Author: Michael Robotham
Published by: Mulholland Books
Joe has just finished lecturing his first class of the semester when a group of policemen take him to a bridge where a woman is threatening to jump. A professional psychologist, Joe tries to talk her down from the ledge but she won't listen to him. She is talking to someone on a cell phone. When she jumps, Joe is devastated but doesn't think anything more about it. Until the woman's daughter finds him and tells him that her mother would never have committed suicide. The closer Joe looks at the situation, the more questions pop up. When he's finally able to convince local law enforcement that the suicide might have been something more sinister, they race to find the sadistic killer.
I started reading this book in the restroom at a get-together when I went to hide from all the commotion for a few minutes. (Hello, my name is Introvert.) I was hooked from the first few pages.
Robotham does an incredible job with his characters. Some of the chapters are split between Joe's point of view and the psychopath himself. It is the killer's chapters that are truly terrifying as he describes gruesome scenes and acts that he has performed with causal words and a lack of emotion. Joe's chapters are filled with trouble between his wife and his daughter, the jumper's daughter, and his Parkinson's disease.
The book does a good job of moving forward. I was never bored. Even in the beginning there are other subplots that add to the entire feel of the novel. Relationship problems and things like finding a nanny for the children keep the novel pushing forward and add a level of authenticity to the feel of Joe and his life. He is not a police officer, he has Parkinson's, he should not be running around after murderers. But he is a psychologist and his need to understand the killer and his empathy for the victims gives him no other option. He cannot just run away and call for help; if he can provide help then he must.
While reading this book alone, I actually had to put it down and step away for a minute to get my bearings back. Robotham makes a truly terrifying killer character. He is intelligent, trained, and dedicated. It is the real things in life that scare me (fire, murder, rape) and Robotham gives his killer power by knowing that most people feel the same way. The killer preys on the weaknesses of his victims and he's very good at knowing what they are. His ability to get inside the head of his victims and turn them from composed people to humans begging for their lives gives him pride and a sick sense of satisfaction.
This book will keep you up at night, wanting to figure out who the killer is and what is going to become of him. With its twists and turns you'll be able to read this one in a few sittings with a racing heart.
I give it 5 out of 5 cateyes.