Can anything else go wrong for clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin, threatened by both the police and a sadistic killer in Suspect (2005)? Indeed it can.
When naked Christine Wheeler stops before leaping from the Clifton Suspension Bridge, DI Veronica Cray, rightly modest about her ability to talk a potential suicide back from the brink, demands assistance from O’Loughlin. Unfortunately, he provides only a witness to the desperate woman’s final words, “You don’t understand,” before she plunges to her death. Even though the wedding-planning firm Christine ran with her old school friend Sylvia Furness was in deep financial trouble, all the evidence points away from deliberate suicide. Evidently Christine left her house clad only in a transparent raincoat, drove 15 miles to the bridge and then jumped at the behest of whoever was at the other end of her cell phone. Even so, Cray marks the case closed until Sylvia’s body is discovered in circumstances that reflect the same modus operandi. Someone had literally talked both women to death. Who could have hated them enough to make them kill themselves in ways so public and humiliating? Working with retired DI Vincent Ruiz, O’Loughlin pieces together a pattern of psychotic revenge—but not before the killer zeroes in on his own troubled marriage and proceeds to rip his family apart.
Robotham (The Night Ferry, 2007, etc.) sharpens the conventional horrors with his unerring eye for psychological detail, his mastery of pace and his spooky villain, a manipulator as monstrous as Hannibal Lecter.