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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 September 2012
After the disappointment of my last crime read it was heartening to seek sanctuary in the criminal bosom of Michael Robotham. Robotham is a firm favourite of mine and once again provides a fine lesson in the craft of crime fiction with an utterly absorbing read. Drawing closely on real-life incidences of child abduction Robotham weaves a compelling tale focusing on the case of two missing teenage girls and the changing public perceptions of the both the case and the two as individuals under the glare of media scrutiny and the heightened sense of purpose the police investigation gains when one of the girls turns up dead. Once again clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is called to assist in this troubling case and with the help of retired policeman Vincent Ruiz, seeks to determine the whereabouts of the remaining missing girl. The plot is taut and throws up many a quandary for our loveable duo as the investigation unfolds in different directions but what this book highlights more than most is Robotham's consistently great characterisation.

This was particularly noticeable in Robotham's portrayal of Piper Hadley a sporty and slightly ungainly teenager but who during her enforced incarceration is revealed as a very perceptive and thoughtful girl grappling mentally and physically with the challenges of the danger she finds herself in. The sections of the book where she narrates her day-to-day suffering at the hands of her abductor are truly moving and incredibly well-realised. I liked the way that her experiences are offset by the traumas caused by Joe's own teenage daughter Charlie as she navigates her way through these difficult years, at times to the chagrin of her father, as she herself has been held captive in a previous criminal investigation involving Joe. Hence Joe draws on the feelings he had when his own daughter was abducted to aid his own mission to try and ensure the safe return of Piper to her family. On the theme of characterisation we are once again witness to the good-natured ribbing and heartfelt friendship and respect between Joe and Vincent. I adore Vincent despite his propensity for being an eminently unsuitable husband but totally counterbalanced by his mix of intuitive and ballsy approach to police work retired or not. Joe also finds himself involved in a little extra-curricular romantic action which added another facet to plot as well highlighting his slightly rusty skills with the fairer sex!

All in all this is a great read with a perfectly balanced plot, skilled characterisation and dialogue and just a twist or two along the way to add to the tense and thrilling denouement.
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on 12 October 2012
Say You're Sorry is one of the most gripping thrillers I have read in years. Dealing with the story of abduction and the way young women are seen in our society the book not only delivers toe-curling thrills but also takes a long hard look at sexuality and societal expectations. Throughout the book we not only see it from Joe O'Loughlin's POV but also have sight of the diary of Piper one of the young women who was abducted. Reading her story I was reminded of 'The Collector' and although the books are very different I think Robotham surpasses Fowles in delivering a wholly realistic narration of a young girl struggling in the most extreme circumstances. Cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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on 9 April 2013
Clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is back helping the police deal with the case of two girls who disappeared three years earlier. Vincent Ruiz, his ex-policeman buddy, plays a cameo role in providing support. The story is told here in two first person accounts, one being Joe's.

I have to admire Robotham's consistently high levels of skill as a narrator. The plot is well-constructed and throws up a number of viable contenders as possible kidnappers. He also writes with great insights and throws in occasional gems of wit. Joe is flawed, and medically burdened by Parkinson's, but remains such a likable character. His interactions with his friend Vincent also round things off for his followers, like me.

Some reviewers have criticised Robotham for writing a book about abuse. Although the core theme is disturbing, there is nothing graphic in the writing.

