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Never Fuck Up: A Novel Hardcover – June 18, 2013


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Frequently Bought Together

Never Fuck Up: A Novel + Easy Money: A Novel (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) + Life Deluxe: A Novel (Stockholm Noir Trilogy)
Price for all three: $62.01

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This second novel in the Stockholm Noir Trilogy (following Easy Money, 2012) intertwines three perspectives of Stockholm’s underworld, showcasing contradictions in Swedish society, where idealism, racism, hope, and corruption all swirl. Mahmud, an Arab immigrant just released from prison, longs to be free of gangland clutches even while ­shaking hands with one kingpin to escape another’s wrath. Thomas is a hardened, violent, surprisingly idealistic cop who turns to the Serbian Mafia when the Stockholm police betray him. And Nicklas, recently returned from a mercenary tour in Afghanistan, is convinced that Sweden’s true enemy is its epidemic of violence against women, prompting him to launch an obsessive mission to avenge those wrongs. These stories orbit the murder of an unidentified man discovered by Thomas and his partner in Nicklas’ mother’s building. Lapidus contrasts personal violence with a powerful criminal conspiracy by linking the victim to both Nicklas’ childhood and the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olof Palme in 1986. A grand-scale portrait of Stockholm’s criminal world that shares James Ellroy’s hyperrealism and Richard Price’s blend of atmosphere and sociology. --Christine Tran

Review

"It’s a world whose vocabulary is shaped by American gangsta rap but whose greed and ambition is familiar to anybody who ever cracked open a Mario Puzo crime novel.”
—The Wall Street Journal Online

"A grand-scale portrait of Stockholm's criminal world that shares James Ellroy's hyperrealism and Richard Price's blend of atmosphere and sociology."
—Booklist

" 'Svens' (i.e. native Swedes) collide with immigrant groups, from Middle Easterners to ruthlessly organized gangs of 'Yugos' and 'Turks,' in the gritty second novel in Lapidus's Stockholm Noir trilogy. . . . Its morally ambiguous characters and rough street argot will compel reader attention to the last page."
Publishers Weekly

“A delightfully murky tale of sunny Sweden’s rough ’n’ tumble dark side . . . It’s like visiting the perfect party: exciting guests, great location.”
8Weekly (Netherlands)
 
“Lapidus is a master raconteur. The story is irresistible.”
—Kouvolan Sanomat (Finland)
 
“It’s rare for a first novelist to emerge out of nowhere and turn an entire genre upside down, but that is exactly what happened when Jens Lapidus roared into Swedish crime fiction with Easy Money . . . He is alone in his game.”
—Svenska Dagbladet (Sweden)
 
“Lapidus doesn’t fuck up. He delivers.”
—Helsingsborgs Dagblad (Sweden)
 
“A deft and bold crime novel.”
—Berlingske (Denmark)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Pantheon; Reprint edition (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307377490
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307377494
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Phillips VINE VOICE on June 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What's up with the Scandinavians? Either there are a lot of imaginative authors or a lot of truly twisted criminal minds. I've enjoyed Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander, and several of Jo Nesbo's books, as well as Stig Larsson's Girl series. So along comes Jens Lapidus, and of course I'm interested. Unfortunately, while his book mimics the content and style of some of the better books, it misses the heart and soul of what makes Wallander successful - a character to root for.

The "Girl" series had very flawed protagonists but ones you could and did root for. Likewise Wallander. Lapidus' book has three story lines, each with a protagonist, none of which are interesting or viable. You've got a dirty cop who has potentially stumbled on to evidence about Olaf Palme's murder. You've got a weight-lifting, porn crazed, drug dealing Muslim youth, who turns on his own kind, and a guy returning from war as a contractor who seems to be losing his mind. These three and their stories cross paths, but there's no energy or heat to the story. There are more pharmaceutical brand names in the book than I could count, and hundreds of references to prostitution, pornography and stupid sex. Much of it is unnecessary and doesn't do anything for the story.

In the end I found myself pushing through simply to finish the book. I didn't care about the characters and parts of the novel require a suspension of disbelief. Why would a gang member side with an enemy and turn over one of his own? Why would the only person to find evidence on Palme's murder - the most significant crime in Sweden in 30 years - be a dirty cop more interested in fixing cars and pornography than police work?

If you enjoy reading about how twisted the criminal mind is in Sweden and Norway - read Mankell or Nesbo or Larsson. This book feels derivative and uses a lot of gimmicks that should be beneath the author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Ellsworth VINE VOICE on March 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In this police procedural, Jens Lapidus and his translator, Astri von Arbin Ahlander, combine to expose Sweden's social problems with drug abuse, native reaction to immigration, gender issues, robbery and, of course, a murder that is not easy to solve. As a well-known criminal defense lawyer, Lapidus knows every facet of this background well. He also is the best-selling crime novelist in Sweden today, when read in his native language.

I'd like to add something different to earlier reviews. The blatant title could have been translated 'Never Mess Up.' The novel is almost an essay on the ways someone can do that. Arab immigrant Mahmud has stolen drugs from his criminal employer; contract soldier Niklas may be involved in a home-town murder. Police patrolman Thomas has 'messed up' by seriously investigating a homicide his superiors don't want to know about. Even Swedish society has 'messed up.' Well-intentioned and progressive social programs to aid those with problems aren't working as planned.

All of this becomes evident during the reading of this basically enjoyable novel. The book is well-written, well-constructed and well-thought through. It provides more than an 'adrenalin rush' for the reader. I found the 'story' here to be about how the major characters deal with the fall out from their various mess-ups. This is where the action and suspense in the novel comes from.

There is a translation issue when trying to render the argot of an Arabic culture into something Americans can connect with. Astri von Arbin Ahlander has chosen to use a very few Arabic words and to flesh out the rest in the idiom of African American and Hispanic street culture.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gregory McMahan VINE VOICE on September 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book tells the gritty noir escapades of three different men, each of whom have a dubious moral compass. One is a crook, and is trying desperately to stay alive after failing to make his book. One is a cop who has a rather cavalier attitude towards the law- especially as it applies to minorities. Finally, the most interesting of the lot is a mercenary with a twisted sense of justice. When these three intersect, violent mayhem ensues.

This book definitely rides the wave of Scandinavian crime fiction. Although it takes a while for the story to really begin, it nonetheless delivers a satisfying romp. I will definitely be on the lookout for more from Jens Lapidus.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J.E. Ocean VINE VOICE on April 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Never F*** Up contains many very complex and well developed characters from a wide cultural scope. At times, a chapter ended with a Lawyer’s brief, or a police report and those were clarifying. Nice touches. I particularly like crime novels and had high hopes for this one.
I found it to be long winded tale that drained my interest about a third of the way into the book. The choppy narrative and over use of a particular contraction (Mahmud’d, Niklas’d) I found particularly distracting and the author’s choice to write in phrases destroyed any flow the book might have gained through the use of complete sentences.

It contains a great deal of violence and touches on the subject of human trafficking. Ironically, the men who are against trafficking women still referred to them by derogatory names, and seemed more interested in killing their johns than setting them free.The N-word appeared several times as a descriptive word from either the narrator or the translator, and in any case I found it offensive.
I will pass on future books by this author.
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