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What is mine by Anne Holt
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What is mine (original 2001; edition 2006)

by Anne Holt, Kari Dickson

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5122219,823 (3.46)28
Member:thornton37814
Title:What is mine
Authors:Anne Holt
Other authors:Kari Dickson
Info:New York : Warner Books, 2006.
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***
Tags:mystery, kidnapping, children, profilers, Norway

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What is mine by Anne Holt (2001)

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English (13)  Swedish (6)  Dutch (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
I wanted to read crime fiction, and whilst The Murder of Halland was a good book (it was the only crime novel I had in the house, with the possible exception of the Peter Grant comic fantasy series), I craved a more traditional plot. A few years ago I enjoyed Holt's 1222, so looked for other Hanne Wilhelmsen novels, but this, the first in her Johanne Vik series, was about half the price.

This is part of the appeal of genre, patterns of events which recur like the steps of an old dance – I know I'd get bored reading the same patterns all the time, but especially after so long away from crime series, book or TV, it's as satisfying as an old jumper or pair of shoes that fit perfectly. The personalities feel quite realistic, but evidently crime writers have to invent increasingly bizarre cases so their books have a touch of originality. Punishment did have its flaws, but I liked the book better than many I give 3 stars.

Quite differently from the way I browse literary novels, I found I specifically want to read about female detectives written by female authors. A lot of (though thankfully not all) literary fiction by women is stuffed with generalisations about women which I don't identify with and which, cumulatively, are alienating. Whereas, I realised, I expected crime novels to be about women who are focused on their jobs and external problem-solving, not on the ruminating characteristic of litfic - and who may have a grumpy, individualist personality similar to the typical male fictional detective. (Hanne Wilhelmsen certainly did.) Johanne Vik, being a psychologist, is a bit more sensitive than Hanne, or Sarah Lund, but she was in many ways the sort of character I was hoping for. She's concerned pretty much only with her job and her mildly learning-disabled daughter (her ex-husband has shared care which means she has weeks where she has time to throw herself into work all waking hours) and there was only * one * of those annoying generalisations made in the whole book, in conversation not narrative, and it was one I've seen others make about both sexes. Vik is pretty good at her work, but she isn't a superwoman and does find herself exhausted and unable to keep up with all the chores. (I sighed audibly in sympathy when the exuberant ex bought their daughter a dog who would also live between both houses. Training and cleaning up after a puppy is just what you don't need on top of everything else!) I also didn't want a book about workplace sex discrimination (which sounds like a big part of Liza Marklund's novels) and Johanne seems unostentatiously respected by all characters, except occasionally her own mother. Her case continues the work of a dying retired woman, born c.1930, who mentions difficulties she had working her way up in the civil service and legal system. With this sort of easy read, you sometimes want a book that fits in with your first- or close-hand experiences, and the picture here of women's status in the workplace did just that as far as I was concerned. Others may regard this aspect as pleasantly utopian, so hopefully a winner for them too.

Other plus points in terms of what I was looking for were that the detectives are not amateurs, they are people who are supposed to be investigating crimes (an academic criminal psychologist researching cases from several decades ago, and a DI on a current case) and that the book was very low on gore and torture, whilst still being far from fluffy. (Particularly gore-free in this case because the killer wanted to leave victims unmarked. I hadn't wanted to read about child murders, but that aspect made the story a little easier to deal with.)

I was hesitant about a series in which investigators become a couple. But the scenes in this first book are simply two people who secretly like the look of one another, bouncing around ideas about their respective work. Both Johanne, and Adam Stubø (who keeps his original name of Yngvar /Ingvar in most translations, everyone except English speakers apparently able to cope with it) have some pain in their past, and Johanne can be really quite standoffish which I liked. But ultimately they are both pretty nice and functional people compared to many characters in literary fiction (who also tend to have less normal jobs) and I liked the contrast of seeing how they related without slushiness or overwhelming intensity.

