Swedish suburbia is the setting for this thriller about an abducted young woman who is imprisoned and abused—in a house across the street from hers—by the psychiatrist her husband turns to in his fear and despair.
When Ylva doesn't come home one night, her husband, Mike, can't help but assume she's having a fling. She had one known affair and has been known to flirt with countless other men. When hours and then days pass and she doesn't return to him and their 7-year-old daughter, he and the police fear the worst. One place they don't think to look for her is the neighbor's house, where Ylva is locked in a specially rigged panic room, raped by the shrink and systematically demeaned and starved by him and his wife. A camera inside her house also allows her to gaze upon her family as they cope with her disappearance. Resisting efforts to brainwash her, Ylva plans her escape. A shaky personality prone to weeping, Mike finds solace, and ultimately more, in her work mate. A speedy, efficient thriller, this book was a best-seller in Sweden and England. Koppel (actually Swedish children's book author Petter Lidbeck) does a skillful job of putting the pieces of this creepy puzzle together. He's not so good at creating adult characters that leave an imprint on the page. And the revenge factor at the heart of the novel isn't very convincing. It involves a youth gang that cruelly hazed kids years ago and resulted in the suicide of the psychiatrist's daughter.
An abducted-woman thriller with a twist, but Silence of the Lambs it's not.