Review: THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, Michael Robotham

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1127 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (July 11, 2017)
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2017
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N7SVPRI

Synopsis (Amazon)

Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it’s Meghan Shaughnessy’s.

These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common – a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.

My Take:

Here is another cracker from Australian author Michael Robotham.

Two women, Meg and Agatha, living in suburban London, are joined by a bond of pregnancy. They will even give birth within days. But Agatha knows much more about Meg than vice versa. And they come from very different backgrounds and life experiences. They are the narrators of the story and so we often get two versions of the same events.

Initially I felt very critical of the apparent thin-ness of the “official” blurb, but then in writing this “review” I became very aware of how difficult it is to talk about the story without revealing too much. (I hope you don’t feel that I’ve told you too much as it is).

So, let me just recommend the book to you. It is a stand-alone, told through excellent character development, and with mounting suspense and plot twists as the book progresses. Underpinning everything is a commentary on modern living.

Michael Robotham remains at the top of my list of modern Aussie crime fiction authors.

My rating: 5.0

I’ve also read
BOMBPROOF
SHATTER #3
SHATTER (audio)
BLEED FOR ME #4
5.0, THE WRECKAGE #5
4.8, SAY YOU’RE SORRY #6
5.0, WATCHING YOU #7
4.8, IF I TELL YOU… I’LL HAVE TO KILL YOU (edit)
5.0, LIFE OR DEATH Shortlisted for the 2015 CWA Gold Dagger
4.8, CLOSE YOUR EYES

About the Author

Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist whose psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-three languages. In 2015 he won the prestigious UK Gold Dagger for his novel Life or Death, which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. Michael has twice won a Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s best
crime novel for Lost in 2015 and Shatter in 2008. He has also twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 for The Night Ferry and 2008 with Shatter. He lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters.

Review: THE SECRETS SHE KEEPS, Michael Robotham

  • format: Kindle (Amazon)
  • File Size: 1127 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (July 11, 2017)
  • Publication Date: July 11, 2017
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01N7SVPRI

Synopsis (Amazon)

Everyone has an idea of what their perfect life is. For Agatha, it’s Meghan Shaughnessy’s.

These two women from vastly different backgrounds have one thing in common – a dangerous secret that could destroy everything they hold dear.

Both will risk everything to hide the truth, but their worlds are about to collide in a shocking act that cannot be undone.

My Take:

Here is another cracker from Australian author Michael Robotham.

Two women, Meg and Agatha, living in suburban London, are joined by a bond of pregnancy. They will even give birth within days. But Agatha knows much more about Meg than vice versa. And they come from very different backgrounds and life experiences. They are the narrators of the story and so we often get two versions of the same events.

Initially I felt very critical of the apparent thin-ness of the “official” blurb, but then in writing this “review” I became very aware of how difficult it is to talk about the story without revealing too much. (I hope you don’t feel that I’ve told you too much as it is).

So, let me just recommend the book to you. It is a stand-alone, told through excellent character development, and with mounting suspense and plot twists as the book progresses. Underpinning everything is a commentary on modern living.

Michael Robotham remains at the top of my list of modern Aussie crime fiction authors.

My rating: 5.0

I’ve also read
BOMBPROOF
SHATTER #3
SHATTER (audio)
BLEED FOR ME #4
5.0, THE WRECKAGE #5
4.8, SAY YOU’RE SORRY #6
5.0, WATCHING YOU #7
4.8, IF I TELL YOU… I’LL HAVE TO KILL YOU (edit)
5.0, LIFE OR DEATH Shortlisted for the 2015 CWA Gold Dagger
4.8, CLOSE YOUR EYES

About the Author

Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist whose psychological thrillers have been translated into twenty-three languages. In 2015 he won the prestigious UK Gold Dagger for his novel Life or Death, which was also shortlisted for the 2016 Edgar Allan Poe Award for best novel. Michael has twice won a Ned Kelly Award for Australia’s best
crime novel for Lost in 2015 and Shatter in 2008. He has also twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 for The Night Ferry and 2008 with Shatter. He lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters.

Review: SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE, Sarah Schmidt

  • this edition published by Hachette Australia in 2017
  • ISBN 978-0-7336-3688-2
  • source: my local library
  • 325 pages

Synopsis (Hachette Australia)

‘He was still bleeding. I yelled, “Someone’s killed Father.”