One inconsistency was the way Johanne was strict about professional boundaries at first, unlike most fictional detectives, but she let them slide later in the book. It would have been difficult to drive the story forward if she'd been impeccably professional throughout, but I wasn't convinced that there was a particular stressor present which meant that she'd change so radically. (She could, perhaps, have insisted on being appointed to some kind of official role in Stubø's case.)

Style: as far as something like this is concerned, I only require the writing to be unobtrusive and not noticeably bad – and it was fine. Occasionally, points were mentioned again soon after we'd been told about them – it felt like watching a weekly drama series in one go on DVD. The thoughts and conversations of the children often sounded as if they were a few years younger than their ages, but on the other hand I wasn't a typical kid.

The plot has several absurd coincidences, one or two of which could have happened in more natural ways e.g. When Revheim is first mentioned, Johanne, as would be quite likely for a former fan, could remember that a biography of him had been published last year and go into a bookshop to look at it - rather than it already being the upcoming choice for her book group. She could still mention it to her friends at the group. The biggest one seems ridiculously unlikely not just plotwise but on a scientific basis - in fairness that's mostly based on research published since the book was written. That there seems to be a strong genetic component with psychopaths, that environmental factors are lower – though certainly not absent – than for many, if not most, other psychological problems. This one's parents are both decent and empathic people; it's implied the grandmother was strict and punitive, but that's not necessarily the same and she didn't sound untypical of her era.

With mysteries over the last few years, I've tried not to guess who/whydunnit, but a friend's posts about the Peter Grant books have now made me a little competitive. This one wasn't so obvious, but, coming up with a number of possibilities throughout, it turned out I had guessed most of it a third of the way through, albeit later discarding the idea for a good while.

This book was by no means perfect, but as does-what-it-says-on-the-tin crime fiction, with many of the features I wanted, it was absolutely fine. ( )
  antonomasia | Jun 8, 2014 |
This decidedly creepy thriller is based on the abduction of a series of children and goes back and forth between perspectives: abductor, abductee, investigator... Holt paints a chillingly normal portrait of all the characters - the villain, reluctant hero, police, children are all just normal folk. Their motivations and ultimate actions are occasionally shocking, but the characters feel like someone you know.

Although there are strands of many stories woven expertly in this novel, the main thread concerns an academic who is a reluctant expert on psychological profiling. Johanne's sought out by the Oslo policeman Adam Stubo to help him find the man who has abducted several children and delivered two of them dead to their parents, while finding the motivation for the crimes. Johanne reluctantly joins the investigation and a multi-level partnership begins between her and Stubo. The richness in the story, though comes from the emotional outpourings from characters in several of the side stories: the man who was falsely accused of child abuse many years earlier, the elderly woman who tried to clear his name, a mother with a painful secret about her son. Each character is believably drawn. ( )
  Hanneri | Dec 17, 2013 |
In present day Norway a nine-year-old girl has disappeared, presumed kidnapped, then a younger boy disappears and his body is found soon afterwards. There’s a sinister note found with the body but no one is sure if the boy’s disappearance is related to the girl’s. The police inspector in charge of the case, Adam Stubo, seeks help in solving the cases from Joahnne Vik: a lawyer and psychologist. Johanne is reluctant to get involved for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the fact she is, at the same time, becoming intrigued by an older case. Many years ago a man called Aksel Seier was sent to prison for raping and killing a young girl but was released a few years later under odd circumstances and Johanne is looking into the case on behalf of an ageing lawyer who never believed Seier was guilty.

Thinking about it now this was quite a complex story but it never felt like it while reading it as all the components were drawn together well. Even though there were two quite separate threads for a majority of the book I never found either difficult to follow. I found it quite fascinating to read about horrid events unfolding in a place where such things are rare as there was a noticeable difference in the language used and the reactions ascribed to the various players than would be the case if the book had been set in the US. The ending to the story was a bit disappointing though because it relied too much on a string of coincidences and left a couple of things completely unresolved. These elements (which I can’t be more specific abouot without giving away spoilers) appear to have been forgotten about rather than deliberately left to the reader’s imagination but I could be wrong about that. Either way it was a little annoying to be left in the dark.

