It has become a bit of a cliché to say that a series just keeps getting better with the release of each new book, but in the case of Michael Robotham’s Joseph O’Loughlin mystery series, it also happens to be completely true. Certainly, this has a lot to do with the depth of character Michael has imparted to Joe O’Laughlin and his friend Vincent Ruiz, but an equal amount of success comes from the intricate mysteries which form the backbone of each of these thrillers.
In the case of his new novel, Watching You, Michael Robotham allows the secondary characters to take center stage for much of the novel, while Joe and Vincent drift along on the outskirts picking up small pieces of evidence and clues they will later use to solve the complex puzzle. The main character in Watching You is Marnie Logan, a woman who is struggling to raise two children after the mysterious disappearance of her husband thirteen months earlier.
As the novel opens, Marnie is participating in some unsavory activities in order to pay off a gambling debt her husband incurred with some disagreeable individuals. Forced to sell her body, Marnie is ashamed, but until she can convince the courts that her husband is dead thereby releasing his insurance money to her, she has no other options.
Marnie Logan has been seeing clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin in an effort to use therapy as a way to regain control over her life. But when Joe’s office is broken into and only Marnie’s records are stolen, it appears that someone is trying to ensure that Marnie’s secrets remain hidden.
Enlisting the help of his friend Vincent, Joe comes to realize that many of the people in Marnie’s past despise her and each of them has a different motivation causing them to feel that way. If Joe and Vincent can’t figure out what is going on in the shadows of Marnie’s past, it could cost someone their life.
Michael Robotham starts the story off by heating up the action slowly, allowing the reader to become invested in these new characters. By the time readers reach the mid-point of the story, the action is at steady simmer. Many other authors would maintain that level of excitement through to the end, but Robotham manages to turn up the heat even further bringing the plot to a full boil with over a hundred pages to go. Having a dénouement of this length is unusual, especially in a thriller of this type, but Michael Robotham manages to pull it off and the book is stronger because of it.
Readers looking for a deeper look into Joe O’Loughlin’s personal life and struggle with Parkinson’s disease are not going to find that in this particular book. Of course, these factors do affect the story in minor ways (as they always will), but with this outing, Robotham places the primary focus on the case at hand. This should in no way dissuade readers for experiencing this novel, as it only serves to make Joe a more realistic human – one who must deal with “real” life while also performing his day-to-day obligations.
Watching You is yet another is a long line of solid novels by Michael Robotham. Combining suspenseful elements with a claustrophobic and voyeuristic tone makes this perfect for both fans and newcomers alike – – this book is highly recommended.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.