12 March 2008

Favourite Authors - #6 Michael Robotham

As well as being a really nice person, Michael Robotham is a great writer, and he's Australian!

4 novels to his credit:
  • THE NIGHT FERRY - 2007
  • and recently SHATTER - already out in the UK
I've only got two mini-reviews in my current database but I hope they encourage you to look for all the titles.
Do yourself a favour and read them in order. There are connections between them :-)

Michael has two nearly identical websites
His Australian one: http://www.michaelrobotham.com/aus/index.htm
His British one: http://www.michaelrobotham.com/uk/index.htm

Lots to read on them, a mailing list to join, newsletter to read, and some FAQs to read.

DI Vincent Ruiz is near retirement age and is known in the force as a bit of a loose cannon. He is head of London's Serious Crimes Group. He has a fixation on a missing child case theoretically solved three years earlier. Although a body was never found, someone has been convicted of Mickey's murder. Ruiz is convinced they got it wrong, that the child is still alive. Ruiz is fished out of the Thames, more dead than alive, a dreadful bullet wound in his leg, the top joint of one of his fingers missing, and amnesia. He has no idea what happened. In a sense this is a sequel to Robotham's first novel SUSPECT, with the same two main characters, Ruiz and psychologist Joe O'Loughlin. Whereas SUSPECT focussed on O'Loughlin's predicament, LOST focusses on Ruiz. LOST won the 2005 Ned Kelly Award for best mystery by an Australian author.

My rating: 4.8

This is a fascinating book even if you only look at it from the point of view of how it fits in with Robotham's other 2 books. His first was THE SUSPECT where the central character was psychologist Joseph O'Loughlin. In a sense the second book, LOST (also published as THE DROWNING MAN) was a sequel to SUSPECT, with the same two main characters, Vincent Ruiz and psychologist Joe O'Loughlin. Whereas SUSPECT focussed on O'Loughlin's predicament, LOST focusses on Ruiz. Now in THE NIGHT FERRY DC Ali Barba, a minor character in LOST emerges in her own right, with assistance and mentoring from the now retired DI Vincent Ruiz. Detective Constable Alisha Barba is still on medical leave, nearly completely recovered after a murder suspect broke her back across a brick wall a year earlier (in LOST). There is is to be a re-union of classmates at Ali's old school and she receives a note from former classmate and best friend Cate from whom she has been estranged for 8 years. Cate says she is in trouble and asks Ali to come to the reunion. When they meet briefly Alisha sees immediately that Cate is pregnant and Cate talks of people who are trying to take her baby. After the reunion Cate and her husband are knocked down by a taxi. The husband Felix is killed and Cate is critically injured. Subsequent medical examination reveals that Cate was never pregnant. From this tantalising beginning, Robotham builds a cleverly crafted story, and the character of Ali Barba grows and grows. We explore the consequences of a police force that moves too slowly, a justice system that refuses to charge criminals because it is not 'in the public interest', and the greed of those who see children as a saleable commodity. And has Robotham left the door open for another? The last line holds hope. 'The end of one story is merely the beginning of the next'.

My rating: 5.0


charlottesometimes said...

If you enjoyed Michael Robotham's first 3 books (which I also did. Immensely), you definitely have to read 'Shatter'. The premise is psychologically disturbing - a man who learns just enough about a single mother and her daughter to call the mother and convince her that he's kidnapped her daughter. Then he "breaks" the mother's mind. Robotham is a master of plot for me. I first discovered him a couple of Melbourne Writers Festivals ago - I also saw him at the recent Crime and Justice Festival and will see him AGAIN in a few weeks at the MWF. He's a character - he used to be a ghost writer. Did you know he wrote Geri Halliwell's autobiography?

Kerrie said...

Ifo you look to the list of books that I've read this year Charlotte, you'll see that SHATTER is one of the best things I've read this year.

I've met him a few times now, and I am hoping he gets the Ned Kelly this year. Are you going to the Neds?
Our little group will be there - look for 6 noisy and raucous middle aged women with old grey hair who arrives about 8pm. Come over and introduce yourself


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