I had the pleasure last week of reading Michael Robotham’s new thriller, Shatter (published by Sphere) and have made my usual notes while reading the book. The following are just a few of the thoughts and observations that will hopefully give you a bit of a taste for what the book is like.
Shatter is the 4th thriller by Michael Robotham, following on from The Suspect, Lost (aka The Drowning Man) and The Night Ferry.
It’s the 2nd book to feature Professor Joseph O’Loughlin, a psychologist who is suffering the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease. Also making a return as a minor character is retired police detective Vincent Ruiz (Lost) who is as abrasive as ever.
The story is set in Bath, England.
There is a definite contender for a future Robotham protagonist in DI Veronica Cray who is in charge of the police investigation. She’s a quirky, exuberant in your face character with a past that begs to be explored. She is summarised on page 60:
Veronica Cray can render someone speechless. She’s unavoidable. Immovable. Like a rocky outcrop in a force ten gale.
Every scene in which she appears throughout the book confirms this description.
Short plot teaser. Although everyone else is convinced the naked woman who jumped off the bridge committed suicide, Joe O’Loughlin believes it may have been a murder. It was Joe’s job to try to talk her down, so he was closest when she stepped off. She was talking to someone on a mobile phone right before she jumped. Joe has to ask himself two important questions if what he suspects is the truth: Why would someone talk a person into killing themselves and what could they possibly say to make them do it?
Yet again I found myself sucked along by Robotham’s smooth writing style. It flows effortlessly.
The psychological dilemma posed in this story is truly intriguing. You can’t help but place yourself in the same situation and wonder how you would deal with it.
Joe’s Parkinson’s plays a more significant role than it did in The Suspect.
While closing the book on this, I wonder if we’re going to see Joe again? I also get the feeling that Ruiz is being primed for another role in a future book. (There you go Michael, I’ve just set up three more possible books for you to write – get busy!)
I find Joseph O'Loughlin is a very sympathetic character who turns out to blessed with an interesting blend of professional confidence and naive ignorance.