Monday, October 22, 2012
When pretty and popular teenagers Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappear one Sunday morning, the investigation captivates a nation but the girls are never found.
Three years later, during the worst blizzard in a century, a husband and wife are brutally killed in the farmhouse where Tash McBain once lived. A suspect is in custody, a troubled young man who can hear voices and claims that he saw a girl that night being chased by a snowman.
Convinced that Piper or Tash might still be alive, clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, persuade the police to re-open the investigation. But they are racing against time to save the girls from someone with an evil, calculating and twisted mind... -- Mulholland
Many years ago (way before I even knew what a blog was), I read a fantastic psychological suspense book by Michael Robotham called SUSPECT. It introduced the character of Joe O'Loughlin, a psychologist who has to save his family from a mad man; and I absolutely adored it. I swore to myself that I would read every book that Mr. Robotham wrote, but somehow, my best intentions never came to be. So when I saw that the author had a new book in the Joe O'Loughlin series, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, and that it was getting great reviews, I decided it was high time to revisit this series.
It was apparent within the first few pages why I enjoyed SUSPECT so much and why I'm so mad at myself for not continuing with this series over the past few years. This psychological thriller is outstanding -- from the characters, to the mystery, to the chase; and I absolutely adored it. It's now obvious to me that I have to go back and read the earlier books because these novels are exactly the types of stories that I love.
SAY YOU'RE SORRY begins with the first person account of Piper Hadley, a teen girl who went missing along with her best friend Tash, about three years ago. Despite being generating a lot of interest by the press, the police were unable to find the girls and eventually gave up.
The story then moves to the present day and Joe O'Loughlin takes over being the narrator. A young couple are found brutally murdered in Tash's old house, and the suspect is a man with mental problems. The only information he can provide is that he saw a girl being chased in a blizzard by a snowman. Needless to say, the authorities don't believe him and just want to close the case.
When Joe is called in by the police to talk to this troubled young man, he believes that he is innocent and that Piper and/or Tash might still be alive. He gets the assistance of his friend and retired cop Vincent Ruiz, and they convince the police to reopen the case. As the men gather more clues into the girls' disappearances, they begin to realize that they are dealing with a very sick individual -- one who won't hesitate to hurt anyone who gets in his way.
If you are a frequent follower of my blog, then you already know that I love mysteries. That's why I started Mystery Mondays in the first place. But psychological thrillers rate at the top of my list within the mystery genre. SAY YOU'RE SORRY is the perfect example of an outstanding psychological mystery. It has a complex protagonist in Joe, a very twisted killer (that can give you the heebie geebies), loads of suspense, and even some shocking twists. Plus I think the author is an extremely talented storyteller.
First of all, I love Joe O'Loughlin. I did in SUSPECT and I still did in SAY YOU'RE SORRY despite some pretty big changes for his character. (The author does a wonderful job of filling in the details without giving away too much from the prior books.) Joe is a clinical psychologist who occasionally helps the police solve crimes. He is also estranged from his wife and just happens to suffer from Parkinson's Disease. He is an extremely complex character, both personally and professionally; and I love his insight and the way he can "read" characters.
Another wonderful thing about SAY YOU'RE SORRY is the mystery itself. I thought the author presented the story in a way that worked really well -- there were chapters written from the victim Piper's view as well as chapters written giving Joe's insight into the crime, and getting both perspectives really helped add to the creepiness of the crime. In addition, I loved that I was fooled by who was responsible for the kidnappings and murders. I honestly had no clue until Joe started giving away his thoughts near the end of the story. It's always so much fun to be surprised when you read book like this!
Finally, I can't even begin to express how talented I think Michael Robotham is. I realize this review sounds like a love fest, but this novel is so entertaining. And it's not just the mystery that I found so intriguing. I also loved the complicated relationships between the characters and how they interacted with each other. Mr. Robotham has an uncanny ability to write dialogue and prose that just seems so authentic. In addition, he weaves a story that is complex on so many levels and is constantly making the reader think. He is seriously good!
Needless to say, I highly recommend SAY YOU'RE SORRY to fans of psychological thrillers. I enjoyed it so much that I'm almost desperate to go back and start the series from the beginning!
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.
Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.