Roslund & Hellström

The Beast

Release date: 2004-03-17 / Original title: Odjuret
Roslund & Hellström - The Beast

The Beast

Two children are found dead in a basement. Four years later their murderer escapes from prison. The police know if he is not found quickly, he will kill again.

But when their worst fears come true and another child is murdered in the nearby town of Strängnäs, the situation spirals out of control. In an atmosphere of hysteria whipped up by the media, Fredrik Steffansson, the father of the murdered child, decides he must take revenge. His actions will have devastating consequences. As anger spreads across the whole country, the two detectives assigned to the case – Ewert Grens and Sven Sundkvist – find themselves caught up in a situation of escalating violence.

A powerful and at times profoundly shocking novel, The Beast has been likened to both Hitchcock and le Carré. It is also an important and timely exploration of what can happen when we take the law into our own hands. It is the winner of Glasnyckeln 2005 (The Glass Key 2005) for Best Scandinavian Crime Novel of the Year.

“Roslund and Hellström’s blistering novel … In addition to subjecting readers to the stomach-wrenching minutiae of prison life, Roslund and Hellström force them to consider who in this denunciation of governmental policies and practices are the victims and who are the criminals.”
Publishers Weekly (USA)
“Pen 33 is the first book in the wildly popular Ewerts Grens series, available to American readers for the first time. Although later books in the series such as Three Seconds are New York Times bestsellers, American readers now have the opportunity for a formal introduction to Roslund’s and Hellström’s overweight, rude, but very gifted Swedish Detective Superintendent Ewerts Grens.”
New York Journal Of Books (USA)
“The book is strong and moving, sometimes to such an extent that I had to put it down. /…/ It is thoroughly thought through and calls upon reflection and debate… It is very gripping and an excellent result of the cooperation between Roslund and Hellström.”
“A frightening and frighteningly well-written first novel. /…/ It is a book that evokes both disgust and that is in some parts so gripping and so scary that it would make you want to put it away if your curiosity about the end didn’t stop you.”
"Together, they have produced something that is not merely a novel, but a portrait of our times.”
“The first novel Odjuret by Roslund/Hellström is a gripping – and sometimes disturbing – thriller where the end is anything but happy. /…/ That The Beast’s horrid crime is described in detail may make your stomach turn, but nonetheless you will find it difficult to put the book away before you have finished reading it.”
“Skilful writing by a first timer duo. Their topic is emotional, but their language feels disturbingly true to life. This is exactly how it could be in real life. The increasingly accelerating road to downfall into the abyss is depicted in a painful manner. The tragedies are foreboded and the course of the revenge appears relentless and fair, but in its wake there are other tragic consequences in a spiral of violence that brings with it nothing positive. /…/ Their first novel is strong and stir up relentless emotions. To read Odjuret is to look into a warped abyss of the human psyche – a place where the urge for revenge becomes easy to understand and sympathize with, but where the intrinsic nature of revenge misguides us and turns us, the agitated, into the perpetual losers.”
"A successful – but horrid – first novel. /…/ The novel brings interesting matters to a head. How should society handle such deranged murderers? By giving them medical treatment? Or by repression and locking them up? Or even through capital punishment?”
Mariestads Tidning
“Together, these two men have produced a scary and gripping novel… This is a highly read-worthy book.”
Värnamo Nyheter
"Well written and with a high tempo… Well depicted characters”.
“A scary novel about evil processes. /…/ Odjuret is a novel, but firmly anchored in reality and with a debate about difficult dilemmas in a community governed by law.”
Jakobstads Tidning (Finland)
“Ambitiously presented thriller about a sadistic sex murderer.”
Upsala Nya Tidning
“This is a good thriller, a solid and read-worthy first novel.”
“Amongst the scariest I have read…very, very, poignant. /… It is so incredibly well-written that it scares you out of your wits. /…/ One of the most fascinating novels I have read for a long time.”
Sveriges Radio Sjuhärad