I breathed in kerosene air, licked the thickness from my teeth. The clock on the mantel ticked ticked. I looked at Father, the way hands clutched to thighs, the way the little gold ring on his pinky finger sat like a sun. I gave him that ring for his birthday when I no longer wanted it.
“Daddy,” I had said. “I’m giving this to you because I love you.” He had smiled and kissed my forehead.

A long time ago now.’

On 4 August 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in
Fall River, Massachusetts. During the inquest into the deaths, Lizzie Borden was arrested and charged with the murder of her father and her stepmother.

Through the eyes of Lizzie’s sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, the enigmatic stranger Benjamin and the beguiling Lizzie herself, we return to what happened that day in Fall River.

Lizzie Borden took an axe. Or did she?

My Take

This is a work of fiction based on true events, and I was never quite sure how fictionalised everything was.The evidence about the events that led to the murder Andrew and Abby Borden is presented by several narrators, looking for reasons for the murders.

We are told in the cover blurb that Lizzie Borden was tried and found innocent, and that no one was ever convicted of the crime. The novel presents a number of possible scenarios but I think you are left in no doubt at the end of the author’s conclusion.

Nevertheless it is a book that keeps you reading, and it presents an analysis of the main characters.

My rating: 4.4

About the author
After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Professional writing and editing), a Master of Arts (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma of Information Management, Sarah currently works as a Reading & Literacy Coordinator (read: a fancy librarian) at a regional public
library. She lives in Melbourne with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.

Review: A FATAL TIDE, Steve Sailah

Synopsis (Net Galley)

A powerful novel set in Gallipoli, that’s part war-story and part mystery.

‘Amid Gallipoli’s slaughter he hunted a murderer . . .’

It is 1915 and Thomas Clare rues the day he and his best friend Snow went to war to solve the murder of his father. The only clues – a hidden wartime document and the imprint of an army boot on the victim’s face – have led the pair from the safety of Queensland to the blood-soaked hills of Gallipoli.

Now not only are Thomas’s enemies on every side – from the Turkish troops bearing down on the Anzac lines, to the cold-blooded killer in his own trench – but as far away as London and Berlin.

For, unbeknown to Thomas, the path to murder began thirteen years earlier in Africa with the execution of Breaker Morant – and a secret that could change the course of history . . .

My Take

The scope of this novel is quite ambitious: its themes include the Australian soldiers at Gallipoli in 1915; the Boer War, particularly what led up to the execution of Breaker Morant; the relationships between Aborigines and whites in Australia in the early twentieth century; as well as a closely plotted murder mystery.

The novel also falls in with a pattern emerging in Australian fiction as the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing approaches, of novels set in the First World War that wrap fictitious plots in historical fact. Real historical characters such as Major General Harry Chauvel and Lord Kitchener make an appearance.It also explores what it was like at Anzac Cove and the role that trench warfare played there even before it became the dominant feature of the Western Front.

I did find parts of the murder plot a bit far fetched, particularly the idea that the murder of his father led Thomas Clare to enlist, and indeed the reason why his father was murdered.

Nevertheless the plot holds together fairly well and the background to the main story certainly added to my understanding of the times.

There seemed to be some unresolved strings at the end which could well be the platform into a sequel.

My Rating: 4.3

About the author

Steve Sailah is a former ABC foreign correspondent in New Delhi and Washington
and the recipient of two prestigious Walkley Awards. He was a friend to several
Gallipoli veterans, and returned to the battlefields with a number of them on
the 75th anniversary of the first ANZAC landing. His ABC documentary, Stories
from Gallipoli
, was republished in April 2013.

Review: LIFE OR DEATH, Michael Robotham

Synopsis (Net Galley)

Why would a man escape from prison the day before he’s due to be released?Audie Palmer has spent a decade in prison for an armed robbery in which four people died, including two of the gang. Seven million dollars has never been recovered and everybody believes that Audie knows where the money is.

For ten years he has been beaten, stabbed, throttled and threatened almost daily by prison guards, inmates and criminal gangs, who all want to answer this same question, but suddenly Audie vanishes, the day before he’s due to be released.

Everybody wants to find Audie, but he’s not running. Instead he’s trying to save a life . . . and not just his own.

