Box 21

( 66 )

Overview

Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel. Suddenly they are given an unexpected chance at freedom and with it the opportunity to take revenge on their enslavers and reclaim the lives and dignity they once had. What will happen now that the tables are turned and the victims fight back?  Box 21 is a mind-blowing psychological thriller...

See more details below
Paperback (First Edition)
$15.68
BN.com price
(Save 28%)$22.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (41) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $2.22   
  • Used (30) from $1.99   
Box 21: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$7.99
BN.com price

Overview

Three years ago, Lydia and Alena were two hopeful girls from Lithuania. Now they are sex slaves, lured to Sweden with the promise of better jobs and then trapped in a Stockholm brothel. Suddenly they are given an unexpected chance at freedom and with it the opportunity to take revenge on their enslavers and reclaim the lives and dignity they once had. What will happen now that the tables are turned and the victims fight back?  Box 21 is a mind-blowing psychological thriller of the highest order.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE CRIME BOOK OF THE YEAR

“A high-impact Swedish thriller.” —The New York Times

“Superb . . . Roslund and Hellstrom play out the tale in taut, short scenes, meting our revelations and shocks in sure, knowing fashion, ending with the shock that all but undoes the rest . . . Box 21 is profound.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer

“This dark, explicit novel is another impressive crime thriller from Scandinavia. . . . A good read.” —Arizona Republic

 

“Gripping . . . the story takes a number of surprising twists and turns.” —The Washington Post Book World

“This excellent crime thriller is bound to please fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series.” —Library Journal

“A remarkable tale of loss, addiction and revenge. . . . This taut and nuanced thriller should appeal to fans of Mo Hayder, Denise Mina and, of course, Henning Mankell.” —Publishers Weekly

(Starred Review)

 

“What is it with Scandinavians and great crime writing? Something to do with the long nights, I guess. Box 21, with its sharply drawn cast of jaded cops, junkies, thugs, and victims, is a gripping tale of modern-day slavery, damage, and revenge, shocking and compelling in equal measure.” —Simon Lewis, author of Bad Traffic

Patrick Anderson
…gritty…Box 21 (the title refers to a storage locker where Lydia hides valuables) is no sermon, but the authors make their outrage clear…if the nasty realities of the sex trade don't scare you off, Box 21 is a harsh but vivid reminder of just how brutal men can be.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
The Swedish writing team of Roslund and Hellström make their U.S. debut with a remarkable tale of loss, addiction and revenge set in Stockholm's seedy underworld. Ewert Grens, a veteran detective, is haunted by a tragic incident that occurred 25 years earlier that left his young wife, a fellow police officer, an invalid. When the man responsible, notorious criminal Jochum Lang, is released from prison, Grens vows to put him away for life. Meanwhile, the detective arrives at a crime scene where a teenage prostitute, Lydia Grajauskas, has been nearly beaten to death by her Russian pimp. Alternating chapters fill in the backstory of Lydia and Alena Sljusareva, girls lured away from Lithuania under false pretenses and sold as sex slaves. In a bizarre twist, Lydia escapes from her hospital bed and ends up taking hostages. This taut and nuanced thriller should appeal to fans of Mo Hayder, Denise Mina and, of course, Henning Mankell. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Another best-selling Swedish crime thriller translated for American audiences, this book is the work of TV personality Roslund and former criminal and current youth worker Hellström. Their dark and gritty tale revolves around Lithuanian sex slaves Lydia and Alena, vicious and rarely convicted mob enforcer Jochum Lang, and Hilding Oldeus, a desperate heroin junkie. Their stories converge when cranky, old-fashioned police inspector Ewert Grens is assigned to the investigation of Lydia's horrific murder by her pimp, Lang and Oldeus get out of jail, and Grens resumes his crusade to put Lang away permanently. Bleak and pessimistic, even for Scandinavian crime stories, this international best seller has a style reminiscent of the classic Maj Sjöwall and Per Walöö Martin Beck mysteries and is also set in downtown Stockholm. VERDICT This excellent crime thriller is bound to please fans of Stieg Larsson's The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander series. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/09.]—Jessica Moyer, Univ. of Minnesota, Coll. of Education & Human Development, Minneapolis
Kirkus Reviews
A tangle of criminal plotlines converge combustibly at a Stockholm hospital in this edgy thriller, the second the collaborators have published in English (The Beast, 2005). As a child, Russian-born Lydia Grajauskas visits her father in a Swedish prison. Eleven years later she's a sex slave, working with other immigrant girls and beaten regularly by her boss Dimitri. Police detective Ewert Grens visits his ex-fiancee Anni, barely alive in a convalescent facility. In the 25 years since mobster Jochum Lang put her in this condition, Ewert has simply been going through the motions of his life. Hilding Oldeus, drug addict and petty criminal, roams the streets, committing an array of offenses. Upon learning that Lang is about to be released, Ewert seeks the calming influence of Bengt Nordwall, veteran and family man, his mentor on the force. He tries unsuccessfully to get Hilding to turn state's evidence against Lang and secure his retention. All these plot threads lead to Soder Hospital, where Lydia is taken after her latest beating. Her friend Alena uses the surrounding confusion to escape and try to implement the duo's grand getaway plan. Pursued by Lang, Hilding also arrives at the hospital demanding drugs of his sister Lisa, who's a doctor there. Then Lydia gets hold of a gun, takes a group of hospital staff hostage and demands to see Bengt. Further twists follow. Fresh, slangy and moves at breakneck pace, though it loses some of its energy as it narrows its focus.
The Barnes & Noble Review
Rational, tolerant, peace-loving Swedes, providers of so many of the good things in life -- pickled herring, knäckebröd, akvavit, IKEA, too, if your tastes run that way -- have been especially generous of late in furnishing us with a cornucopia of torture, sadistic perversion, and cold-blooded murder. No sooner did this particular reader unglue her eyes from the killings and human trafficking in The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second volume of the late Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy, than Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström's Box 21 showed up at the door. This too treats of human trafficking and murder, as well as a number of other evil deeds and dark crimes. All I can say, and I do so with gladness, is that Calvinism and its damning vision of an unredeemed world appears to be vigorously recrudescent in Swedish crime novels.