Robotham is a very impressive author and this book is up there with his best novels. 9/10
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on 17 February 2013
The author is a well accomplished writer within the thriller genre. Say you are sorry proves the point clearly.The psychological aspect is insightful and well researched. It is a complex subject, as it gives you an insight into the human mind and what triggers their behaviour. The tonne is straight away set from the opening pages. It is all ready, set and go from the first page, as if you are in a race circuit. The plot is gripping, thrilling and enthralling. It concerns the disappearance of two teenagers in a small town. What prompted their sudden disappearances? Clinical psychologist works in conjunction with the police force to assist in the investigation. His approach is different from the police. There are few suspects in the picture. It is a guessing game, as you never know what to expect. The trail becomes warm. The pace increases, as you flip every page.The author knows how to keep readers interested with a cracking plot. It is filled with a dark atmosphere and high levels of suspense. Michael Robotham's forte is writing quality thrillers.
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on 30 July 2013
It takes some guts and not a small amount of skill to write about the disappearance of two young girls, especially when the author is so keen to mention real-life, recent, tragic cases and names. I did wonder where this was going - it could have been so voyeuristic and tasteless - but luckily, this is an author who can handle huge issues with some aplomb. It's never crass or graphic, and really opens the reader's eyes to the manipulation of the public by the media during these cases. Our perception of a missing girl relies solely on what the media are feeding us, and sometimes what the police are feeding the media. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
It's a bittersweet novel all round, sometimes as ice-cold as the Oxfordshire fields in winter, other times raising a wry smile as Joe O'Loughlin battles with his troublesome daughter and rusty love life.
Robotham generally does pretty well with the narrative voice of Piper - it can't be easy for a middle-aged bloke to get into the head of a teenage girl - and only really slips up on some time-line issues. Would Piper, born in around 1993 by my reckoning, really recall all the teddies and candles at Diana's funeral? Would her peers really be called Gerard or Monica? And surely her mother couldn't have been a 'debutante' - the last one was presented in 1958? Sometimes Piper seems much, much older than fifteen and it jars a bit. I can hear the man with a lot more life behind him coming out in her voice!
A minor issue though, and a really cracking read. I will now go and read all his other books pronto.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 January 2013
This is the first book I've read by Australian crime writer Michael Robotham. I found it very hard to put down - as evidenced by the fact that I read it in two sittings. The main character, Joe O'Loughlin, is a clinical psychologist who assists the police with criminal profiles. He has featured in several of Robotham's previous books, the events of some of which are referred to over the course of this book, but I did not find it a problem to have not read the others previously (nor feel that they are now spoiled for me).

O'Loughlin is asked to consult on a the mental stability of a suspect who has been arrested after the murder of a husband and wife in a remote farmhouse. He begins to suspect that there may be a connection between this case and the disappearance of two teenage girls from the area three years previously. At the same time, one of the missing girls is narrating her story from captivity. It's not the most original plot formula in the world, but it's very well told and holds your attention from the first page through to the last. I enjoyed it very much and will definitely be tracking down other books by this author.
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on 7 September 2015
5 stars
Well, what a treat this was! Michael Robotham has lived in some of the same places I’ve lived, and they say familiarity breeds contempt, so I admit I was foolishly expecting something less impressive.

My first hint of his popularity should have been that his books are never on the library shelves. This one was a lucky find. I reckon he’s up there with the best of them.

It is about two teen-aged girls, one the town flirt, the other a bookish athlete, who disappeared three years ago. We know from page one that they were kidnapped.

Who dunnit and why?

Professor Joe O’Loughlin is a clinical psychologist who’s been pulled back into harness to give his impression of a suspect with a history of mental illness who’s been implicated in a recent double murder.

Reference is made to a previous book in which O’Loughlin’s daughter Charlie was kidnapped, which is why he’s reluctant to give up his Christmas holiday time with her to waste on police business yet again. World-weary, he says:

“I used to want to know why things happened. Why would a couple murder young women and bury them in their basement . . . Not any more. I don’t want to be able to see inside people’s heads. It’s like knowing too much. It’s like living to long or witnessing too many events; experiencing things to the point of fatigue.”

Robotham puts us right smack in the middle of an uncomfortable, freezing English winter. He’s an excellent writer, and I liked his heartfelt descriptions of Joe’s frailties and insecurities (Parkinson’s and marriage bust-up) and chilling portrayal of the girls’ situation, much of which is described by Piper (the bookish writer) in her copious diaries and notes.

“Ever since George made her bleed, Tash had been acting differently. I don’t know if she tried to stab him with the screwdriver. She wouldn’t talk to me. Instead, she scratched at her wrists, biting her nails, sleeping all the time …I tried to talk to her…to make her eat, but she didn’t even have the energy to argue with me.

‘You’re scaring me, ‘ I said, rocking her in my arms. ‘Please come back.”

‘We’re going to die,’ she whispered.’

I knew she was right. It was like a message from God. A pretty disappointing message, but I didn’t blame him. That’s what everything comes down to – dying. Well, not literally everything, but most things.”

Piper sounds like a teenage girl –brazen, scared, naïve, and puzzled – while O’Loughlin sounds like an exhausted older bloke. Testimony to the skill of the author. Gotta look for more of his books now.
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First Sentence: My name is Piper Hadley and I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago.

