Customer Reviews for

Box 21

Average Rating 3.5
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(11)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

This is a super Swedish police procedural

Twenty-five years ago in Stockholm, criminal Jochum Lang left cop Anni Grens an invalid. Her spouse police detective Ewert Grens vowed to insure this punk never got freed. Now Jochum walks; but Grens, ignoring the pleading of his long time crony Bengt Nordwell to move...
Twenty-five years ago in Stockholm, criminal Jochum Lang left cop Anni Grens an invalid. Her spouse police detective Ewert Grens vowed to insure this punk never got freed. Now Jochum walks; but Grens, ignoring the pleading of his long time crony Bengt Nordwell to move on, stalks him looking to find something to return the SOB to prison.

Grens and his partner Sundkvist arrive at a violent crime scene. Teenage Lithuanian prostitute Lydia Grajauskas was nearly killed by her Russian pimp. The Swedish detectives learn that Lydia and Alena Sljusareva were tricked into coming from Lithuania to Sweden three years ago under the ruse of legitimate employment, but sold as sex slaves instead; Jochum the enforcer is involved with the ring to Grens' glee. However while at Soder Hospital recovering from the beating, Lydia fearing deportation takes hostages.

This is a super Swedish police procedural with several twists and spins as what related events that happened over the past quarter of a century are told in alternating chapters with what is occurring in the present. The fast-paced story line is character driven as the audience will feel the hatred Ewert does not try to hide as his reason for living is to destroy Lang like he did Anni. Fans who appreciate a refreshing different type of police procedural will want to read BOX 21 as Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom keeps the readers off kilter, past and present.

Harriet Klausner

posted by harstan on August 17, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Disappointing thriller fails to excite

Being a big fan of the Martin Beck novels, the Wallander series, and especially the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, the characters are wooden, the exposition leaden, and the plot, not to put too fine a point on it, plods. Perhaps the...
Being a big fan of the Martin Beck novels, the Wallander series, and especially the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, the characters are wooden, the exposition leaden, and the plot, not to put too fine a point on it, plods. Perhaps the translation is not very good, but the crudely drawn and hackneyed central character -- the detective Ewert -- seem to indicate that the problem is in the original text. Save your time and money.

posted by DTWright on November 16, 2010

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  • Posted August 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    This is a super Swedish police procedural

    Twenty-five years ago in Stockholm, criminal Jochum Lang left cop Anni Grens an invalid. Her spouse police detective Ewert Grens vowed to insure this punk never got freed. Now Jochum walks; but Grens, ignoring the pleading of his long time crony Bengt Nordwell to move on, stalks him looking to find something to return the SOB to prison.

    Grens and his partner Sundkvist arrive at a violent crime scene. Teenage Lithuanian prostitute Lydia Grajauskas was nearly killed by her Russian pimp. The Swedish detectives learn that Lydia and Alena Sljusareva were tricked into coming from Lithuania to Sweden three years ago under the ruse of legitimate employment, but sold as sex slaves instead; Jochum the enforcer is involved with the ring to Grens' glee. However while at Soder Hospital recovering from the beating, Lydia fearing deportation takes hostages.

    This is a super Swedish police procedural with several twists and spins as what related events that happened over the past quarter of a century are told in alternating chapters with what is occurring in the present. The fast-paced story line is character driven as the audience will feel the hatred Ewert does not try to hide as his reason for living is to destroy Lang like he did Anni. Fans who appreciate a refreshing different type of police procedural will want to read BOX 21 as Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom keeps the readers off kilter, past and present.

    Harriet Klausner

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 16, 2010

    Disappointing thriller fails to excite

    Being a big fan of the Martin Beck novels, the Wallander series, and especially the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately, the characters are wooden, the exposition leaden, and the plot, not to put too fine a point on it, plods. Perhaps the translation is not very good, but the crudely drawn and hackneyed central character -- the detective Ewert -- seem to indicate that the problem is in the original text. Save your time and money.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Bridget's Review

    This is one of the best thrillers I have read in a really long time. I liked everything about it, the writing style, the characters, everything was perfect. This would be the perfect gift for the reader in your life.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2010

    Suspenseful, gritty look at the international sex trade

    I very much enjoyed this riveting and at times, chilling, look at the international sex trade. The story is real life and suspenseful with a clever twist at the end. The shocking under story is how pervasive this type of crime is in a country with an educated, "civilized" society.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Excellent and hard to put down.love it

    Excellent and hard to put down.love it

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  • Posted June 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Complex

    Also published under the title "The Vault" in the UK

    Book 2 in the Ewert Grens series

    The novel holds two main stories that are dark, extraordinarily sad and definitely not for the faint at heart. Both threads involve one of Stockholm's best detectives Ewert Grens.

    The first plot opens, with the release from prison of a notorious criminal; Jochum Lang. Detective Grens who has personal and professional reasons, feels Lang is a threat to the public, a hard core criminal and he makes it his mission to put him back behind bars. Grens strong feelings are based on an incident that happened twenty five years earlier. His colleague and girlfriend at the time was beaten to within an inch of her life and has been institutionalized ever since, a case that haunts him to this day. When Grens discovers that criminal bosses are hiring Lang as a strong arm he seizes the chance to send him back to prison.

