Here comes another Australian writer, who has made it to nr.1 on an American best seller list, put together by no other than Stephen King, and Robotham proudly presents this fact on his website, among other stunning details about his reading tour in northern Germany.
His critics are full of praise about this debut thriller, and I would have been so, too, before reading the rather overcooked showdown at the end.
Robotham introduces a very likeable, very humane protagonist, the 40ish Joe O`Loughlin, a very successful London psychologist, who is married to beautiful Julianne, has a sweet daughter, so everything in his life is just fine. Then he is diagnosed with Parkinson´s disease. He is thrown off balance and instead of going home to his wife he spends the night with a friend and former prostitute.
When the body of a Catherine McBride is found in a canal, detective Ruiz first asks Joe´s professional advice, then he becomes the prime suspect, because Ruiz finds out, that Catherine not only once was Joe´s patient, but phoned him the night she died. Joe is drawn deeper and deeper into the affair; another patient of his, young Bobby Moran, signals, that he knows more about Catherine´s death than he wants to confess to his therapist.
Julianne throws Joe out of the house, when she finds out he had been with a prostitute, his best friend Shock betrays him, and he has to hide from the police.
Although he struggles with his deteriorating health, he bravely sets out to find the real killer, which leads him to Liverpool and to a very dramatic, very thickly laid on finale. Simon Beckett has shown how to overdo exactly that, and I feel a bit sorry Robotham couldn´t just rely on his very convincing hero to find a convincing solution.