SHATTER - Michael Robotham

Review Written By

Opening Sentence: "... It's eleven o'clock in the morning, mid-October, and outside it's raining so hard that cows are floating down rivers and birds are resting on their bloated bodies....."

There have been lots of reviews done on this book already - so I am not sure that I am going to be able to give any deep and meaningful new insight into whatever has been said.

Joseph O'Loughlin (Joe) is a psychologist who is convinced that the recent suicide of a woman, Christine Wheeler, is actually murder as she was listening intently on a mobile phone before she jumped.. Her daughter is also convinced that if her mother had wanted to commit suicide she would not have done it by jumping off a bridge as she was terrified of heights. The police seem to be disinclined to believe that a person could be murdered without the murderer laying a hand on her.

Then a second woman commits suicide - Christine's business partner.

Blood and guts are kept to a minimum in this thriller - it is all in the mind - and the mind can be a scary place to be. Joe's job is to fix broken minds - the murderer has learnt how to break minds.  As the story unfolds Robotham cleverly switches to the murderer's point of view occasionally giving the reader an insight into what he is up to .  As the investigation continues the reader learns more about the murderer, who he is, what his background is and why he is doing what he is doing. The only thing they don't know is where he is and who his next victim is going to be.

Joe has Parkinson's disease, a wife who supports his desire to continue his life as normally as possible and two daughters. While he is sucked into the dark mind of the serial killer he is trying to stop - he has to deal with personal problems, both real and perceived, within his own marriage. Joe is one of those rare fiction characters where the author has  created such a 'real' person, that it allowed me to think I could really pick up the phone and call him to invite him and the family over for a BBQ.

This book recently won the Ned Kelly award for the 2008 best crime novel of the year - I say it is well deserved - anyone who can write such a dark and mentally terrifying novel and get me, the cozy queen, to give it an 'A' has to know what they are doing. I just wish I could stop jumping every time the phone rings.....

Year of Publication

A naked woman in red high-heeled shoes is perched on the edge of Clifton Suspension Bridge with her back pressed to the safety fence, weeping into a mobile phone. Clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin is only feet away, desperately trying to talk her down. She whispers, ‘you don’t understand,’ and jumps.

Later, Joe has a visitor - the woman’s teenage daughter, a runaway from boarding school. She refuses to believe that her mother would have jumped off the bridge - not only would she not commit suicide, she is terrified of heights.

Joe wants to believe her, but what would drive a woman to such a desperate act? Whose voice? What evil?

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