Reviewed By: Luke Croll - RAM
SHATTER is the third in the series of Michael Robotham’s excellent thrillers starring psychologist Joseph O’ Loughlin. In this novel, Joe is called from Bath University, where he is now lecturing, to try to talk down a woman threatening to jump from a bridge. He does not succeed. Shortly afterwards, he is approached by the woman’s teenage daughter, who persuades him that her mother was murdered. Joe finds himself caught up into an investigation into how a woman could be driven to take her own life and comes up against a particularly dangerous enemy, one who will threaten the very fabric of his life.
It appears that Michael Robotham’s stock is continuing to rise with each successive novel. SHATTER is excellent from beginning to end. The author’s style of writing is a triumph, particularly as he creates characters who are flawed – there are no superhero detectives who can do no wrong in SHATTER. For example, Joe O’ Loughlin is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, making him vulnerable, and Vincent Ruiz is rather keen on a few beers. The novel is a first-person narrative in the present tense, which Robotham uses to bring out O’ Loughlin’s character. We see wry humour, fallibility, fear and more, making the character much more real and appealing than many, particularly as he has a genuine family life as well.
The plot itself is ingenious and terrifying. The idea that one person can wield so much power over another simply through the force of words is disturbing, particularly when the said person has been trained to do so. The novel moves at a fast pace, culminating in an exciting denouement. It is also refreshing to see an ending where not everything is happy ever after – in keeping with real life.
Overall, SHATTER is a fantastic novel that will grab your attention from the first page and not let go until the very end.
Luke Croll - RAM
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