cover image Three Minutes

Three Minutes

Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, trans. from the Swedish by Elizabeth Clark Wessel. Quercus, $26.99 (432p) ISBN 978-1-68144-413-0

The action takes a long time to get going in Roslund and Hellström’s sluggish follow-up to the bestselling Three Seconds (2013), and even sniper shootings, kidnappings, and daring jungle rescues can’t overcome the novel’s strained prose or stock characters. Three years have passed since ex-con Piet Hoffmann, a Stockholm police informant, fled to Colombia with his wife and children. Now, on behalf of the DEA, he’s infiltrated a drug cartel where he serves as the guardian to El Mestizo, the cartel’s leader. When the cartel kidnaps the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in a daring raid, Hoffmann finds himself on the U.S. government’s most wanted list. The story jumps from Colombia to Stockholm—where Hoffmann’s handler, Erik Wilson, and a gruff Stockholm detective, Ewert Grens, try to protect Hoffmann and his family—but whatever drives Hoffmann, beyond a basic will to survive and protect his own, remains murky, and he makes enough horrible choices to leave readers wondering whether he’s worth sticking with. (July)