Three Minutes by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom
Available: Hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition
Scandinavian thrillers have thoroughly invaded the bookshelves of North American readers. Roslund and Hellstrom have exploded onto the scene, first with Three Seconds and now with the sequel, Three Minutes.
Unknown settings make for exciting reads. Scandinavian thrillers are typically set in Scandinavian countries, but Roslund and Hellstrom change things up; Three Minutes is almost entirely set in South America.
Piet Hoffman is an ex-convict who has been recruited by the DEA as an informant. He has a brutal job; he is the bodyguard of a cartel master. His hands get pretty dirty, and the authors hold nothing back in the details. Hoffman is a beautifully fleshed-out protagonist/antihero, in the mold of Daniel Craig’s James Bond and F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack. Hoffman is an intriguing main character, who, despite his actions, is entirely human; his flaws bleed onto the page.
Hoffmann finds himself in a wild plot where the Speaker of the House is kidnapped and held prisoner. The United States takes the low road, thankfully, in composing a kill list that targets much of the cartel – and their families. Hoffmann is definitely on the list, as is his family, provided with protection in the relocation due to his job. Since the DEA’s operations are black, the government doesn’t acknowledge Hoffman as someone who needs to be saved.
What ensues is a story that does not let up, from the shocking first chapter until the last page. To say more about the plot would be to name spoilers, and with the number of twists and turns in the authors’ story, the reader will want to experience it for the first time without clues.
The linchpin to any foreign novel is the translation. Elizabeth Clark Wessel’s fluent translation reads as if the novel was originally written in English.
Next up for this reviewer is to seek out and read the rest of the books in this series. Highly recommended for thriller lovers!
Reviewed by Dave Simms