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Book review: ‘You’re Mine Now’

A middle-class family’s brush with a much-abused youth leads to an abduction

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Yet another paperback release that promises to have you clutching the edge of your seat, tugging at its frayed edges, because of the book’s frantic pace and fear factor — if the jacket blurbs are anything to go buy. There is an abandoned red shoe on the cover for good measure, the suggestion of blood and death.

Well, rest assured, you will not be destroying any seat edges because of this Hans Koppel creation. (Koppel is a pseudonym for a Swedish author, Petter Lidbeck, based in Stockholm.) Perhaps something has been lost in translation because the conversation feels a trifle stilted.

The characters are so sketchy that you fail to connect with any of them for the briefest moment, not even the menacing villain, Erik. Built along the lines of a serial-killer plot, the book is rather light, to the point that you can almost see the paper cut-outs fluttering in the breeze.

The author is touted as a Swedish phenomenon and to me, being a fan of writers such as Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson, this feels like a terribly far-fetched claim. It is definitely not valid based on “You’re Mine Now”.

It starts with this model middle-class Swedish family raising a tween and warring over the buying of a new car. All is well and good. Then in a flash of wickedness, Anna, the wife, decides to have a one-night stand with Erik. He is a much-abused youth with an Oedipus complex. Quite predictably follows the stalking, threats and ultimately a rather ridiculously constructed abduction.

As you turn the pages, you keep hoping for some sort of effort in convincing the reader for having picked up this book. But it never manifests. Perhaps Koppel does sell well in Sweden, but does that necessarily translate him into being a good author based on this book? I would most definitely reserve judgment.