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
--I think this was an exciting way to start the novel and it grasped my attention right away. 
Contributor
lisapt
Posts: 15
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm interested in everyone's take on Zofia. I had her pegged as the inocent, long-suffering, clueless wife and, therefore, did not like her much. LOL, I sure hope I am wrong. I was afraid that she was going to be the helpless damsel in destress. However, you all have me hoping for much more from her.
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1archi1
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎07-07-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

YEAH!!!  I just received my book today.  I have so much catching up to do.  I will be posting at the end of the week and will be on target for Monday.  Can't wait to get started!!!

:smileyhappy:
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PiperMurphy
Posts: 174
Registered: ‎09-19-2008
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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 expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
I think that I have become used to the good guys being the heroes and the bad guys being easy to pick out and obviously evil. This time we have characters who aren't so easily defined. And we have a bad guy who isn't what he seems, at least I hope he isn't. So, yes, I'm suspending judgment because these are very interesting characters. I suspect that they may not be who we think they are. 
 
 
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 was surprised that Erik Wilson and Gren report to the same supervisor. That really makes for an interesting complication in Gren's murder case. I'm wondering why they can't work together. Erik seems to be a consciencious cop who is trying to do his job while protecting his infiltrator. He seems to genuinely like Piet which is another complication. Right now I think that Erik might have been in the US for training, or possibly something to do with drug trafficing in the US.
 
 
Do you have a favorite supporting character?
Piet's kids. They're adorable. They are one of the reason's that I am rooting for their father.
 
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
So that we get the feel for what it's like to be one of these people and do this job. This is one of the best, but also horrific openings, that I've read lately. I was hooked from that first scene.
 
 

 

"When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes."
~Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus~
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ponkle
Posts: 81
Registered: ‎01-30-2009
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I just got home from being away for Thanksgiving and have just started the book. I have read the first 50 pages or so and I am either having trouble getting into it or am just confused as to who is who. Seems to be a lot going on, I'm going to have to go back and reread to figure out the characters. Hope to catch up soon.

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msh11
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I, too, just received my book today. I have alot of reading to do to catch up. Will try and post on Friday. So far, I think this book will keep me on my toes. I am doing a lot of re-reading to keep characters straight.

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tcg60
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎02-28-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I was out of town last week and am playing catch up with the book. I'm about half way through the first reading assignment so I'm not sure how much I can add right now but will post again in a few days. I can say I am enjoying the book and how it is written.
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irises1889
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm going to respond to a few things first and then go on to read some other comments.  

 

I don't think it's necessary to suspend judgment on any of the characters because we all seem to be on some good/bad continuum.  If anything, Erik seems to fall more into the "bad" realm than Piet at this point.  There seems to be something up with him (Erik) that we've yet to find out. 

 

To be honest, Grens really annoys me.  I appreciate his dedication to solving the crime, but the way he has been portrayed makes me dislike him.

 

I wanted to (but didn't yet) go back and reread the first chapter about the Polish mule.  Is there something else there to explain why we get his perspective first?  

 

I really like the book and the story, but device of making us figure out who is doing what (over and over again - Piet vs. Erik) is getting a little tiresome.  I get the idea, but it makes the reading go a bit slower.

 

Look forward to reading others comments!

 

 


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 expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
 
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?
 
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?
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
 
 

 

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irises1889
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Great idea!  I might try that myself.  I find all the different locations a bit confusing, but having an image might help.  Thanks!

 


mommybooknerd wrote:

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!


 

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irises1889
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One


I agree!  I understand how this works as a literary device, but I think it's used a little too much.

 

 


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!
 

 


 

Contributor
Sanderson1216
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎01-20-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Anytime I read a novel similar to this one, the line drawn between good and bad guys often gets blurred.  I'm holding back any judgement until later.  I will admit that I'm feeling compassion and pity for Piet from almost the beginning.  Gren is clearly mourning the loss of his wife and that loss has harden his personality.   It seems like a very committed police officer and his work is now his life.  I don't trust Erik's character at this point.  I think he will ultimately betray Piet.  Although a bit graphic, the Polish "mules" helped me get into the book quickly and set the stage for the novel.

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amusingmother
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Registered: ‎10-05-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

The good guys/bad guys dichotomy tends to get muddled.  I've found the characters to be more complex than to be categorized at this point.

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GabryTK
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎11-03-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

Good vs. Evil.  Although this is getting a little beyond Part 1, here is an observation on three people – Gorasson, Pal Larsen, and Lennart Oscarsson (although the observation could be applied to others).  From Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Each of these three people knew that something wrong was being done and they chose to allow it.  The evil, or wrong, in this case is government officials’ trampling on the rights of individuals, violating the laws passed by the people. 

 

It is a common case: people in organizations (not just government agencies, but corporations and other group environments) will allow what may at the time seem a small transgression or a deviation for the greater good.  Why? Perhaps it is to ‘go along to get along’ or ‘not rock the boat’  or just easier rather than for personal gain.  Whatever the rationale, the ethical framework weakens and allows more such transgressions and deviations – to the point where evil does triumph.

 

Gorasson, Larsen, and Oscarsson each could have taken a stronger position and derailed an escalating evil that each of them sensed.  Gorasson avoided the decision and shifted it to a secret forum where the responsibility is diffused and obfuscated.  Larsen and Oscarsson implemented decisions rather than take a strong stand on the side of right.