    The second plot is fast paced and full of credible action with a sad tone, another case Detective Grens is working in parallel that is demanding much of his time and skill. Lydia Grajauskas and Alena Sljusareva are two Lithuanian girls who have been tricked into leaving their country only to become sex slaves and property of the man they call Dimitri-B astard-Pimp. We first learned about the girls when they are into a three year old nightmare servicing 12 clients a day, their moral at the extreme low and often beaten into submission. One day Lydia was so badly beaten that the neighbours called the police and was transported to the hospital. Her terrifying ordeal is revealed and at the same time she seizes the opportunity to fulfill a dream, take matters into her own hands and escape the hands of her captor.

    The writing is crisp and steadfast with short chapters that shift back and forth between several colourfully portrayed characters: the criminals, the victims and the cops. I found it rather hard to get into this tale at first but once I became familiar with the writer's style and phrasing, it all fell into place, at this point the story gelled and I was hooked.

    I like this novel; it is a complex and intense psychological thriller that delivers a brutally intimate view into the drug and sex slave trade.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ANOTHER GREAT READ FROM sweden

    REad this on recommendation from a friend and was not dissapointed. Great plot, fantastic interesting chatacters and a surpise ending . Love it !

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    Sucks...it is that simple, it sucks.

    Writing is good. Terrible ending. If you like books about policemen who sell their souls for no good reason and prosecutors who are more interested in job security, then this is the book for you. A chance to make a statement and if fails miserably. If you see this book, run. Do not read it. I am sorry I wasted the money.

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  • Posted April 17, 2011

    Were the reviewers paid by the authors?

    I dont know why this was touted as a sucessor to the girl with the dragon tattoo series. This book was almost pure torture to read the authors spent way too much time on the graphic sexual tortures of the women and not enough time imo writing about the case and how it should be resolved. Also the chief character imo was not even remotely likable (he spent way too much time moping about his vegatated gf and being abusive to the people he worked with. I mean it works if the man is a genius and has humor value(ie the character of house in the popular tv series here) but i fail to see one time where he was anything but a bumbling pendantic cop who only sometimes stumbled into a clue. Also the authors' constant writing about his whining of his gf and the constant harping that people tolerated his behavior due to his genius (something i fail to really see, im either dense and didnt realize it or it doesnt exist)is something that could have been mentioned once or twice not all the time (as if the readers had short term memory loss).

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Misses the mark

    Not all that good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Gritty Swedish Mystery

    BOX 21 is another gritty Swedish thriller from the authors of THREE SECONDS (which I reviewed in December).

    Written before THREE SECONDS, this novel is the story of Lydia and Alena, two beautiful young girls from Lithuania, who were enticed to Sweden with the promise of good jobs and a better life. Instead, they were two more victims of human trafficking and were quickly locked away, beaten and sexually abused repeatedly and used as prostitutes.

    When Lydia is beaten injured, the police intervene and we're reintroduced to Det. Inspector Ewert Grens, the sad and lonely protagonist from THREE SECONDS. Hospitalized for her injuries, Lydia is aided by Alena in obtaining a weapon and explosives and, after taking hostages in the hospital, she demands to talk to Bengt Nordwall, Grens' longtime friend and colleague. The hostage situation is quickly out of control, and coincides with Grens' hope of finally arresting the man who destroyed his life when he permanently injured Anni, Grens' love and fellow officer many years before.

    All of the evidence Lydia has amassed about the horrors she and Alena endured are on a videotape in Box 21 at the Central Rail Station. But Grens has to make a tortured decision about who is best served by revealing the evidence, risking his career in the process.

    Once again Roslund and Hellstrom have lifted the veil on a small part of the bleak underbelly in Sweden as well as the hopelessness of actually stopping the flow of human trafficking. Missing was a more in-depth view of Grens' character, but BOX 21, though not as intricate as THREE SECONDS, was still a compelling mystery. Lynn Kimmerle

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2011

    Unsatisfied Customer

    Unfortunately I ordered this book over a month ago and have yet to receive it. My Barnes & Noble package that was supposed to contain 9 books only contained 5 of the books with a letter from USPS saying that the package was received unsealed and contents may be missing. I have had a horrible time with customer service and no one has done anything about this outstanding issue. I will never shop and B&N again! Buyers beware!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    This novel left me angry

    I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but I was not unmoved, so maybe that's what the authors were aiming for.

    Just the same, I felt nothing but rage at the callous way the main characters disregarded the plight of the poor girls who shared Box 21 (and their successors). Sure, I expect the protagonist in any story to be flawed in some way, but, this one, having witnessed such utterly cruel depravity visited upon defenseless and innocent victims, was selfishly unable to remove his focus from his own parochial difficulties to display even a sprinkling of real empathy for the only real victims in the story.

    Frankly, I felt nothing but disgust for Ewert Grens and I don't plan to read anything else by this pair of authors.

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    Posted February 21, 2011

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