Two girls went missing. After three years, the body of one of the girls is found, frozen and mutilated. Is the other girl still alive? A family has been murdered in a farm house and the house torched. A young man is accused, but psychologist Joe O’Loughlin believes he is innocent and that the murder and the girls are connected.

The book starts off very well with a compelling opening of the situation from the perspective of a 15-year-old girl. Robotham captures the voices and personalities of his characters. He does have a compelling voice filled with wry humor and pragmatism.

Joe is an interesting character; very human with his own shortcomings and insecurities. Robotham does a good job of bringing readers, new and old, up to date on Joe’s life.

The story is about two cases; one which began in the past, one in the present. The threads are joined together very well and with a good building of suspense.

Where the story falls down is in its predictability. Because of its structure, you can guess the outcome, although not the villain, very early on.

“Say You’re Sorry” is not Robotham’s best work, which is sad. He is a very good writer who has written some wonderful books. Unfortunately, this is not one of them.

SAY YOU’RE SORRY (Lic Invest/Psychologist-Joe O’Loughlin-England-Contemp) – Okay
Robotham, Michael - 6th in series
Mulholland Books (LB&Co), 2012
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Not Sorry about Reading this!
Michael Robotham has written another brilliant psychological crime thriller with Say You're Sorry. This is a fast past thriller that literally keeps you guessing all the way to the end of the book for the reveal as to who the perpetrator is but unlike other books we are not given a hint as to who is and by then it is too later and everything is literally against the clock to rescue and save the victim before she dies. To solve a double murder case the police need to solve an old case of two missing teenage girls to enable them to find their murderer.

Professor Joe O'Loughlin is a Clinical Psychologist who splits his time between the NHS and the Crown Prosecution Service assessing those accused or found guilty of crimes. He differs in that he suffers from Parkinson's and it is in the main controlled by prescribed medication. One weekend before Christmas he is Oxford with his daughter, he is there to deliver a lecturer at a conference while his daughter will go shopping. As he waits to check out of the hotel the police come and ask him to review a suspect accused of a double homicide that has mental health problems.

From here he is drawn in to the murder case and then a cold case of two missing teenager girls who have been not been seen in three years. Somehow and from somewhere one of the girls turns up dead, frozen to death and only recently. The Police need Joe, who helps guide them in their investigation and search, especially as he has been asked to review the original missing persons' case. Joe realised that this is now a race against time to find the other girl, whether she be alive or dead. The suspects come and go but there is no clear perpetrator the clues are there and it is Joe who eventually reveals the who it is, whether he saves the girl you will have to read for yourself!

This is a brilliant psychological thriller that sees the police trying to use all techniques to find their perpetrator and Robotham does not make it easy for the reader to see who is the guilty man. This is an exciting read that in parts is heart-breaking and you wonder if there is any hope left for the victim.
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on 21 September 2013
The cover of my edition of "Say You're Sorry" asks,"Have You Discovered Robotham Yet?".A good question as too often the response to my enthusing about his talents to friends has been,"Who?".Like Graham Hurley, Michael Robotham has for too long written excellent book after excellent book somewhat in the shadow of authors like Ian Rankin,Val McDermid and a whole plethora of better known authors while at least matching the quality of their output.
Previous reviewers have given an idea of the plot so I'll spare you the repetition.As with Robotham's previous books,all of which I'd recommend,"Say You're Sorry" is well-written and well-plotted tale with his usual excellent characterization.Other authors can ramble on without you ever really "knowing" their characters,Robotham's come to life and even those who appear on the edges of the story are often complex characters and cleverly make readers wonder if they play a bigger part in the story further on.
My only criticisms aren't Robotham's fault.I seem to have read a lot of "women captured and held against their will" stories in recent crime fiction and did have a slight sense of ,"here we go again".Also I guessed the "Perp" quite early on,won't say any more than that so as not to spoil anyone else's enjoyment.Having said that I probably spend far too much time reading crime novels,bordering on "Get A Life" and there are only so many plotlines "out there". At least with this book you can work out whodunnit if you pick up on a few clues without feeling the need to almost scream at the fictional Cops ,"Are you totally dense?"as is the case with Camilla Lackberg and a few others.
An excellent read as ever from Michael Robotham,it seems the word is out and he's now receiving the attention and praise that his books fully deserve.
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