Happiness Comes At A Price…

“After six years living alone, Joe O’Loughlin is invited to spend the summer with his estranged wife Julianne and their two daughters. Determined to rekindle his marriage, Joe  grabs this lifeline like a drowning man, but soon there are complications.

A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a Somerset farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly Joe is drawn into the investigation because another psychologist, a former student calling himself the ‘Mindhunter’ has traded on Joe’s name and jeopardised the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.

With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe calls on his old friend former detective, Vincent Ruiz, for help and soon they discover links to a series of brutal attacks where the men and women are choked unconscious and the letter ‘A’ is carved into their foreheads.

Nothing is what it seems and Joe will discover that happiness comes at a price”michael-robotham_close-your-eyes

I’ve just finished reading “Close Your Eyes” by Australian author Michael Robotham. I’ve read a number of his books since stumbling over his 2008 novel “Shatter” which was set in and around Bristol, a city that I spent much of my life living in.

In this latest one the action is a little south of Bristol, in and around Clevedon, but still features psychologist Professor Joe O’Loughlin, his wife and daughters Charlie and Emma, and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz.

Michael Robotham
Michael Robotham

To be honest I was surprised to find that Robotham is Australian, and lives in Australia, such is his knowledge of the areas in which O’Loughlin’s character operates. His official bio mentions a period working in London as a journalist but perhaps he spent some time in the South West too? The only point at which he slipped up, in fact, was in referring to Fishponds Road in the Eastleigh area of Bristol when in fact it’s in Eastville. That aside the general area really comes to live on the page.

Story-wise, this one is as good, if not better, than the likes of “Watching You” and “Say You’re Sorry”. There are lots of twist and turns and genuinely tense passages. Robotham has a knack of making his characters very real and believable, and as a reader you therefore become invested in what happens to them.

Also, with this story he has done a superb job of planting so many false trails and red herrings that I, for one, had no chance of figuring out who the baddie was until he wanted me to! Excellent storytelling.

The only concern that I have is that having seen somewhere the author apparently stating that he wasn’t able to finish writing O’Loughlin’s stories until the situation between Joe and Julianne was resolved. Without giving anything away there is, indeed, some kind of resolution in this book, but I hope that doesn’t mean an end to the Professor’s adventures as they have been a joy to read and I would certainly miss him. Time will tell, I suppose, but if this is to be Joe’s swansong then it’s certainly a strong one to go out on…michael-robotham-competition

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