Hard Boiled and Hard Core

Box 21, by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom, is a hard ball police work novel with a harsh look at the hard core of prostitution in Sweden. This novel begins in pieces, which over time are put together in ways one suspects but follows into the darkness. The reader meets two Lithuanian prostitutes sold as sex slaves, ostensibly to a pimp named Dimitri. Then there is an enforcer/killer for hire named Lang who is just out of prison. Inspector Ewert Grens and his partner Sven pivot between these characters as the action soon heats up. When one of the girls goes beserk and the police are called, the threads wind up tightly, in ways Grens would prefer the rest of the world never finds out. But Sven has more of a consience and pursues leads on his own initiative. In the mean time, there are a few dead end plot lines that could have been left out but do lend a bit of authentic confusion to the police work aspect of the story. This is the world of scum and their victims, hunters and hunted, the innocent and abused all writ intimately and without the gloss other stories use to polish over the depravity.

All in all, this is a bleak story, one with few redeeming messages. Right to the end, the reader will be looking for some light at the end of the tunnel. Warning: there isn’t much. Such is life as created by this team of authors. However, those readers who want a glimpse into the savage ways of human traficking will want to peer through this lense, if only to see how bad it can be and what happens when a person can’t take it anymore.

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Published in: on May 14, 2011 at 1:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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