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by Elisabeth Norebäck and Elizabeth Clark Wessel, trans.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, September 2018
357 pages
ISBN: 0735218544

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

TELL ME YOU'RE MINE is Elisabeth Norebäck's first novel. It is told through three voices: Stella's, a psychotherapist whose daughter was kidnapped twenty years ago; Isabelle's, a new client of Stella's; and Kerstin's, Isabelle's mother.

When Isabelle enters Stella's office for the first time, Stella recognizes her as her long lost daughter, missing for twenty years. She is both certain, and uncertain, as she thought she saw her daughter seven years earlier but was not believed. She came undone and her husband had to commit her to a mental hospital. Will she be believed this time or end up crazy once again?

Meanwhile we see into the relationship between Isabelle and her mother Kerstin. Isabelle feels smothered by her mother, while her mother feels that she needs to return home from Stockholm where she can protect her. Both characters are pretty credible, but both are disturbing in some ways that become clearer as the novel progresses.

The arc of the story involves Stella investigating every lead she can find – twenty years is a long time and the trail of the kidnapping is fast disappearing. When she discovers the original police investigator has Alzheimer's, she almost loses hope. And she herself is starting to unravel. Did she really see someone in the shadows outside her home on several nights or is she hallucinating? Both her husband and son worry that they are losing her to her twenty-year obsession with finding her daughter.

As Stella gets closer and closer to the truth, the terror mounts, the pace picks up and the reader finds an all-nighter is in the offing. Because the heart of this novel is domestic, about a lost daughter, the reader becomes very emotionally invested. We can all identify with the strong familial feelings Norebäck develops. And as a mistress of suspense, she is able to create a pulse-pounding and thrilling story. As the novel approaches the end, the reader feels the terror as much as the three characters involved. The reader can smell murder most foul.

Elisabeth Norebäck has written an unforgettable psychological thriller, brilliantly constructed. Her first novel suggests many more thrills and chills to come in her future work.

§ Susan Hoover is a playwright, independent producer and retired college English teacher.

She lives in Nova Scotia.

Reviewed by Susan Hoover, August 2018

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