Box 21 begins with an extract from a hospital admissions report detailing the condition of a badly beaten, unconscious young woman. This, we discover, is Lydia Grajaukas, who had been kept a virtual slave for over three years with another young woman, Alena Sljusareva. In an increasingly familiar story, the two were lured from economic nowheresville in Lithuania by promises of good jobs in Sweden, only to find themselves forced into prostitution, in this case by a nasty piece of work called Dmitri. This shiny-suited specimen of foulness demands that, every day, each woman service a dozen men who, as often as not, inflict pain and humiliation upon them. That there are so many Swedish men -- apparently decent citizens with families and upstanding careers -- whose appetites run to violating women and who are willing to pay a good deal to do so in secret, is a terrible fact. It lurks in this novel and informs the story's shocking denouement.

But before we get anywhere near that, a long roster of characters is put into play, many of whom provide the points of view from which the novel unfolds. Chief among them is Ewert Grens, a senior detective in the Stockholm police. At 56 years old, Ewert is, not to mince words, a misery guts -- lonely, morose, disillusioned, built on the same out-of-shape lines as Inspector Kurt Wallander, Henning Mankell's decrepit, tormented top cop. The big, bad thing in Ewert's life happened 25 years ago when his fiancée, true love, and soul mate, Anni, a fellow police officer, was pulled from a car by an extreme thug called Jochum Lang. She was dragged under its wheels, suffering injuries that have left her brain-damaged. Jochum, on the other hand, escaped with a short prison sentence, and is now mixed up with a Yugoslavian criminal gang. It is Ewert's chief goal and obsession to nail him for a crime serious enough to put him in prison for life.

The person who hears about this dream of revenge most frequently is Bengt Nordwell, another policemen and Ewert's only real friend. Bengt feels bad about the whole thing: he was sitting next to Anni in that fatal car but failed to hang on to her when she was being pulled out. Still, though himself in his 50s, Bengt hasn't taken the sad-sack route in life. He is now happily married to a much younger woman, Lena, with whom he has two children.

The throw-Jochum-in-the-slammer-for-life plot merges with the one with Lydia at its center in the hospital to which she is sent. A drug addict, a sordid creature called Hilding Oldéus, has landed there after an overdose. He had been in prison with Jochum, and Ewert has hopes of extracting some useful dirt on his archenemy from him. But, alas, Hilding is on the outs with the Yugoslavian mob, something even more detrimental to health than an overdose. I don't wish to give too much away, but I have to mention that while unfortunate things are befalling Hilding -- and while a hardworking doctor called Lisa Öhrströn is being intimidated by a bad actor called Slobodan into keeping her trap shut -- Lydia is being helped by her friend and former fellow captive, Alena, to mount an ingenious plan to wreak vengeance on the person who, with the loathsome Dmitri, was responsible for their tragedy. It is at about this point in the book that I became unable to put it down, except for a few screeching halts to piece together the accumulating evidence gained from the novel's many points of view. But, then -- after my heart had reached maximum pounding, after Lydia's elaborate plan had been effected and the identity of a real baddie had been confirmed and vengeance wrought -- then the novel rises to another pitch, to a higher level of complication.

Betrayal, duty, and compassion struggle for dominance in the bosoms of two of Sweden's finest. Some inspired sleuthing reveals the secret of Box 21, and a flashback finale provides one further appalling revelation.

It is only after reaching the final page of this intoxicating thriller that I began to quibble with the authors' maneuvers. I mind only slightly -- and while reading, didn't mind at all -- that some of the expedients employed by the two Lithuanian women to further their ends are pretty far-fetched, to say nothing of depending on more goodwill on the part of "clients" than one might expect from men who indulge their appetites with enslaved prostitutes.

But I was truly annoyed by another device. The story proceeds from about a dozen points of view, two of which are those of people about whom we eventually learn very bad things. But the authors have hidden the deep-dyed evilness of this pair by filtering out such incriminating thoughts as they must surely have had as they contemplated -- as they do -- the upshot of their deeds. That is a serious reservation, and yet I have to say, it has been a long time since I galloped through a crime novel with such gusto. If a couple of the players turned out to be ringers, well, it was still worth the ride. --Katherine A. Powers

Katherine A. Powers writes the literary column "A Reading Life" for the Boston Sunday Globe and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312655341
  • Publisher: Picador
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 675,272
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anders Roslund is the founder and former head of Kulturnyheterna (Culture News) on Swedish Television. Börge Hellström is an ex-criminal who helps to rehabilitate young offenders and drug addicts.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 66 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(19)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(11)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    Excellent and hard to put down.love it

    Excellent and hard to put down.love it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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).

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Misses the mark

    Not all that good

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • 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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 66 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)