Odjuret Pen 33

Ewert Grens #1

Two children are found dead in a basement. Four years later their murderer escapes from a prison transport. The police are convinced he will kill again. In a Swedish small town, a father brings his daughter unusually late to kindergarten. Only a few hours later the girl is found raped and murdered. When the police seem to have reached a dead end, the father of the murdered girl takes the matter in his own hands. Soon, the case grows into gigantic proportions involving the entire nation…

The international bestseller Pen 33 is a nerve-jangling thriller, raising important questions about whose life is worth more.

Pen 33 is Roslund & Hellström’s first crime novel with Police Detectives Ewert Grens and Sven Sundkvist.


The Glass Key (Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year) The Nordic Countries 2005
The Glass Key (Best Nordic Crime Novel of the Year ) Nordic countries 2005
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  • “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

  • “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 Pen 33. /…/ Pen 33 is a must read.”

    The Observer, UK

  • “Their co-operation makes for a stunning thriller. Roslund´s disciplined writing and plot-driven style combined with Hellström´s profound knowledge of the world of prison, prisoners and wardens to provide a roller-coaster ride 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

  • “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 Sense for Snow. But, just as in Peter Høeg´s classic from the 90s, there is much more to the book than run-of-mill entertainment.”

    Information, Denmark

  • “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. 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 storytelling 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. Pen 33 is attentive, 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.”

    Bonniers Literary Magazine, Sweden

  • “Two Swedish authors make their literary debut with a gripping crime novel, Pen 33, 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, Denmark

  • Pen 33 is a merciless thriller, that enthralls readers with a cleverly orchestrated plot and excellent writing.”

    Milano Finanza, Italy

  • Pen 33 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

  • “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

  • “A frighteningly good thriller. /…/ When a journalist and a former criminal write a thriller, the insight becomes apparent. Rarely have I read a crime novel with such strong credibility as far as the setting is concerned. Börge Hellström provides unique inside information on the prison scenes and Anders Roslund describes the legal turns with precision. /…/ A triumph for the authors and the publisher”

    Stockholm City, Sweden

  • “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 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 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 The Beast pushes the reader away from fiction and straight into reality. /…/ Together, 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. Penn 33 reveals the true potential of this genre. This is as far from entertainment and relaxation as one can 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, Sweden

  • Penn 33 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 The Beast 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.”

    Sydsvenskan, Sweden

  • “Culture journalist Roslund and criminal rehabilitation 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 music video, but the focus always remains clear. The reader always feels present immediately when and where something happens. Rarely is one confronted with such credible characters – be 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, Sweden

  • “By the time I have read the last page, Roslund & Hellström 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, Sweden

  • “Ambitiously presented thriller about a sadistic sex murderer.”

    Upsala Nya Tidning, Sweden

  • “This is a good thriller, a solid and read-worthy first novel.”

    LT, Sweden

  • “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, Sweden

  • “Well written and with a high tempo… Well depicted characters.”

    Östersunds-Posten, Sweden

  • “A scary novel about evil processes. /…/ Pen 33 is a novel, but firmly anchored in reality and with a debate about difficult dilemmas in a community governed by law.”

    Jakobstads Tidning, Finland

  • “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-Tidningen, Sweden

  • “Together, these two men have produced a scary and gripping novel… This is a highly read-worthy book.”

    Värnamo Nyheter, Sweden

  • “Skillful 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 Pen 33 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.”

    Norrbottens-Kuriren, Sweden

  • “Together, they have produced something that is not merely a novel, but a portrait of our time.”

    Södertälje-Posten, Sweden

  • “The first novel Pen 33 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.”

    Hallands-Posten, Sweden

  • “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 co-operation between Roslund & Hellström.”

    Nu, Sweden

  • “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.”

    Katrineholms-Kuriren, Sweden

  • “Gritty and frequently chilling /…/ Pen 33 is a disturbing novel as it illustrates that events cannot always be seen in black and white.”

    New York Journal of Books, US

  • “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 *Starred Review*, US

  • “Provocative. /…/ The masterful writing and cleverly constructed layers make a handsome reward for those who can bear the graphic, first-person descriptions of murders”

    Booklist *Starred Review*, US

  • “Known for the social consciousness they bring to their [books], Roslund and Hellström depict a world riddled by abuse. /…/ This is no standard thriller. [They] chill the bone with their account of a monstrous pedophile.”

    Kirkus Reviews, US

Photo: Peter Knutson Roslund & Hellström
  • Crime
Reading material

Swedish edition

English edition

German edition

French edition

Spanish edition

Rights sold

Brazil, Planeta

Denmark, Forum

Estonia, Eesti Raamat

Finland, WSOY

France, Presses de la Cité

Israel, Sela

Italy, Cairo

Japan, Hayakawa

Korea, Singongsa

Korea, Sigongsa

Netherlands, De Geus

North Macedonia, Antolog

Norway, Aschehoug

Poland, Albatros

Russia, Inostranka

Spain, Planeta

Sweden, Piratförlaget

UK, Quercus

US, Quercus

Film rights sold

Sweden, SVT (Swedish National Television)

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