Sunday, May 2, 2010


Shatter by Michael Robotham

Winner of Australia's Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel, Robotham's compelling fourth thriller (after The Night Ferry) finds clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and his family in Somerset, where he teaches part-time at the University of Bath. When Joe fails to persuade a suicidal woman not to leap from a bridge to her death, he becomes obsessed with understanding the woman's motives. The woman's grief-stricken teenage daughter tracks down Joe, but the police don't take notice until another woman ends up dead under suspicious circumstances. Joe calls on an old friend, retired London detective inspector Vincent Ruiz, and together they race to catch a killer who uses psychological techniques Joe recognizes from his own practice to destroy people. Robotham smoothly mixes Joe's investigation and personal struggles with glimpses into the killer's mind. Even the sharpest readers may not anticipate all of the plot's agile switchbacks or foresee the chilling climax.
--Shatter by Michael Robotham, Copyright ©2009 by Michael Robotham, published by Doubleday

My Review

It is four years after the events chronicled in Suspect (Robotham's first novel). Professor Joe O’Loughlin, his wife Julianne and their two children, Charlie and Emma, are now living in Somerset. Their lives are good and everyone’s happy…until a woman jumps off a bridge. Suddenly, Joe is pulled into a twisted game controlled by a devious mastermind who only wants the truth and will use any and all means at his disposal to get it.

This individual brings a new level of definition to the term “mind-f**k.” Seriously.

He’s an army interrogator, whose mind has broken at the loss of his wife and daughter. They died in a ferry accident, but their bodies were never recovered. Desperate to find out if they truly died or might still be alive, he uses his vast array of skills to seek revenge against his wife’s friends, whom he believes have betrayed him. The skill with which he taps into their minds and finds that one thing that could break them, and then leads them straight to, and then over, that breaking point is both fascinating and horrifying.

Joe is drawn into his intricate web even though he knows that doing so will further damage his already rocky marriage to Julianne. Their seemingly happy marriage is plagued by hints of infidelity and Joe’s involvement in the investigation not only impacts his marriage, but draws his wife and oldest daughter into the killer’s dangerous game. Can Joe find out who the killer is and put an end to his mind games before he loses Julieanne and Charlie?

I give this story FOUR STARS. A fantastic story. This is Michael Robotham's fourth novel to date. I missed his third, The Night Ferry but will remedy that sometime this summer.

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