The characterisations were generally good although I did tire a bit of the relationship between Johanne and Adam which was a ‘should we sleep together or not’ kind of thing. I just wanted them to either get on with it or shut up about it and found it difficult to imagine two grown adults with no ties would behave as immaturely as they did (surely one of them could have been a grown-up). However there were many other elements to both of their characters which were much more satisfying to watch develop and there were a string of minor characters who were also thoughtfully and artfully depicted. Emilie, the first child to be kidnapped in the story, made me weep.

This book had a high degree of what I like to call unputdownability (i.e. it made me late for work) and, overall, the annoyances were forgivable. I can’t help thinking I’ll be remembering some of these characters for a long while yet which is always the sign of a good read. ( )
  bsquaredinoz | Mar 31, 2013 |
Vik is a profiler. Stubo is a police detective. They pair up to solve a series of child abductions in Norway. Vik is also interested in an older case in which she believes the accused was innocent. While the first child abducted is yet to be found, the other children begin to show up dead. They race to solve the case before the first child, young Emilie, meets a similar fate. Like most Scandinavian crime fiction, this has a dark tone and is multi-layered. ( )
  thornton37814 | Jan 3, 2013 |
A solid effort. The characters are convincing and human-like and the plot interesting. The book is quite fast-paced and it is difficult to put it down - the chapters are quite short and their main focus changes between the characters, which makes the book quite engaging. And, of course, there are twists and turns...

Unfortunately, it is not a classical whodunnit where the reader can try to guess the identity of the kidnapper-murderer. I would prefer the detectives to gather more data and analyse it with them. But, I had a nice few hours with the book and can recommend it for a lazy afternoon. ( )
  Kaczencja | Aug 22, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anne Holtprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lamberti, LucaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Een heel land in de ban van een ontvoerder.
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Für meine Eltern
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She was walking home from school.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Original title: Det som er mitt
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0446578029, Hardcover)

One afternoon after school, nine-year-old Emilie doesn't come home. After a frantic search, her father finds her backpack in a deserted alley. A week later, a five-year-old boy goes missing. And then another. Meanwhile, Johanna Vik, a former FBI profiler with a troubled past and a difficult young daughter, is buried in crimes of the past, trying to overturn a decades-old false murder conviction. Police Commissioner Stubo has personal reasons for wanting to solve the case of the missing children: not long ago he lost his wife and only daughter in a terrible accident, and now all he has left is his young grandson. When he tries to enlist Johanna to help him crack the case, she's resistant. However, when the bodies of the missing children start appearing in their family's homes with notes that say, "You got what you deserved," Johanna decides to help Stubo. While the rest of the Norwegian media is out hunting pedophiles, Stubo and Johanna manage to uncover a complex story of revenge. A singularly clever crime story combined with a serious discussion of children and our responsibilities towards them, What is Mine is the first installment in the the Stubo/Johanna crime series.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"In a matter of days, two children in Norway have been kidnapped - by whom and for what reason is anyone's guess. And now one child is dead, packed like a piece of furniture and delivered to his parents' home with a horrifying note. Stumped and desperate, Norwegian police inspector Adam Stubo hopes former FBI profiler Johanne Vik can come up with answers." "Already immersed in the investigation of a murder suspect who fled to the United States forty years ago, Vik is reluctant to take on the case of this boy and the kidnapping of a little girl named Emilie, two crimes which seem to have nothing in common. Then another child is abducted, and Vik, a mother of a six-year-old herself, can no longer stand idly by.""Now, with a few clues in sight and the lives of who knows how many innocents at stake, Stubo and Vik weave their way through a complex maze of madness and revenge. For Stubo, who knows all too well what it is like to lose a child, talking to the grieving parents is a nightmare in itself. But it can't compare to what one particular little girl is experiencing at the hands of a madman."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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