“By the time I have read the last page, Hellström and Roslund have managed to surprise me numerous of times. The book, which at the onset appeared to be a regular novel of suspense, turned out to be so much more. This is a story that stirs up people’s emotions, and that feels very timely. It is a well thought trough first novel with more dimensions to it than I anticipated when I started reading it.”
Värmlands Folkblad
“Culture journalist Roslund and criminal care debater Hellström have joined forces to produce a crime novel that seeks to provide more than mere momentary entertainment. And they have certainly achieved their objective. The scenes keep changing just like in a rock video, but the focus always remains clear. The reader always feels present immediately when and where something happens. Rarely, one is confronted with such credible characters – irrespective of whether they are paedophiles with clear psychopathic traits, perpetual jailbirds, hardened policemen, shocked victims, career-minded prosecutors, agitated citizens wishing to take the law into their own hands, or others. /…/ A horrid story with a nerve. It is also told in a very good and refined manner…worthy of all appreciation it can get.”
Länstidningen Östersund
“ Odjuret by Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström is one of the best first novels for a long time. /…/ What impresses me the most is perhaps that Odjuret manages to make so many of the central characters credible and thereby much more difficult to condemn. This is well done and even more promising for the future. I hope the combination of the authors Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström will soon return.”
Sydsvenska Dagbladet
“A very strong story about a terrible crime and its equally terrible consequences. It creates an urge to discuss the value of life – is the life of one person worth more than that of another? Can a murder be justified? The discussions are not merely theoretical, because Odjuret pushes the reader away from fiction and straight into reality. /…/ Together, these two Roslund/Hellström are successful in giving a large amount of people an audible voice. /…/ Often, it is said that crime novels provide relaxing reading material, a moment of entertainment and diversion. The Beast reveals the true potential of this genre. This is as far from entertainment and relaxation as one may get and instead intimately near reality and our own personal feelings and opinions. /…/ Undoubtedly, this is a book that will be widely discussed and debated, and it will clearly make a lasting impression on every reader.”
Skånska Dagbladet
“A stunning thriller. Roslund’s disciplined writing and plot driven-style combine with Hellstrom’s profound knowledge of the world of prison, prisoners and wardens to provide a roller-coaster read that is driven by emotional power. It has the blunt, matter-of-fact Swedish tone of thriller-writers like Henning Mankell, yet it is also subtle and nuanced. A fabulous read"
Sunday Business Post
"A tale of tragedy and revenge that is truly gripping, and all the more horrifying because this kind of thing can happen anywhere’”
“Alongside serial killers, paedophilia is an increasingly common theme in modern crime fiction. Rarely has it been dealt with as chillingly yet as thoughtfully as in The Beast by Anders Roslund & Borge Hellstrom. [...]The Beast is a must-read”
"What is fantastic about this novel is that Roslund-Hellström do not settle for any half measures: they could have contented themselves with run of the mill prose that fits nicely into this genre, since their mission is to raise important questions. Likewise, they could have left psychology out, since their social repertoire has such width. They do neither. Instead, they have made an effort to produce a novel that is complete. Roslund-Hellström are advanced in terms of story-telling technique. They use a wide range of viewpoints, parallel courses of events, changes of style, an ability to identify emotionally to characters ranging form the psychologically disturbed to bored civil servants. The Beast is alert, intelligent and disturbing. Just as we were beginning to sense that the Swedish crime novel was about to install itself comfortably in the compartment of success, Roslund-Hellström puts it to back to work. Clearly, this is very beneficial to it. Intriguing”
“By assuming that the genre is alive, dynamic and possible to develop further, they place their novel alongside those of Hammett, McBain, Manchette and Sjöwall-Wahlöö.
”Alongside serial killers, paedophilia is an increasingly common theme in modern crime fiction. Rarely has it been dealt with as chillingly yet as thoughtfully as in The Beast. /…/ The Beast is a must read.”
