Written by Hans Koppel — Swedish author Hans Koppel’s debut in the English language was She’s Never Coming Back, which arrived in 2012 and had an interesting premise. A kidnapped woman was held prisoner in the house opposite her own, with a CCTV link enabling her to see her family’s distress at her abduction. In You’re Mine Now, the author puts his own spin on the Fatal Attraction type tale set in and around Helsingborg.
Anna, a comparatively rational wife and mother, embarks on a short-lived sexual entanglement with a mysterious, uber-fit Scandinavian Adonis called Erik. Judging by the extremely creepy opening scene, we can only think that it will end in a bad way for all concerned. All too soon Anna finds herself in the clutches of a highly disturbed individual, and her actions have serious repercussions for her nearest and dearest.
There is a good building of tension throughout as Anna seeks to extricate herself from the clutches of Erik, who is slowly inveigling himself in the more personal areas of her life. Following the good intentioned actions of her own mother in the whole affair, and the horrifying results of this, Anna realises a little late that the sins of the flesh are sometimes best avoided as Koppel reveals the true nature of Erik’s character. Likewise, Anna’s desperate appeals to the police at first fall on stony ground, but soon comprehensive evidence forces the somewhat ambivalent DI Karlsson and his team to connect the dots and act upon the danger posed to Anna and her young daughter, Hedda. This leads us into a tension filled denouement.
The writer also crafts an effective claustrophobic atmosphere that begins to surround Anna and her family as she tries to conceal the truth of her dalliance from her husband Magnus, and her daughter. The characterisation supports the menace of the plot well, with Anna’s mother and her work colleagues particularly well realised and believable. Anna herself does seem a little one dimensional, but Koppel makes the charming but weird Erik sinister enough to counterbalance this slight flaw. I also enjoyed the little flickers of humour – particularly in relation to the usefulness of Ikea in supplying the perfect kit for body disposal.
The only disappointment for me was the slightly hackneyed ending which was signposted quite early on. With Erik’s strength of character and purpose, and with the violence of the opening chapter and a particularly brutal murder along the way, the ending could be somewhat braver. It just left me feeling a little flat after the shocking close of Koppel’s previous book, and I thought he might have taken a bit more of a risk with it. Overall though, You’re Mine Now is enjoyable for what it is, and there is certainly enough within the plot to hold your interest through a crime read that proves to be a fun distraction.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars