Thursday, May 9, 2013

Never Coming Back Review

Never Coming Back is another Swedish thriller export just like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. The novel opens with a seemingly unconnected murder of a man and then switches to a wealthy tycoon who is obsessed with his childhood tormentors who he refers to as the Gang of Four. All of this appears unrelated to the main story, which follows Mike, his wife Ylva and their daughter Sanna. Mike and Ylva are recovering from an affair that she had a year ago so there is still some suspicion on Mike's part when Ylva goes out with friends on evening and does not come home.

Mike does not want to appear needy but eventually he calls her friends and finally the police, who definitely start eyeing him with suspicion. For many months he is the subject of scrutiny as he tries to pick up the pieces of his life and raise his young daughter as they both reel from the disappearance of Ylva.

Meanwhile, the reader knows exactly what happens to her. In the beginning, she decides to head home instead of getting a drink with friends. On her way to the bus station, she is approached by an older couple who she recognizes (although how is not revealed yet) who offer her a life. She really doesn't want to take it but winds up getting in the car with them. Turns out they just moved in across the street from her home. And they've built a sound proof music studio in the basement. But when the husband tasers Ylva, she realizes that she is in serious trouble as they lock her in the soundproof room of the basement (not quite a music room after all) where she is expected to service the husband and do chores in retribution for an unexplained crime.

There are hints throughout the book as to what the couple are seeking revenge for but it isn't until the final chapter that the full story is revealed. Poor Ylva, resourceful though she is, has to spend almost two years in that basement, where a video feed shows her what is happening at home with her husband and child as they try to move on without her. The tycoon from the beginning and his friend, a journalist, start to put the pieces together about how the Gang of Four relates to a series of death and disappearances. But the question is, will they figure out what's going on and convince someone to listen to them before it's too late?

The story was definitely thrilling and very fast paced. There's something stilted about reading translated novels but the plot here was so engaging that it was easy to move past that. Anyone who likes thrillers, especially those of you who enjoyed The Millennium Trilogy, will also like this!

The Independent Review

Buy it at amazon and Barnes & Noble

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