My Take

Australian author Michael Robotham, already acclaimed both in Australia and internationally, takes a different direction in this novel: not the next in his Ruiz and O’Loughlin series set in Britain, but a stand-alone set in Texas. For me it shows another step, a necessary one, for Robotham in his development as a novelist. And one that I think will be popular with American readers.

Audie Palmer is a survivor – first of all from a gunshot that shattered his cranium, and then a decade where every other inmate in the prison seemed to want to be the one who killed Audie Palmer. As the day for his release looms Audie knows he is not going to make it to freedom alive.

The story is told from Audie’s point of view, but in the third person, and we gradually piece together Audie’s life before the armed robbery, and then his part in the robbery. We understand what has kept him going for a decade and why he escapes the day before his release date. But will he survive on the run as he tries to put the record straight?

There is a cinematographic quality to this story and I would not be surprised to find it optioned for a film.

LIFE OR DEATH puts Robotham right up there with modern crime fiction writers. It is a tightly plotted thriller with a roller coaster of suspense. It has made it  into my top 5 reads for this year.

My rating: 5.0

I’ve also reviewed
BOMBPROOF
SHATTER
SHATTER (audio)
BLEED FOR ME
5.0, THE WRECKAGE
4.8, SAY YOU’RE SORRY
5.0, WATCHING YOU
4.8, IF I TELL YOU… I’LL HAVE TO KILL YOU (edit)

2014 Australian crime fiction releases – January update

Here’s the first list for this year of books we know about that are due for release in the next few months, do let us know if there are any gaps in this list. Links below go to the publisher, book or author’s website and the blurbs are taken from the same places.

January

  • SilentKillCorrisPeter Corris SILENT KILL – When Cliff Hardy signs on as a bodyguard for charismatic populist Rory O’Hara, who is about to embark on a campaign of social and political renewal, it looks like a tricky job – O’Hara has enemies. A murder and a kidnapping cause the campaign to fall apart. Hired to investigate the murder, Hardy uncovers hidden agendas among O’Hara’s staff as well as powerful political and commercial forces at work. His investigation takes him from the pubs and brothels of Sydney to the heart of power in Canberra and the outskirts of Darwin
  • OneBoyMissingOrrStephen Orr ONE BOY MISSING – It was a butcher on smoko who reported the man stashing the kid in the car boot. He didn’t really know whether he’d seen anything at all, though. Maybe an abduction? Maybe just a stressed-out father. Detective Bart Moy, newly returned to the country town where his ailing, cantankerous father still lives, finds nothing. As far as he can tell no one in Guilderton is missing a small boy. Still, he looks deeper into the butcher’s story—after all, he had a son of his own once. But when the boy does turn up, silent, apparently traumatised, things are no clearer. Who is he? Where did he come from and what happened to him?

February

  • DeservingDeathHowellKatherine Howell DESERVING DEATH Two female paramedics murdered in a month. Is it coincidence, or are they victims of a serial killer? Detective Ella Marconi isn’t sure, but goes hard after her key suspects, including police officer John Morris. But each turn of the case throws up more questions and entanglements, and Ella and her partner, Detective Murray Shakespeare, struggle to find the truth among the lies. Ella also attempts to balance work and her relationship with Dr Callum McLennan, which is both growing both stronger and more difficult as they face Callum’s mother’s disapproval and the anniversary of his cousin’s murder. .
  • InTheMorningIllBeGoneMcKintyAdrian McKinty IN THE MORNING I’LL BE GONE is the final installment of the Sean Duffy Trilogy in which Sean Duffy’s got nothing. And when you’ve got nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. So when MI5 come knocking, Sean knows exactly what they want, and what he’ll want in return, but he hasn’t got the first idea how to get it. Of course he’s heard about the spectacular escape of IRA man Dermot McCann from Her Majesty’s Maze prison. And he knew, with chilly certainty, that their paths would cross. But finding Dermot leads Sean to an old locked room mystery, and into the kind of danger where you can lose as easily as winning.
  • TheScentOfMurderYoungFelicity Young THE SCENT OF MURDER – For Doctor Dody McCleland, the unearthing of an ancient skeleton in a dry riverbed is a welcome break from the monotony of chaperoning her younger sister at a country house near the isolated hamlet of Piltdown. But when she begins her analysis of the bones, Britain’s first female autopsy surgeon discovers they are much more recent – and they are the result of murder. With Chief Inspector Matthew Pike’s help Dody begins to investigate. Soon she finds herself pitted against ugly traditionalism, exploitation, spectral dogs, a ghostly hunt and a series of events that not only threaten her belief in scientific rationalism, but threaten her life itself.

