Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham
Series: #5 or #6 in the Joe O’Loughlin series (depending on which list you’re looking at)
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 2012
Source: copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley
The Short Version:
A brutal murder leads to clues to that reopen a three year old case of two missing teenage girls.
Why I Read It:
The book description sounded interesting and I’d heard good things about the author from folks I trust.
Three years ago Piper Hadley and Natasha McBain went missing. The two teenagers were never found and were presumed to have run away.
Today a couple is found brutally murdered in their farmhouse and a young woman’s body is found in a frozen lake. The man the police suspect of the murder of the couple is mentally disabled and the police bring in psychologist Joe O’Loughlin to evaluate him.
Before long a connection to the case of the missing teenagers leads the police to reopen the investigation into their disappearance. Joe is reluctantly brought in to assist with the investigation. While one side of the story follows the police investigation into an increasingly disturbing crime, Piper Hadley’s story is interspersed. The two sides of the mystery spiral together in an ever tightening loop that slowly builds and then keeps you on edge until the end.
I almost never read a series out of order but I the past few years I’ve become better about letting that compulsion go. In this case I’m glad I went ahead and read this book because it’s so darn good. I fully intend to go back and read the earlier books in the series. Even though I know some of what happens in them from events referred to in this book, Robotham’s writing and storytelling are excellent.
Joe O’Loughlin is one of those troubled but you can’t help but hope for the best for him kind of protagonists. His marriage is in limbo. He’s separated from his wife and has a teenaged daughter with whom he’s trying to have a good relationship. He’s got major health issues and really doesn’t want to get wrapped up in a police investigation.
Once he does though, he’s in all the way. He becomes the one challenging the police assumptions and pushing them to find out what really happened three years ago. He’s Piper’s best chance and I desperately wanted him to succeed. The story gradually built up the background and then plunged into a high tension race with the clock in the final third.
Robotham’s story has some very disturbing elements to it and it’s not a book I’d recommend to folks who like their mysteries on the light side. It’s smartly written and kept me developing and dismissing theories until nearly the end.