This is the thriller that might just turn you into a crime fiction convert! Maybe a little slow to start… but give it a chance and you will find yourself hooked on a story that is gripping and, eventually, fast moving.
Meet clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin who seems to have it all. Joe is 42 with a beautiful wife and a clever eight year old daughter, Charlie. However, all is not quite as perfect as it seems. We find out that Joe was recently diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease, and when the police ask for his help in solving the brutal murder of a young woman, his whole world seems to fall apart in spectacular fashion. It turns out that Joe knew the victim, a nurse called Catherine McBride, who was a former colleague and patient. When another patient of his, Bobby Moran, starts behaving in an odd manner Joe realises that there might be a connection between Bobby and the murder of Catherine.
On top of all this Julianne wants another baby and Joe is in a state of panic at what the future holds for his family because of his illness, knowing that he can’t even rely on his own body anymore. This leads to Joe keeping secrets from Julianne and Charlie in an effort to protect them, and because he does not want to burden them with issues surrounding his work and his worries about what the future holds for them.
Eventually Joe becomes the number one suspect in the murder investigation led by Detective Inspector Ruiz, one of the best written characters in the novel who is the stereotypical grumpy, tough cop (in fact, Ruiz becomes the main character in Robotham’s second book ‘Lost’) and who hounds Joe until the end. Joe ultimately risks everything to save his family and unmask the killer.
In an interview about the inspiration behind The Suspect, Robotham said:”Psychologists, social workers and judges often decide the fate of entire families. They play God with other people’s lives…but what if they get it wrong. This is the question at the heart of Suspect.”
The characters in The Suspect are credible, and the narrative provides plenty of twists and turns that throw you off the scent of uncovering the killer of the murdered girl. You might think that you know who the culprit is, but I guarantee you won’t, and the surprise ending will leave you speechless! There is a certain resemblance to The Fugitive – ‘It wasn’t me…’, although the ‘one-armed man’ bit isn’t relevant here! This spectacular debut by Australian novelist Michael Robotham is one not to miss. Look out for more from this author, and because the novel lends itself well to a Hollywood blockbuster – maybe even a film in the future?