Published by Sphere April 2010
FOR THOSE of us who devoured Shatter the wait has been long with scarcely a Linwood Barclay to tide us over but the wait has been worth it. Robotham, in the just published Bleed For Me, makes it plain he is at the very top of his game.
Bleed For Me sees the return of psychologist Joe O’Loughlin. Suffering from Parkinson’s Disease Joe has split from his wife Julianne but has high hopes for one day making it back into the family home (despite the fact that Julianne is now seeing another man). Joe sees as much of his two daughters as he can, young Emma and teenager Charlie and it is Charlie’s friendship with troubled Sienna that kicks the whole plot off.
Sienna’s father Ray Hagerty is a tough ex-cop who is found brutally murdered in his own home and with all evidence pointing to his young daughter she is quickly taken into custody and when it is revealed that Hagerty had been sexually abusing his children for years, the evidence begins to look even more damaging.
Joe though is convinced that Sienna is innocent, however, his own investigations don’t do much to endear him to the police especially his main contact D.C.I. Veronica “Ronnie” Kray. As Joe digs deeper into the case he discovers that Sienna was possibly having an affair with popular young teacher Gordon Ellis. As the case gets ever murkier Joe gets ever deeper personally involved but at what cost to his personal life?
Robotham is such a strong writer. He easily pulls you in to Joe’s world. It’s the minutiae of Joe and his fractured family as they come to terms with not only the break up of the family unit but also the worsening state of Joe’s condition that resonates most strongly. Robotham is also cannily able to move the mystery/thriller elements along at a quick old pace but still leaving room for all the main characters to breathe.
Hugely recommended and heres hoping the gap between O’Loughlin cases isn’t as long next time!