The Observer (UK)
”The Swedish debut novel of the year. An extraordinarily thrilling novel, but also an extraordinarily thought provoking novel.”
Ystads Allehanda (Sweden)
“This is so well written that it’s impossible to put the book down, and with an intensity that makes it clear you shouldn’t.”
Fyens Stiftstidene (Denmark)
“A singular team of writers who produce brutal but real books, which even on the high-quality Swedish literary scene, stand out as riveting crime fiction.”
Noir (Italy)
“Roslund & Hellström deliver raw writing and blood-chilling scenes that creep under your skin and strike you right down to the bone.”
La Sicilia (Italy)
“The Beast is a merciless thriller, that enthralls readers with a cleverly orchestrated plot and excellent writing.”
Milano Finanza (Italy)
“The Beast, is an excellent and insightful thriller by the Swedish pair [Roslund & Hellström], and frighteningly realistic in the way that it tackles a hot social issue.”
Keskipohjanmaa (Finland)
****** (six stars out of six) “Two Swedish authors make their literary debut with a gripping crime novel, The Beast, which tells a breathtaking crime story while it discusses the primitive yet forbidden human concept of the vendetta./…/ The two Swedes, Anders Roslund and Börge Hellström, emphasize this dilemma in their debut novel The Beast in such an intense, realistic and gripping way that the reader understands the view of both the lawbreaker and society, whose duty it is to put the accused on trial and thus make sure that people learn from it. /…/ The two debutants have created a crime story that lives up to all the expectations of a breathtaking and suspenseful bestseller. /…/ It looks like a pair of new realistic Swedish crown princes of crime have been born.”
Berlingske Tidene (Denmark)
"It is like being hit by a verbal projectile, a smooth cold bullet, at close range. /.../ This is how the story progresses, all the way through the book with plot twists, as unexpected as anything by le Carré, and tricks, cunning enough to match any by Hitchcock to keep the reader in a permanent state of breathlessness. /.../ The raw excitement is kept at a level as high as in Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow. But, just as in Peter Høeg's classic form the 90s, there is much more to the book than run-of-mill entertainment."
Information (Denmark)
“Their cooperation makes for a stunning thriller. Roslund’s disciplined writing and plot-driven style combine with Hellström’s profound knowledge of the world of prison, prisoners and wardens to provide a roller-coaster read that is driven by emotional power. /…/ This is a book with extraordinary insights and totally unexpected plot twists. Yet the most striking thing about it is the intensity in the characters. It’s hard to read without tears coming to your eyes. It has the blunt, matter-of-fact Swedish tone of thriller writers like Henning Mankell, yet it is also subtle and nuanced. A fabulous read.”
Sunday Business Post (UK)
“The Beast is a book that keeps a constantly very high level – there are no weak moments. / …/ It evokes extreme emotions and leaves the reader in a state of emotional exhaustion. ”
Książki Poltergeist (Poland)
“A tale of tragedy and revenge that is truly gripping, and all the more horrifying because this kind of thing can happen anywhere.”
The Guardian (UK)
“… although the book is written by Scandinavian authors already ten years ago, it is still just as relevant in Poland…” “… this is no light hearted reading with a cool main character drama but poses difficult questions and do not give clear answers…” “… the authors are known for their realism to these events – Roslund is a journalist specializing in social and criminal issues, and Hellstrom is one of the founders of the crime prevention organization KRIS… ”
Dzika Banda (Poland)

Odjuret | Sweden | Piratförlaget
A Besta | Brazil | Planeta
Zvijer | Croatia| Znanje
Udyret | Denmark | Forum
Elajas | Estonia | Eesti Raamat
Peto | Finland | WSOY
La Betê | France | Presses de la cité
Die Bestie | Germany | Scherz/Fischer
Ófreskjan | Iceland | Uppheimar
La Bestia | Italy | Cairo
制裁 | Japan | Hayakawa
The Beast | Korea | Singongsa
Vaderwraak | Netherlands | De Geus
Udyret | Norway | Aschehoug
Bestia | Poland | Albatros| Vesper
The Beast | Russia | Inostranka
La Bestia | Spain | Planeta
Canavar | Turkey | Pegasus
The Beast | UK | Quercus
Israel (under translation) | Sela Books
Romania (under translation) | Tritonic
Pen 33 | US | Quercus

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