Author: Hans Koppel
Sphere RRP $29.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

Freaky. That’s the word that came to mind as I read the new thriller from Hans Koppel (She’s Never Coming Back); Koppel is the pseudonym for established Swedish children’s author, Petter Lidbeck. You’re Mine Now is the first I’ve read from this writer (in any guise) and I can say that Lidbeck has easily transitioned to the thriller genre, under his pen name. I’ll be looking for more Koppel novels, that’s for sure; You’re Mine Now left me unsettled and somewhat freaked out – exactly what a good thriller is meant to do.

As is common with novels in this genre, this book begins with a prologue, giving the reader vital context for what is to follow. In this case, it serves to unsettle the reader right from the start; I almost felt like shaking the protagonist and warning her … but that would have been futile, given the protagonist, Anna, is a relatively strong-minded woman. She’s not flawless though; despite a professed happy marriage, she allows herself a brief fling with Erik, a much-younger man she meets at a work conference. Pushing aside feelings of guilt, she tells herself it was a one-off “adventure” and resolves to never see him again. Of course, it’s not that easy. Erik has other plans and doesn’t intend to be set aside as a fling.

It becomes increasingly evident that Erik is a disturbed young man, who will do whatever it takes to get her attention, even if that means stalking her family. But who will listen? Anna doesn’t want to involve her husband, for fears she will lose him, and the police seem to think she is overreacting. Before she knows it, Anna’s life is in the grip of this psychopathic stalker and she must try desperately to escape his clutches before it’s too late. 

Like I said … freaky. At the risk of sounding like a teenager, Erik freaked me out well and truly. It was clear from the beginning that he was disturbed and having this knowledge before Anna did put me on edge. Of course, I wanted her to be more careful … but then, Erik was manipulative and clever and would have fooled most people. He was written well. Anna frustrated me because of her seemingly casual acceptance that she could have a fling – a trait that was common to several characters and disturbed me (I couldn’t figure out why this seemed to be OK … is it a cultural thing?) – and get away with it. Without spoiling things, I’ll just say that the ending seemed a bit Hollywood-ish in terms of how married relationships work. That was really my only quibble with the writing of the book – overall, it was well-constructed, fast-paced and certainly had me all tensed up. I read it over two nights – if I hadn’t been so worn out by a busy week, I think I’d have stayed up to finish it in one go.

If psychological thrillers are your bag, this is a good book to get you biting your nails. There was one scene that gave me way too much detail (again, no spoilers, but it was bloody) and I could have done with a fade to black at that point. Erik’s screwed up mind made for psychologically-challenging read … best read when you’re in a strong frame of mind. As for me, I’m keen to read more by this author. I’ll just read something light-hearted next with some nice people in it to settle me a bit!

Available from good bookstores and Hachette Australia. This copy was courtesy of Hachette.

Bookish treat: IKEA featured a few times in this novel. I love the Daimler chocolates you get from there. I’d love someone to give me some.




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