What is Mine Review
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When nine-year-old Emilie Selbu fails to return home from school one day, her recently-widowed father is devastated. But Emilie’s disappearance is just the beginning. More and more children in Norway start to turn up missing—some of their bodies returned to their mothers with a note that says, “Now you’ve got what you deserved.” Parents are terror-stricken and the police are baffled.

Police Inspector Adam Stubo comes to Johanne Vik, a former FBI profiler, for help—though she’s reluctant to get involved in the case. Already, she’s immersed in the forty-year-old mystery of a man named Aksel Seier. Though he insisted he was innocent—and though there was little evidence to prove his guilt—Seier was accused and convicted of the rape and murder of a little girl named Hedvig. Nine years later, with no explanation, Seier was released from prison, and the files relating to the case disappeared. Now, a dying old woman who’s been haunted by the case for decades has summoned Vik to investigate the case—and finally clear Seier’s name.

Scandinavian crime novelist Holt makes her U.S. debut with this gruesome first book in the new Vik-Stubo trilogy. For most of the book, the two stories—the kidnappings and the Seier case—are kept separate. Though both cases involve disturbing crimes against children, it seems that they’re two completely unrelated plotlines. I kept searching for some sort of connection between the two, and when the connection is finally revealed at the end of the novel, it’s definitely surprising—though it’s not totally satisfying.

What is Mine is a psychological crime novel. Readers explore the motivations of a cold, calculating killer—mostly through long conversations, lengthy character histories, or the thoughts of either Vik or the killer himself. As a result, you won’t find heartrate-elevating action in this novel. Instead, you’ll find slow-boiling suspense. It’s a fascinating—and chilling—read, but it tends to get bogged down from time to time. But while I occasionally found myself frustrated by the overabundance of slow-moving dialog, the story was still intriguing enough to hold my attention—and to make me want to pick up the next book in the series.

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