Robotham’s crime thrillers are at the top of the genre’s food chain.

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CLOSE YOUR EYES

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.

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-26794-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

A CONSPIRACY OF BONES

Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.

A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”

Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9821-3888-2

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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