My Rating: 5 Stars
My favorite Australian author, Michael Robotham
returns following his sensational (2015) standalone, Life or Death,
landing on my Top 10 Books of 2015,
with CLOSE YOUR EYES (Joseph O'Loughlin #8). A complex case,
a former student, his side kick detective, brutal murders, a killer threatening and stalking his own family, possible love rekindled, plus more tragedy in store for our favorite psychologist, Joe and (Mr. Parkinson). His most emotional yet! First,
Robotham has the best dry humor, witty and sarcastic “down and dirty” one-liners, ever! "As smooth as silk" combining wit, family, drama, love, romance, domestic suspense, crime, detective, and psychological thriller in one page-turner. The King of “psychology, crime, and human dynamics." Second,
I always pre-order the audio, narrator Sean Barrett
“IS” Joe O’Loughlin. The perfect voice for Joe. I have come to imagine him as the character. (Robotham, O’Loughin, and Barrett)
what a collaboration! (Similar to US Connelly, Bosch, Welliver).
If you are not familiar with the series: Joseph O’Loughlin
is a kindhearted psychologist with a flawed family life and a sense of dry humor as he struggles with “Mr. Parkinson” (early onset). O’Loughlin works beside Vincent Ruiz, a hard-drinking tough talking homicide detective. Lost (#2) and The Wreckage (#5) featuring Ruiz and O’Loughlin playing a minor role in each. The series is set in London, England. Joe is getting close to retirement,
while continuing to struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, taking a toll on his physical and mental state. He is delighted
his ex-wife (Julianne) has invited him to move back into the house to spend the summer with her, Charlie, and Emma (his girls), before Charlie heads off for University. Julianne is having some upcoming surgery and he is helping out with girls. He has hopes they can work on their relationship—he would love nothing more than a reconciliation. Disrupting his family time,
he is called on a case. A brutal murder of a beautiful woman and college aged, daughter in a farmhouse near Bristol. Elizabeth (mother) was stabbed brutally, multiple times. The investigation
leads into a sexual fetish of having sex in public. The detective wants to solve and close the case. As usual, the cops have no leads. Joe comes out of retirement to offer a psychologist viewpoint with retired side kick, detective Vincent Ruiz. Fans will enjoy catching up with the duo. More attacks and other murders, which may or may not be connected. A twist with a former student of Joe's, leaking information to the press. Lots of juicy scandal.We hear from
the evil twisted killer mixed in with some poignant personal drama with Joe. As he gets closer to the truth and the identity of the killer, Charlie becomes involved and other personal tragedies take front and center. Poor Joe. In a race against time, Joe is frantic, and fears for his girl--he has to get to them before the killer. Intense, fast-action, suspense! In the past, this has proved tragic and Joe has to ensure his family is safe. Expertly plotted,
gripping and unpredictable! Readers revisit some nostalgic emotional moments and scenes, from earlier times with the couple and family, before their marriage fell apart, and Mr. Parkinson came into their lives. Quite memorable—the love is still there to the present day, as they face together some pending health issues. He wants to be a good father and husband. He wants a second chance. Is it too late?Charlie,
Joe’s daughter (witty and strong), wants to become a forensic psychologist, with a strong desire to interject herself in Joe’s case (plus she is highly skilled). Joe's attempts to divert her; however, unsuccessful. She is independent and strong-willed.
I enjoy Robotham’s writing
(a long-time fan), his expertise of blending the darkness and light, the strong and weak.Michael Robotham, Michael Connelly (US), and Karin Slaughter (US)
these three authors excel in this area: interweaving the two sides of the coin.
The author skillfully infuses crime and psychological subjects with the personal lives of his protagonists, creating a wide range of emotions from vulnerable to strong. His characters are human, flawed, relatable---in contrast to the rough exteriors and horrific crimes they face daily in their careers. Somewhat of a cliffhanger.
Readers will be anxiously, awaiting the next installment. Hoping we are going to continue to see more father/daughter action, and possibly the series working into more Charlie, with dad becoming more of consultant. (the way we have seen other popular series of this nature.) Joe has evolved in his character, and coming full circle. He has a lot of life yet, so hoping we will see many more series to follow. The duo
strongly reminds me of Michael Connelly’s father/daughter character: Bosch series: (Harry Bosh-LAPD detective, daughter-Maddie, and ex-wife Eleanor). More than you know, after you finish reading this installment. Robotham’s Joe O'Loughlin’s Charlie, has informed her father she is going into the field of forensics psychology. Similarly, Connelly’s Maddie, wants to be involved in forensics and detective work. Both highly intuitive young women.
Fans will be pleased with CLOSE YOUR EYES.
With strong interweaving storylines, a book within a book. I recently read an online interview with the author, and he mentions while writing he has three words pinned next to his writing space: “Make Them Care.” He credits his own personal relationships with his daughter. This makes his work truly genuine-- you do care about the characters—you become invested in them—and why we keep coming back for more!
If you read Life or Death,
sure it has to be difficult as an author to switch gears and go back to a series after such a powerful standalone. Never fear fans; a different book, powerful, moving--each unique. Fans, some major happenings here, so do not miss #8! We can only hope
in the US we will get a Michael Robotham Amazon Prime Series or TV series, based on Joseph O'Loughlin. Small or Big screen—just give us something. Can you image the cast? Definite binge-watch. I am keeping my fingers crossed.
BTW: I particularly liked the “going out for ice cream” analogy, instead of eating what’s in your own freezer. Those nasty cheating husbands . . .