Beleaguered clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin’s back as Robotham pits the brilliant, battered, and world-weary shrink against a killer who’s not above stalking Joe’s own family.
Joe, who struggles with Parkinson’s disease, has worked hard to keep himself in the lives of his two daughters, Charlie and Emma. His estranged wife, Julianne, who's facing surgery in connection with her newly discovered cancer, has softened a bit toward Joe, and he’s hoping it will open the door to a reconciliation. Meanwhile, Joe’s helping police in England's West Country unravel the horrifying murder of an attractive mother and her college-bound daughter. Elizabeth Crowe was found butchered in their sitting room, while daughter Harper was discovered upstairs in her bedroom, laid out like Sleeping Beauty. Further investigation reveals that mom—who was stabbed 36 times—was into a sexual fetish called “dogging,” in which strangers meet and have sex in public places. While Detective Chief Superintendent Veronica Cray grows impatient to resolve the killing, Joe and his perennial sidekick, retired cop Vincent Ruiz, discover that Elizabeth’s death bears more than a passing resemblance to other killings in the area. Meanwhile, police fume while Milo Coleman, a former student of Joe’s who initially consulted on the investigation, captures the press by calling himself "the Mindhunter" and releasing confidential details. As Coleman spills secrets police hoped to keep quiet, Joe and Ruiz narrow the field to six main suspects. Before it’s all over, they'll have only minutes to figure out the killer’s identity and location before Joe loses everything that’s precious to him. As usual, Robotham turns in a tightly written story that’s flawlessly plotted, although past experience should have told Joe that letting his family become involved in his cases never turns out well. But Robotham's writing is so smooth and his characters so well-drawn that readers can forgive him almost anything.
Robotham’s crime thrillers are at the top of the genre’s food chain.