March

  • TheTrainRiderTony Cavanaugh THE TRAIN RIDER The third novel to feature ex-Victorian cop Darian Richards who was forced away from the job when a killer could not be caught. Now, retired, watching the Noosa River flow by, the nightmares had finally stopped. Then three girls go missing from Queensland trains. Darian knows that the killer is playing him. He has a choice to make. But when the decision means a girl will die, there is no choice. He has to stop this man once and for all. Forever.
  • FatalImpactFoxDRAFTKathryn FoxFATAL IMPACT When a girl’s dead body is found in a toybox, forensic physician and pathologist Anya Crichton joins the police hunt in her home state of Tasmania for the girl’s missing mother and sister. Staying with her increasingly erratic mother, Dr Jocelyn Reynolds, Anya fears the long shadow of her sister Miriam’s disappearance has finally driven her mother past the brink of sanity. Anya pairs up with Internal Affairs detective Oliver Parke to unravel the sinister connections between a fatal epidemic, the shady deals of a multinational corporation and the alleged murder of a local scientist. 

And while it’s not new it is worth mentioning that a new edition of Peter Temple‘s THE BROKEN SHORE will be released in February as a tie in with the movie to air on the ABC starring Don Hany as Joe Cashin

Review: OUT OF EXILE by Luke Preston

Out of ExileOUT OF EXILE follows Tom Bishop a damaged and dangerous ex-cop with the result simply noir – blurred justice, violence, and a case for vengeance tripping over the borders of criminality. Dig deeper, and the deluge of damned souls and corrupt cops seeps deep into the cracked Melbourne pavement. The reality not distilled by the outrageous but supported by the outlandish – this level of rife corruption and blatant disregard for civilian safety could easily happen, a factious tag-line from the Herlard or Australian. And that’s what makes OUT OF EXILE so good.

Broken out of prison, Bishop finds himself embroiled in a multi-layered crime of smoke and mirrors where the true purpose of the corrupt elite isn’t clear until the bloody ending. Raw from the loss of his daughter, Bishop’s justice radar still learns towards the blue line – this despite being involved in a kidnapping, break-in of his former foe’s house and torture of a prominent cops’ wife. While things look bad for Bishop’s predicament, his relentless pursuit of justice enforced by street law provides a constant glimmer of hope where none should filter.

OUT OF EXILE builds upon the Aussie conceptual noir, DARK CITY BLUE, the first book to feature Tom Bishop. The key players return (those not six feet under) with more character depth and the reader, more situational awareness of the fictitious Victorian police landscape. Familiarity with the characters is paramount to the reader reactions to their decisions and actions. While I think anyone could read OUT OF EXILE as a standalone, it works much better having read DARK CITY BLUE.

Author Luke Preston does a great job at keeping the reader guessing while planting landmines of explosive twists throughout the course of events. Like its predecessor, OUT OF EXILE is action an action pack non-stop noir where no one is safe from the tantalising grip of corruption and promised wealth.

Be sure to check out my main blog (link below) for an upcoming post where I interview Luke Preston!

Links:

– This review also appears on Just A Guy That Likes To Read

Review: IF I TELL YOU.. I’LL HAVE TO KILL YOU, edited by Michael Robotham

Kindle edition available July 24

Australia’s best crime writers – Michael Robotham,
Kerry Greenwood, Shane Maloney, Peter Corris, Tara Moss and more – share the secrets to their success, their best- ever writing tips and their favourite ‘must reads’. An ideal guide for aspiring writers and crime
fiction fans alike.

Description

Crime fiction is the single most popular genre in international publishing and Australia has some of the finest practitioners when it comes to walking the mean streets and nailing the bad guys.

Whether you’re a fan of crime fiction, true crime or a would-be crime writer, this collection of essays will provide laughter, understanding, insight, ideas, advice and hopefully some inspiration. Learn about Shane Maloney’s near-death experience in a freezer, Leigh Redhead’s adventures as a stripper and Tara Moss taking a polygraph test to prove her
doubters wrong.

There are stories of struggle and triumph, near misses and murderous intent, as our best crime writers lay bare their souls and reveal their secrets as never before, along with their rules for writing and reading lists.

