Three Seconds

Last updated
Three Seconds
Author Roslund/Hellström
Genre Crime
PublisherPiratförlaget (original)
Publication date

Three Seconds (original title: Tre sekunder) is a dark thriller by the Swedish crime-writing team of Anders Roslund and Borge Hellström. First published in Sweden in 2009, it was translated into English in 2010. The novel deals with criminals in contemporary Sweden, the Police and Probation Officials who monitor these offenders, and the government who wants to use them as undercover operatives. Throughout, the story cross-cuts between characters, giving alternating points of view of Piet Hoffmann, a former criminal turned double agent; his handler, Erik Wilson; Ewert Grens, a determined detective whose efforts to solve a case threaten to expose Hoffmann; and officials from various agencies involved in Hoffmann's operation.



Ewert Grens

Grens is a Detective Superintendent of the Stockholm Police, somewhere between 55 and 60 years old. Haunted by the death of his wife, for which he feels responsible, the grief-stricken Grens no longer takes care of himself or socializes with others. He survives on vending machine coffee and cakes; sleeps on the couch in his office; and knows his body and spirit are falling apart. When it comes to solving a crime, however, he digs in and won't let go, using his keen intelligence and well-honed instincts to arrive at the truth. He has never left a case unclosed, and is incorruptible. Grens is also the hero of four earlier novels by Roslund and Hellstöm— The Beast (2004), Box 21(2005), Redemption (2006), and The Girl Below the Street (2007 - and two later; "Two Soldiers" (2012) and "Three Minutes" (2016).

Piet Hoffmann

After being arrested for using drugs, Piet Hoffman was recruited by the police as an informant. He's one of their very best agents, enjoying an almost addictive rush of adrenaline as he faces danger nearly every minute. But now he has something in his life he never expected: a beloved wife and two small boys who he wants to protect, no matter what the cost. Success with this assignment means a new identity and a fresh start with his family.

Supporting characters


Three Seconds unfolds primarily in the streets and apartments of Stockholm and in Aspsås Prison, a fictional jail located not too far outside the city. In addition, there are side trips to both Denmark and Poland.


The movie adaptation was announced at the Film Festival in Cannes 2017. It was made official that Rosamund Pike, Joel Kinnaman, Clive Owen and Common are all set to star in The Informer . [1]


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  1. Mitchell, Robert (17 May 2017). "Cannes: Rosamund Pike, Clive Owen, Joel Kinnaman to Star in Action Thriller 'Three Seconds'". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  2. Atik, Chiara (14 October 2016). "'Dragon Tattoo' fan? Try these 10 Scandinavian thrillers". . Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  3. 1 2 Brunsdale, Mitzi M. (2016). Encyclopedia of Nordic Crime Fiction. McFarland & Company. p. 501. ISBN   978-1-4766-2277-4.