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Never Coming Back: A Novel Hardcover – November 14, 2012

3.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ylva Zetterburg tells her husband she’s going for drinks with coworkers, tells her coworkers she’s heading home for a family night, and then disappears. Her husband, Mike, afraid to acknowledge that she might not return, waits several days to report her missing. After the report, Mike is under the scrutiny of the police and the community in Helsingbord, Sweden. Everyone is convinced he must have murdered his wife. They are mistaken. Ylva has been snatched by a couple from her past bent on exacting an elaborately cruel revenge. She’s held in a basement cell just across the street from her home, forced to watch live camera feeds of her family’s activities while her captors attempt to destroy her with violence and manipulation. Koppel heightens suspense by withholding Ylva’s decades-old offense until the last chapter and cultivating the equal possibilities that she will be rescued, escape, or be completely forgotten. The scariest kind of thriller, with brutality delivered matter-of-factly and painfully realistic characters, this is both excruciating and irresistible. Endless discussion avenues for book groups. --Christine Tran


“Crisp and simple yet devastatingly effective, this is an unrelenting, terrifying slab of a psychological thriller which ticks all the right boxes.” (The Daily Mirror)

“The most terrifying crime novel I have ever read.” (Lyssnarkuben Magazine)

“A supremely professional piece of work with a palpable sense of tension.” (The Independent)

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (November 14, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605983918
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605983912
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,589,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Never Coming Back is a story about cruelty and sin, redemption and revenge, and it's one of the darkest novels I've ever read.

Hans Koppel doesn't hold anything back in this story, in which he depicts a far from perfect world; a world where young people torture their schoolmates and where some other people need to take the law into their own hands to deliver justice. But do two wrongs make one right?

The moral dilemmas in this novel are aplenty, and its characters are nothing but innocent. It doesn't matter if they are good at heart or not. It doesn't matter if they are the victims of their own weaknesses, and yes, it doesn't matter if they've regretted their past actions. What matters is that they did something wrong, and, sooner or later, they'll have to pay for it.

But even those of them who have no dark secrets to hide seem quite unhappy, living desperate lives, struggling to survive in a world that they really don't like.

"Look at me: unmarried, no children, a reporter for a weekly. I do saccharine interviews with washed-up TV celebrities and village eccentrics, write racy short stories about young women at their peak, twenty-seven years old. Short stories are read by women who are seventy-two. Same numbers, just inverted. I have no ambitions, no prospects. My only luxury in life is ice-cream in summer, a beer in the pub and sometimes, when the urge takes me, a trip to the cinema in the middle of the week."

And this is one of the characters that, with difficulties or not, lives a quite straight-forward life.
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Format: Hardcover
Swedish author Petter Lidbeck writes this novel under the pseudonym of Hans Koppel, a dark tale of carefully plotted revenge carried out in a most macabre manner. When Ylva Zetterberg declines an after-hours drink with coworkers, planning a evening with husband and daughter, Mike and Sanna, no one suspects that she will disappear without a trace. As Mike anticipates his wife's arrival later that night, Ylva is offered a ride by on the way to the bus stop, seduced by a familiar face and the normalcy of the encounter. Too late, she realizes the danger as the past comes back to haunt her via two people tragically impacted by an event years before. Through the perspectives of Ylva, her husband, the abductors and two former high school friends on the trail of a mystery, Koppel creates an eerie world in where the isolated victim watches the unfolding drama at her home through the lens of a camera: the initial furor of her disappearance, the dwindling interest of authorities, husband and daughter beginning new routines, the agonizing proximity of the familiar.

The psychological tension builds with each day that Ylva remains missing, her loved ones tantalizingly close yet impossible to reach in a methodical juxtaposition of life in stasis and family getting on with their lives. As two friends question the coincidence of the deaths of three of Ylva's classmates and her disappearance, Mike Zetterberg adjusts to an existence without the answers he desperately needs, examining his own feelings about a sometimes unfaithful wife, the captors inventively increasing their hostage's suffering. Ylva endures their torture and perversions, learning the extent of her will to survive. Past melds with present, the forgotten actions of cruel youths precipitating a tragedy with far-reaching consequences. Ultimately, fate demands its due, the end savage and unexpected, revenge, when served, a cold, cold dish. Luan Gaines/2012.
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Format: Paperback
At the start of She's Never Coming Back, a lecturer gives a Powerpoint presentation of the relationship between victims and perpetrators of crimes against them in a captivity situation. There's a purpose to this piece of background theory that only comes apparent later when we discover why a young married woman, Ylva, has been kidnapped and subjected to all manner of abuses and indignities while imprisoned in a house only 100 yards from her home, but to some extent there's also the feeling that this deeply unpleasant storyline has to a large extent been unimaginatively moulded to fit the theory.

Unpleasantness is to be expected in the circumstances, but it feels particularly gratuitous when the main characters and the relationships between them have been so poorly established and developed as they have been here. There's no effort to made to get at the underlying character types or examine the society the kidnapping takes place in, other than in the broadest and most sensationalist terms. Ylva has had an affair before, so her husband is initially reluctant to report her disappearance, and indeed the police soon make up their own minds about her along similar lines, but rather than this being a device to add tension or satirise middle-class provincial attitudes, it has the distasteful and sneering tone of a woman who has cheated before really getting what she deserves.

Deeper motives behind her kidnapping however become apparent, and her abduction is connected to other deaths, one of which seems to be that of a sleazy male also getting what he deserves, but there is something particularly nasty about the graphic descriptions of ritual abuse that are reserved for Ylva in captivity.
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