Top critical review
11 people found this helpful
on 25 June 2012
This is the first Michael Robotham book I've read and, to be honest, it's the first I've even heard of him. I picked it off the shelves of my local library and checked it out on the basis that someone came up to me and said that I'd enjoy it (this happens quite a lot in my library, the joys of small villages). And I did enjoy it but only up to a point.
The plot in this is the type of plot I love: convoluted, detailed and fast-paced. There were parts of this story where I couldn't read quickly enough for my liking. It was hard to see where the author was going with it too, as characters were saying one thing to Joe and another to the police. Secrets and lies were at the core of this story and Joe was not immune to telling, or not telling, his own.
While I like a plot full of action, it felt like Robotham was chucking everything he could at it on a few occasions. Not to spoil it for anyone but towards the middle and end, I really felt like it was going a wee bit too far and veering towards the wrong side of plausibility.
Because the plot was so complex, it ripped along at a fair old pace to begin with - I read the first third of the book in a couple of hours. However, the sheer complexity later on began to slow it down for me.
Where I think Robotham went incredibly right was with the character of Joe. In Joe, this series has a flawed but mostly likeable character with his own issues, namely Parkinson's Disease and the fact that he was incapable of talking to his wife. It could have come across as an easy way to make the book different from others within the genre but I didn't see it that way because, as the reader, you didn't find out that Joe had PD until quite far in, although you were aware that something was wrong. Robotham also made the right decision in telling this story in first person from Joe's POV. While I feel like this added to the pacing issues I mentioned above, it did prevent the psychology info dumps that otherwise may have occurred. In telling it this way, I felt like I was inside Joe's head as he thought things through.
I found this to be a good start to the series but the pacing issues and the slightly overdone plot stopped it from becoming excellent. I am going to pick up the next one though because Professor Joseph O'Loughlin was a very interesting character who I would like to continue reading about.