- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 13 hours and 52 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 7 Aug. 2014
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00LU1D5PU
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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Life or Death Audiobook – Unabridged
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We don't know at the start whether or not Audie is guilty of the crime for which he has served one day less than the ten years he was given when he escapes. But we really don't want him to be guilty. I certainly found it intriguing that someone would escape from prison the day before release, so kept on reading long into the night to find out why he would do that.
A couple of strange plot devices kept this from being an all out 5* thriller. Audie's prison mate, Moss, has a bit of a personality change, twice. I also thought Audie made a couple of choices that were a tad strange if he was trying to keep hidden from the authorities. But I liked him immensely and this has made me order the first in the Joe O'Loughlin series.
I've been enjoying working my way through Michael Robotham's Joe O'Loughlin series recently, so grabbed the opportunity to read this new standalone novel. From the moment Audie escapes right at the beginning, the plot begins to twist and turn. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that the reader is very much on Audie's side - we're not sure why he ended up in jail, but we're soon convinced that he's an honourable man and his intentions must be good. As we follow him on his present-day mission, we gradually find out about his past - the brother whose drug abuse and criminality brought Audie under suspicion more than once, the crime lord he ended up working for, the girl he fell in love with. And it gradually becomes clear that these past events are in some way connected to the present.
The book is told mostly in the present tense but in the third person and, although Audie's is the main viewpoint, we also see through the eyes of Desiree, one of the FBI agents on the case, and Moss, a former prison-mate of Audie's. Desiree has had the original robbery on her books as a cold case, but when Audie escapes her boss takes over the investigation and seems to want to keep Desiree out. But the diminutive Desiree is stubborn and she's determined to be in on it, especially since she's not sure things are quite what they seem on the surface. Moss is a great character - inside for life on the three strikes rule, he suddenly finds himself freed on condition that he hunts Audie down. But will Moss put his chance of freedom above his friendship for Audie? Even he doesn't seem too sure...
As always with Robotham, the characterisation is very strong. Audie himself might be just a shade too perfect to be fully credible, but that's more than compensated for by the characters of Moss and Desiree, both of whom come over as wholly believable and likeable. It takes a while for us to suspect who the baddies are but, when we do, boy, are they bad! And if Audie wants to keep the promise that he made ten years earlier, he has to be running towards the baddies rather than away...
This is a fast-paced rollercoaster of a thriller that reminded me of Harlan Coben at his best (and also just a bit of the Shawshank Redemption). Definitely movie material - has it been snapped up yet, I wonder? Loads of action, strong characters, great writing, a twisty plot and an explosive ending - this is the thriller of the year for me so far. Highly recommended, either for existing fans of the O'Loughlin series or as a great way for new readers to sample Robotham's work.
NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Little, Brown Book Group UK.