 

Although set in a police, prison, and crime milieu, this type of behavior, this weakening of ethical frameworks is common to many organizations and individuals.  In Grens, on the other hand, the authors seems to be showing that the corollary  to Burke’s statement is true: when good men do something, evil fails.  To me, this is much more hopeful.

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


Sanderson1216 wrote:

Anytime I read a novel similar to this one, the line drawn between good and bad guys often gets blurred.  I'm holding back any judgement until later.  I will admit that I'm feeling compassion and pity for Piet from almost the beginning.  Gren is clearly mourning the loss of his wife and that loss has harden his personality.   It seems like a very committed police officer and his work is now his life.  I don't trust Erik's character at this point.  I think he will ultimately betray Piet.  Although a bit graphic, the Polish "mules" helped me get into the book quickly and set the stage for the novel.


I agree Sanderson 1216 ..The opening was direct,Totally Dark and Gritty..and set the tone..I like the openness of the Authors..They are able to capture  our attention immediately..As serious and disturbing the content of "Three Seconds" is every now and then ,I detect a bit of humor,thats seems very European..Which is why I read  some Authors from other countries,,I like their spin on what we don't know as Americans..I subscribe to murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com   All European Authors  Great Blogs..Amazing Photos..Susan

Kindness,I've discovered,is everything in life...Issac Bashevis Singer
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bookescapest
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎08-05-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I'm not through the entire 132 pages, but as I'm getting farther in the more complex things get, and yet the more they make sense. I have no favorite character yet, though I'm completely intrigued with Piet, and how he is an agent who is still about to have a home and wife and children, but I'm anxious to know if we'll be hearing more about them or not. The roses for her reveal more about his character's soft side, though its apparent he has a side that hasn't been completely corrupted or hardened, as seen by his reaction to a death in front of him. So far he has become the character I like the most.

 

Grens is apparently greiving for his dead wife, and finds his only comfort is his police work and finds focusing on the mystery and missing details of murders to be a great, welcome distraction. He seems about to see beyond the crime scene..its not just what was there or wasn't, how it happened etc. its all the other things, where the person came from, how he knows if he was a witness or murderer, where they come from. He's going to be a very interesting, complex character.

 

I'm enjoying this book. I've found it a bit challenging as I envision the scenes put before me and what all is happening, but I'm enjoying the challenge. Its turning out to be a great book thus far.

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irises1889
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎11-01-2010
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Re: Three Seconds: Part One

I too think other people's impression of Zofia is interesting.  I didn't really think of her and innocent and clueless, but I can't think of her as my favorite thus far because we know so little about her.  At this point she seems very one-dimensional.  I'm sure there is more to her and it would be amazing to me if she didn't suspect something of her husband and/or have some other angle in the situation.  

 

 


lisapt wrote:
I'm interested in everyone's take on Zofia. I had her pegged as the inocent, long-suffering, clueless wife and, therefore, did not like her much. LOL, I sure hope I am wrong. I was afraid that she was going to be the helpless damsel in destress. However, you all have me hoping for much more from her.

 

Contributor
deana99
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎11-03-2010

Re: Three Seconds: Part One

How would you describe each of our major characters so far?

Piet is my favorite character so far...we are sympathetic to him as he struggles to separate and control his two lives.  I am curious about his history...he does not seem like a hardened criminal.  I wonder what he did in his past, how bad he really was, how he got involved with the police as an infiltrator...and why he is risking his happiness and family.  I also wonder how he and Zofia met.  I would like to learn more of her character in the book.  I worry for her and the children when she finds out that he is "known armed and dangerous" in his upcoming arrest.  I feel that I have judged Piet to be a good guy...who has made some mistakes in the past. 

 

Grens seems like a brilliant investigator...but seems almost handicapped by his own history.  I think packing up the cassettes and diving into this crime is the start of his "coming back".  I would like to see his character get stronger and overcome some of his issues, as the book goes on. 

 

Erik Wilson is still a mystery to me as well.  He seems to play a good guy...seems to be very smart, resourceful, and loyal to Piet.  But I also wonder about his history..and who he really is.  I believe there is a lot we have yet to know about this character.  He is the one that I have reserved judgement for so far.  I want to trust him, for Piet's sake...but have to hesitate. 

 

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

I agree with an earlier post that the use of the mule's story to start the book set the tone of "fear".  You feel the desperation and fear in the mules, and later with Piet. 

 

I am really enjoying this book so far!  I am anxious to continue, and pass it on to my husband as well. 

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rosia408
Posts: 51
Registered: ‎12-01-2009
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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 expectations of good guys and bad guys?  Are you suspending judgment of some characters?
 
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?
 
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?
 
Why do we open the novel in the perspective of one of the Polish "mules" taking drugs into Stockholm?
 
 

I have only read part one so far. I want to discuss this part first and am anxious to jump back into the next part of the book. As far as characters being good or bad, I am thinking that the lines are blurred between good and bad for mostly all the characters except for Grens and Eissenson. For Grens there seems to be only facts, black and white, and he will stick with the case until he finds the answer. He is obsessed with finding the truth.

 

As far as Grens boxing up his cassettes, I see it as his not dealing yet with the death of his wife and his ability to compartmentalize his life for the time he is workiing on this case.

 

Erik Wilson is a "typical" police officer, involved in covert operations. He was probably in the US because he had been involved in a training or a covert operation in conjunction with the CIA or DEA.

 

My favorite character is Grens. He reminds me of Columbo from the TV series years ago.

 

I think we open up from the perspective of the mule to introduce us to the world of the mafia and drug smuggling.

 

Rose