Norway, review, Translated

What Is Mine by Anne Holt

what is mineWhat Is Mine by Anne Holt, translated by Kari Dickson
Also published as Punishment
Warner Books, 2006
Originally published as Det som er mitt, 2001

While I’m eagerly awaiting the translation of more of Anne Holt’s Hanne Wilhelmsen novels, I’m digging into her Vik and Stubo series, which was translated first. This was a very satisfying read that felt a bit different than the other series. Johanne Vik is an academic psychologist who consults on a case of series of child abductions. She is a sort of profiler, but that is not the bulk of the work she does in the novel. Stubo is a widower whose story is quite sad: he returned to the detective inspector post after his wife’s death, and this book feels only partly like a police procedural.

This novel has a lot of plot and a lot of characters. Vik begins the novel investigating the wrongfully imprisoned Aksel Seier: after serving nine years in prison for murdering and raping a very young child, he was released from prison without explanation. Later she becomes involved in a series of child abductions after resisting a great deal, and realistically so, I believe. And why do I recommend reading a novel about such horrible crimes? Because Holt is very good at developing her characters. This is a novel about how to work with such horrible crimes or how to live with such horrible crimes (or horrible events, period), and the portraits cover a range of grief and other responses.

This novel is a bit long, but that only stands out to me because the first and last sections of the book are very quickly paced (complete with lots of short chapters) while the middle is a bit more ponderous. The relationship between Vik and Stubo is not typical because they’re both a bit odd, and other characters stand out as well. It’s not exploitative of the horrible plot that is the center of the book, and that’s quite a feat.

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4 thoughts on “What Is Mine by Anne Holt”

  1. I am glad you reviewed this. It seems like so many newer mysteries cover very grim crimes nowadays. To a certain extent I suppose this is realistic, and it must be what many readers want. And it makes a big difference if the author covers the subject in a good way. I find I can balance it out in my reading by mixing in older mysteries that generally don’t get that gritty.

    This is the only Anne Holt book I have, I have had it quite a while, and I need to read it.

    1. I keep meaning to read older mysteries, but I haven’t done so despite having a few ready to go on my shelves. I think it’s because I’m trying to read more non-crime stuff so I don’t get burned out. BTW, I had this book waiting for me for a couple years before I got to it. 2014 is the year of clearing my TBR shelves. Hope you like it.

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