What Is Mine

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Overview

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. it is the backpack her deceased mother had given her a month before she died. Emilie would never leave that backpack behind voluntarily. 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, ...
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Overview

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. it is the backpack her deceased mother had given her a month before she died. Emilie would never leave that backpack behind voluntarily. 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. But 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. Stubo and Johanna from one of the most original crime-solving teams ever.
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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
What makes the book interesting is its portrayal of a society so unfamiliar with heinous crimes that it absorbs them into the national consciousness.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The Scandinavian crime fiction juggernaut continues with Norwegian Holt's U.S. debut, a well-written if overly long suspense thriller set in Norway. The novel opens with the abduction of nine-year-old Emilie Selbu, the first of several such kidnappings, and the complex backstory of Aksel Seier, a man imprisoned in the 1950s for a young girl's murder and inexplicably released from prison eight years later. Johanne Vik, a former FBI profiler now working as an academic psychologist, is looking into the Seier case when Det. Insp. Adam Stubo asks her to help out with the case of the missing children, which gets more intense when the body of one of them is delivered to his mother with a chilling note: "Now you've got what you deserved." Both plot lines are compelling, but the author expends far too much narrative energy on the backgrounds of her many characters, and the connection linking the cases feels contrived. Nonetheless, this first in a three-part series to feature Vik and Stubo is a thoughtful, deeply disturbing exploration of a heinous crime. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The debut of Scandinavian best-selling author Holt is sure to catapult her into the mystery spotlight. A serial killer is running rampant in Norway. Children are being abducted, returned to their parents murdered but with no apparent cause of death, and accompanied by cryptic notes proclaiming, "Now you've got what you deserved." Norwegian Detective Inspector Adam Stubo solicits former FBI profiler Johanne Vik to confer on the case, but as the mother of a special-needs child, she is reluctant to enter the emotionally charged investigation. To complicate matters, Vik is already on a mission spurred at the request of a dying woman to exonerate an innocent man of an old murder conviction. Stubo, no stranger to personal hardship himself, finally persuades Vik to consult on his case. As the story progresses, Vik's two cases become entangled and fast-paced twists and turns plunge the reader into a nail-biting ending. Holt provides a gripping crime mystery in this first of a three-book series featuring Stubo and Vik. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Mystery Alert, LJ 3/1/06]. Mary Todd Chesnut, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A savvy, sharply delineated suspense novel from Norwegian crime author Holt delves into the haunting motivation of a child-abductor. An identical blood-chilling note left on the bodies of several dead children abducted from their middle-class Oslo homes leaves police confounded: "Now you've got what you deserved," the note reads. Lawyer and psychologist at Oslo University, Johanne Vik, who wrote her thesis on why people commit sexually motivated crimes, is drawn into the case in a roundabout fashion while doing research on a 1965 child murder involving the probable wrongful imprisonment of a certain Aksel Seier, convicted for raping and killing an eight-year-old girl, although he was never proven guilty and the paperwork has since mysteriously vanished. Aksel was finally released and subsequently moved to the U.S., on Cape Cod, where Johanne plans to track him down and discuss his case to find out how "external interest," in the form of publicity, personalities, etc., affected the outcome. However, Johanne's academic expertise attracts the interest of dogged detective inspector Adam Stubo, a stocky widower keen on the use of intuition, who strong-arms Johanne, a divorced mother of a mentally challenged five-year-old, into lending the police help in creating a profile of the present child-killer. One of the children abducted, Emilie Selbu, has in fact not turned up dead, and in alternate chapters bearing various POVs, Holt describes the girl's horrific plight at the hands of her control-obsessed, nameless jailer. Johanne makes her journey to America, and visits the reclusive, diffident Aksel, who is not used to speaking his native tongue or hearing that someone sympathizes with hiswrongful conviction. By novel's end, what at first appears to be incongruous information comes together elegantly. Based on a true Norwegian murder case, Holt's work is cerebral, complicated and immensely rewarding.
USA Today
"The armchair detective always is in the market for new authors and fresh perspectives. Anne Holt, one of Norway's best-selling writers, fills the bill with WHAT IS MINE. Holt's language is spare, her plotting precise and her portrayal of human emotions remarkably astute."
Jo Nesbo
"Anne Holt is the godmother of modern Norwegian crime fiction."
Starred Review - Booklist
"Her American debut (the first of a three-book series starring Stubo and Vik) is both an impassioned commentary on the responsibilities of parenthood and an engrossing mystery with an ingenious final twist."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786290697
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 11/8/2006
  • Series: Thorndike Reviewers' Choice Ser.
  • Pages: 567
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Holt is one of Scandinavia's most successful crime authors, with over 4 million books sold worldwide. She is a former Minister of Justice, lawyer, TV news editor and anchor, and journalist. She has lived in the United States and now resides in Norway and France.

