So once upon a work day, there was a book club that started and despite the ridiculous number of things I try to jam into my days, I decided that I just had to be a part of it as well. Not only was it incentive to steadily nudge myself in the direction of more fiction (not that my gluttonous reading appetites really need much of an excuse there), but it was a way of nerding out with some of the people I work with in a way that they could relate to…over books and not collectible card games where you try to bludgeon your opponent with magical creatures and shenanigans. Books are just much more universal.
Anyway, back to the book club that wasn’t. It’s almost appropriate to say that my workplace is something of a zoo, and given the crazy schedules, it was difficult for people to actually attend, then of course there’s the general apathy that comes about in those situations. Even so, we did manage to get a few meetings in, and what kept me interested in it were the books that were being chosen.
This was the first one our group decided to read.
I was skeptical, since I discovered in my research that this was part of a series and we were jumping in at book four, but honestly, it’s so well written that it does well as a standalone. I didn’t encounter any references that left me hanging, but was able to fully enjoy a compelling story.
I’m a fan of the underdog-as-hero, and prefer the average Joe triumphing over the big bad, especially when it’s against the odds, so I was relieved that the protagonist here wasn’t a cop, or some variation of para-military group (honestly, when the story starts that way, it’s all I can do to stay interested). Instead, Joe O’Loughlin is a clinical psychologist and professor and he starts figuring out how a hands-off murderer infiltrates and breaks the minds and wills of women, driving them to their deaths. Naturally, being a layman, he does have the help, often in the insistent and instigative variety, from law enforcement, but even those relationships felt genuine and authentically restricted with realistic boundaries.
I listened to this one as an audiobook, and I can admit that the story was a dangerous one. On more than one occasion, I was listening and driving and got so wrapped up in what was happening that I missed my exit, my autopilot brain took me in the wrong direction (towards work instead of to the store one afternoon), and by the end of it, I wanted more. Robotham did a great job creating an insidious villain that was not only believable, but scared the bejesus out of me. Even though I don’t have kids, I can imagine how his villain would work on the vulnerability, picking at it like a lock until he’d gained unrestrained access to manipulate a person, particularly a mother.
This was a great thriller and one that even though I know how it turns out, I will probably revisit again, simply for the thrill of following the mounting tension. I don’t think I’ll listen to it in the car again, though…unless it’s a long one and I’ll have no chance of missing my exit.
Medium: Audiobook from Audible.com
Other: Available in various formats from Amazon.com
Overall rating: 4 stars
Potential re-read: Yes. It was a great thriller and I kept finding myself prolonging my listening time by wandering aimlessly in the grocery store, doing laundry, and other “mindless” tasks just to hear what was going to happen next.
Dead-tree worthy?: Absolutely – or at the very least an e-reader version. I think this would actually be *better* as a dead tree version simply because it would ruthlessly demand your attention and make the time spent absorbed in the reading well worth it.