But beware. They will have to kill you…

My Take

All royalties from this book go towards the Australian Crime Writers Association, which runs the annual Ned Kelly Awards and was established to promote crime writing and reading in Australia.

So while I read this copy from my local library, I also bought a copy for my Kindle.

Here’s a unique opportunity to find out what makes some of your favourite Aussie authors tick. The book consists of 20 very readable essays. I’ve sat through a lot of author talks at the Adelaide Writer’s Week and reading these essays reminded me of some of the more candid of those sessions. The five “must-reads” at the end of each essay give further insight and for me, reminded me that I have never read Raymond Chandler’s THE BIG SLEEP.

The Table of Contents reads a bit like a Who’s Who of successful Australian crime writers, so here is a chance of finding a new author or two, or just relaxing in the company of someone you already follow. The format was a winner for me – each essay is twelve to fifteen pages long and is followed by “My Rules” which of course vary from writer to writer, and then “Five Must Reads” with similarities from author to author.

The final essay is from Peter Lawrance and picks out some of the highlights in the history of the Ned Kelly Awards, founded in 1996. Peter is a long-time convenor and organiser of the NKs.

Well done to whoever had the idea of putting this anthology together. It should be must reading for all crime fiction courses, whether for readers or budding writers.

My rating: 4.8

Australian crime fiction we’ll be reading in 2013

We haven’t planned to do a ‘best of’ round up for 2012 here at Fair Dinkum because…well…we’ve been a bit slack. But to put a positive spin on things isn’t it better to look forward than backwards anyway? So here’s some of the great Australian crime fiction you can look forward to in 2013.

January

TheDunbarCasePeter Corris THE DUNBAR CASE – “A famous nineteenth-century shipwreck; a search for lost documents; a two-million dollar heist; a Newcastle criminal family tearing itself apart; an undercover cop playing both sides against the middle and an alluring but fiercely ambitious female journalist, give Private Investigator Cliff Hardy all the trouble he can handle. What started as an almost academic exercise—tracing lost documents to do with the 1857 wreck of the SS Dunbar—explodes into a here-and-now power struggle between criminals, police, lovers and unseen forces. When the first person Hardy interviews is shot dead, the body count can only mount as he pushes closer to the truth about the people, the documents and the loot.”  This is the 38th book/short story collection to feature Cliff Hardy. An Australian crime fiction record?

February

  • DeadGirlSingTony Cavanaugh DEAD GIRL SING “Something bad is happening on the Gold Coast glitter strip. Amongst the thousands of schoolies and the usual suspects, someone is preying on beautiful young women. No one has noticed. No one knows why“. If you want to know more check out an early review at Bite The Book
  • TheHolidayMurdersRobert Gott THE HOLIDAY MURDERS which is set On Christmas Eve, 1943 when “…the newly formed but undermanned Homicide division of the Melbourne police force is called to investigate the vicious double murder of a father and son. When Military Intelligence becomes involved, Homicide’s Inspector Titus Lambert must unravel the personal from the political”
  • IHearTheSirensInTheStreetAdrian McKinty I HEAR THE SIRENS IN THE STREET is the second novel in a planned trilogy set in 1980’s Belfast, featuring DS Sean Duffy (and titles taken from Tom Waits lyrics). According to the publisher’s blurb “Sean Duffy knows there’s no such thing as a perfect crime. But a torso in a suitcase is pretty close. Still, one tiny clue is all it takes, and there it is. A tattoo. So Duffy, fully fit and back at work after the severe trauma of his last case, is ready to follow the trail of blood – however faint – that always, always connects a body to its killer.” Sounds good to me. The good news for you is you’ve still a month to catch up on the first book in the set, THE COLD, COLD GROUND if you get your skates on.