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Read an Excerpt

What is Mine


By Anne Holt

WARNER BOOKS

Copyright © 2001 Anne Holt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-57802-9


Chapter One

She was walking home from school. It was nearly National Day. It would be the first 17th of May without Mommy. Her national costume was too short. Mommy had already let the hem down twice.

Last night, Emilie had been woken by a bad dream. Daddy was fast asleep; she could hear him snoring gently through the wall as she held her national costume up against her body. The red border had crept up to her knees. She was growing too fast. Daddy often said, "You're growing as fast as a weed, honey." Emilie stroked the woollen material with her hand and tried to shrink at the knees and neck. Grandma was in the habit of saying, "It's not surprising the child is shooting up; Grete was always a beanpole."

Emilie's shoulders and thighs ached from being hunched the whole time. It was Mommy's fault she was so tall. The red hem wouldn't reach farther than her knees.

Maybe she could ask for a new dress.

Her schoolbag was heavy. She'd picked a bunch of coltsfoot. It was so big that Daddy would have to find a vase. The stalks were long, too, not like when she was little and only picked the flowers, which then had to bob around in an eggcup.

She didn't like walking alone. But Marte and Silje had been collected by Marte's mom. They didn't say where they were going. They just waved at her through the rearwindow of the car.

The flowers needed water. Some had already started to wilt over her fingers. Emilie tried not to clutch the bunch too hard. A flower fell to the ground and she bent down to pick it up.

"Is your name Emilie?"

The man smiled. Emilie looked at him. There was no one else to be seen here on the small path between two busy roads, a track that cut ten minutes off the walk home. She mumbled incoherently and backed away.

"Emilie Selbu? That's your name, isn't it?"

Never talk to strangers. Never go with anyone you don't know. Be polite to grown-ups.

"Yes," she whispered, and tried to slip past.

Her shoe, her new sneaker with the pink stripes, sank into the mud and dead leaves. Emilie nearly lost her balance. The man caught her by the arm. Then he put something over her face.

An hour and a half later, Emilie Selbu was reported missing to the police.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from What is Mine by Anne Holt Copyright © 2001 by Anne Holt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Smart, impelling, and very Scandinavian

    Americans often don't recognize how important "personal space" is to scandinavians. This tale shows by example, the toll paid when uncomfortable truths are hidden. When several children are abducted and the public cries for justice, a former FBI profiler and a middle aged policeman unwittingly work on the case from opposite ends. Both have experienced deep personal pain, and as they struggle with a sense of futility in trying to locate the one child who's body has not been found, slowly realize how important the other has become. As a romance, it is quite realistic, with affection developing slowly and mysteriously. As a mystery, the clues are subtle and intelligent, no red herrings, either!

    The story was believable, and the short chapters describing the actions of the principle characters keeps the reader faced in the right direction. I thouroghly enjoyed it, and recommend it to those who enjoy a mystery just left of center. I am looking forward to other books by this author to be published in English, as my Norwegian is pitiful.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2010

    Don't bother

    Had I not purchased this book as a clearance item I would have demanded my money back. The tone of the book was monotanous & the characters bland. The phone book would have been a better read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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