Darling husband and I are back from our trip to Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, St. Martin, and St. Kitts via the Celebrity Eclipse. Besides the rain forest hike and the free-lattes-at-any-time extravaganza, a highlight of the trip was the amazing amount of free time to read. I brought a few paperbacks and a dozen books on my iPad. One new-to-me author that I highly recommend, cruise or not, is Michael Robotham.
I started my read-fest with Robotham’s most recent book, Say You’re Sorry. It features a wonderfully insightful but thoroughly flawed protagonist, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin. Joe has a complicated life, a stressed marriage to a beautiful woman, a shakier-than-he’d-like relationship with his teenage daughter, and an uncanny ability to size people up. He also has Parkinson’s disease.
O’Loughlin is pulled into a confusing crime scene by a police detective who is looking for one more nail to put into the supposed-prepetrator’s coffin: a married couple has been brutally murdered and a mentally challenged handyman is accused. But O’Loughlin sees what the police don’t: there was someone else there – someone who is now missing – and the scene points to a very twisted, and highly intelligent, murderer.
Complicating the plot is a second protagonist: Piper Hadley. Teenage Piper and her best friend, Natasha McBain, were kidnapped and held captive by a man they call George, who systematically strips away the girls’ defenses and sexually abuses the more attractive, more feminine Tash. Piper tells her own story, and Robotham’s evocation of this singular character is simply amazing.
It’s not surprising that the two stories come together and – no spoiler alert here – that the handyman is not the bad guy. Say You’re Sorry is a complete page-turner – awesome plotting and pacing – coupled with compelling characters. It left me wanting more. So I used a few of my preciously guarded wi-fi minutes to download more Michael Robotham.
It was all good. Suspect. Lost. Shatter. Bleed for Me and a couple more, yet unread. In Suspect, Joe O’Loughlin is introduced when homicide detective Victor Ruiz suspects him of murder. In Lost, Ruiz is fished out of the Thames – short-term memory loss means he has to piece together the last few weeks of his life (with the help of O’Loughlin, of course). Shatter features a worthy adversary – just as capable as O’Loughlin of seeing hidden truths, but much more capable when it comes to manipulating others. For evil, of course.
I’m continuing to work my way through Michael Robotham’s books. Love psychological suspense? Thrillers with a twist? You’ll go for Robotham.