News & Events

Praise for Box 21 in USA

October 2, 2009

*Starred Review*
”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. /…/ This taut and nuanced thriller should appeal to fans of Mo Hayder, Denise Mina and, of course, Henning Mankell.”
Publishers Weekly (USA)

*Starred Review*
”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 (USA)

“Edgy thriller . . . Fresh, slangy and moves at breakneck pace.”
Kirkus Reviews (USA)

”Box 21, a taut and twisty thriller from the bestselling Swedish crime-writing team of Roslund and Hellström, takes psychological darkness to a new level. Full of abrupt turns and ratcheting suspense, Box 21 grabs the reader from the first page and refuses to let go. Many characters and plotlines are woven into this complex and superbly crafted novel, yet the connections are made seamlessly and credibly. /…/ Taken together, these characters, the expertly crafted plot and that brooding Scandinavian mood add up to one of the best thrillers of this–or any–season.”
Shelf Awareness (USA)

Patrick Anderson, Washington Post:
“The painful question the reader asks, as the novel begins, is whether Lydia and Alena can possibly escape their hellish fate. In fact, they do escape, whereupon the story takes a number of surprising twists. Alena wants only to return home to Lithuania, but Lydia is obsessed with taking revenge on the Swedish man she holds most responsible for their ordeal.”

“Box 21” (the title refers to a storage locker where Lydia hides valuables) is no sermon, but the authors make their outrage clear. Theirs is an unusual partnership. Roslund is a television newsman, and Hellström is an ex-criminal who now works with young offenders. They’ve written five books together. This one was a bestseller in Europe, as was another recent Swedish thriller, Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”; the publisher no doubt hopes that “Box 21” can equal that novel’s great success in this country.
Both are fine novels, but they’re quite different. There’s an elegance to “Dragon Tattoo” that concerns not so much a crime as a mystery: Was a long-missing girl dead, or had she run away? “Box 21” is a grittier novel
and contains ugly scenes of forced sex. “Tattoo” managed a happy ending; this one ends mostly in despair. But 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.”

Marilyn Stasio, New York Times:
“… high-impact Swedish thriller …”

“Scene by violent scene, this thriller by Anders Roslund and Borge Hellstrom (in a blunt, uncredited translation from the Swedish) never loses sight of Lydia Grajauskas, who was exposed to violence as a child in Lithuania before being duped into prostitution and ferried over to Sweden to cater to the tastes of rough men with disgusting sexual habits /…/ (Lydia) makes a believably tragic model for all the real women exploited by human traffickers.”

John Timpane, The Philadelphia Inquirer:

””Heroes and heroines are here, to be sure, and in the end the book is a celebration of love. But Box 21 teaches a hard truth, forces us to admire people we cannot like, to see when we’d rather turn away. It holds us still and makes us look.” /…/ ”The setting of this novel – which on its own terms is superb – is Stockholm, the dark Stockholm gaining rapid fame
in the United States thanks to the recent wave of “Nordic noir,” top-rate mysteries, detective stories and crime novels from Scandinavia.” /…/ Like its Nordic noir fellows, Box 21 is profound, with much to show, much to say, much to set in play, on the human condition. It’s a novel with a heart, even if it’s a hardened heart.””

The Arizona Republic:
””This dark, explicit novel is another impressive crime thriller from Scandinavia …// … it’s a good read.””