March

  • Nick Place ROLL WITH IT (debut author) “Senior Sergeant Tony ‘Rocket’ Laver is a policeman with issues. Sure, he may have been returning fire, but the fact remains that Laver is the sixth Victorian policeman to shoot a suspect in four months, and that’s all the politicians need to get involved. While the circus of an inquiry begins, Laver is moved from Major Crime to the Mobile Public Interaction Squad … aka the mountain bike police. Bitter, struggling to cope with the fatal shooting – not to mention his flailing relationship, Rocket is now wearing lycra and getting a sore butt on his bike seat. Laver’s friends and bosses in the force tell him to keep his head down until the storm blows over, but that doesn’t factor in Stig and the Wild Man, two genuine bad guys Laver encounters on Smith Street, Collingwood. In innercity and outer-suburban Melbourne, major crime is in the air. Lives might be in danger but nobody will listen to a cop on the outer.”
  • MurderWithTheLotSue Williams MURDER WITH THE LOT (debut author) the first paragraph of the book’s blurb says “Cass Tuplin’s takeaway isn’t the last shop left in Rusty Bore. There’s also Vern’s General Store. But it’s true the town’s not exactly overflowing with residents, and a stranger in Cass’s shop is quite an event. Especially one like Clarence: suspicious, bleeding, looking for a burger with the lot and somewhere quiet to stay”. Here’s a short extract if you want more

April

  • TheTrustedJohn M Green, THE TRUSTED “A sophisticated, new breed of terrorist … a group called 9S … aims to annihilate life as we know it by slashing our planet’s population and smashing its resource-hungry economy through almost inconceivable cyber attacks.  Dr Tori Swyft, a smart, sassy ‘James Bond’ who was once a 9S disciple, can expose and prevent the looming crisis … but will she?

July

  • Angela Savage, THE DEAD BEACH – the third novel featuring Jayne Keeney, an expat Aussie now working in Thailand, is the subject of Savage’s recent Next Big Thing blog post which included this one sentence synopsis of the book “Jayne Keeney doesn’t buy it when the death of a young tour guide in Thailand’s south is explained as an accidental drowning and sets out to investigate in a case that brings her face-to-face with unscrupulous businessmen, embittered thugs, environmental zealots and deadly cobras.”

All I have for these second-half-of-the-year releases are the titles but a little teasing is a good thing right?

August

  • Garry Disher HELL TO PAY
  • Barry Maitland, THE RAVEN’S EYE

September

  • Stephen Orr WHEATBELT

October

  • Alan Carter, GETTING WARMER

If you’re aware of more books which should be on this list please let us know via the contact form in the side bar (—->). We’ll publish an updated list of forthcoming titles every couple of months. If you’re looking for us to review your book that’s the best way to contact us but please read the review policy on our About page first.

Review: SAY YOU’RE SORRY, Michael Robotham

Synopsis (from Publisher)

The chilling new psychological thriller – a truly gripping read from one of the most brilliant crime authors of today

My name is Piper Hadley and I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago.

When Piper and her friend Tash disappeared, there was a huge police
search, but they were never found. Now Tash, reaching breaking point at
the abuse their captor has inflicted on them, has escaped, promising to
come back for Piper.

Clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin and his stalwart companion,
ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, force the police to re-open the case after Joe is
called in to assess the possible killer of a couple in their own home
and finds a connection to the missing girls. But they are racing against
time to save Piper from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted
mind…

My Take

The Bingham Girls, Piper Hadley and Tash McBain, are 15 years old when they go missing.  They have been best friends for years but Tash is a troubled adolescent and has been told not to return to school. Every one assumes that the girls have gone off to London as they said they would, or at least that’s what Tash said.

Months pass and the search is scaled back. They have gone without trace. The bad things are forgotten and both families paint their daughters in glowing colours.

Three years later and a body is found frozen in a lake and DCI Drury calls in Joe O’Loughlin to investigate a case where a husband and wife have been killed and burnt in a fire at the farmhouse where Tash McBain used to live. A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and
claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman. Drury hopes that Joe, by going over the Bingham Girls case from the very beginning, may pick up on clues the original team missed.

For Joe this is a particularly sensitive case because when they disappeared the girls were the same age that his own daughter Charlie is now. Both Piper and Tash had problems at home, separated or unhappy parents, and you can feel the author exploring the issues that surround female adolescence.

The structure of the novel appears to be straightforward but is very clever. Piper Hadley likes writing, but she runs out of paper so there are excerpts from her “mental” journal interposed between chapters describing the findings and events in the investigation that Joe and Vincent Ruiz are carrying out.

As always, a very readable novel, with some heart stopping moments. #8 in the O’Loughlin/Ruiz series. This duo complement each other so well.

My rating: 4.8

Other reviews of Robotham titles

BOMBPROOF

SHATTER

BLEED FOR ME

5.0, THE WRECKAGE

Check if Michael Robotham is touring near you. He will also be at MWF and at Bouchercon in Cleveland later in the year.