As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
New reviews are posted daily, but to search for earlier reviews please click on the Mystery People link below and select 'reviews' from the welcome page. This will display an alphabetic option for you to find the review you would like to read
For PREVIOUS REVIEWS- Click on MYSTERY PEOPLE below -
Sphere, 10 July 2018. ISBN: 978-0-7515-6281-1 (HB)
One of the perks, in fact I'd go as far as privileges, of book
reviewing is the opportunity to discover 'new' authors. The quote marks are
because sometimes they're not new at all; they've been around for years but
have somehow passed me by.
So, it is with Michael
Robotham. I knew the name, hadn't come across the books, and that was
definitely my loss, especially since in an author's note in The Other Wife
he hints strongly that this may be the last of an eight-book series. I really
hope it isn't; it would be a great waste of one of the most complex and
riveting character sets I've encountered in a long time.
Joe O'Loughlin is a clinical
psychologist, recently widowed so a single parent to a twelve-year-old and a
university student, and part of an extended family with so many secrets and
lies in its past (and its present, as it turns out) that the skeletons need a
whole suite of cupboards. He also has Parkinson's disease, which has a habit of
making itself felt at inconvenient moments.
At the start of The Other
Wife, Joe is called to his father's intensive care bedside. His father has
been attacked and left with catastrophic brain damage, unlikely ever to regain
full consciousness. He also bears signs of a previous beating, but the police
don't want to know. Joe isn't his first visitor; and a woman is sitting there
who claims to be his father's wife. His other wife. And that's only the
start. A couple of days later Joe arrives home to find his daughters being held
at knifepoint by a severely disturbed young man.
Layer upon layer of enigmas
and deceits are slowly peeled open, until Joe begins to wonder if his whole
life has been built on lies. And as he delves with only sporadic success into
his father's life, his own family keeps threatening to implode. His housekeeper
goes on extended leave, and his younger daughter is not dealing well with her
mother's death and the staff at her school aren't being helpful.
This is a novel full of
riches: a protagonist who made me ache for him, and plenty of other flawed
characters with depth and layers; settings which spring to life; a plot so
tangled and fertile that there's a new surprise on almost every page. It's one
of those books that you don't want to end, but it still makes you race to the
finish, desperate to know exactly what has been going on all those years.
My heart dropped into my
boots when I found that this could be the last in the series; but it lifted
again when I realized I could start at the beginning. If, unlike me, you've
already discovered Michael Robotham and Joe O'Loughlin, you'll snatch this book
off the shelves. If, like me, you haven't, I strongly urge you to go and look
for the whole series, as I shall.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Michael Robothamwas born 9 November 1960 in Casino, NSW, and went to
school in Gundagai and Coffs Harbour. In February 1979 he began a journalism
cadetship on The Sun, an afternoon newspaper in Sydney. In 1986, Michael went
to London where he worked as a reporter and sub-editor for various UK national
newspapers before becoming a staff feature writer on The Mail on Sunday in
1989. He rose to become deputy features editor before resigning in May 1993. He
went on to become a ghostwriter, collaborating on fifteen
"autobiographies" for people in the arts, politics, the military and
sport. Twelve of these titles became Sunday Times bestsellers. In 1996 he
returned to Australia with his family and continued writing full-time. In 2002,
a partial manuscript of his first novel The
Suspect, became the subject of a bidding war at the London Book Fair. It
was later translated into 22 languages and sold over a million copies around
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.