THE SUSPECT is Michael Robotham’s first novel but has the feel of a novel from a much more experienced author. This is probably due to Robotham’s experience as a journalist and Ghost Writer.
Joseph O’Louglin is a psychologist. He has a beautiful, intelligent and feisty wife – Julianne and an eight year old daughter – Charlie. Life is perfect until Joe is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Typically for a psychologist, he tries to deny existence of the diseases.
Part of Joe’s work has been with local prostitutes, so when an unidentified body of a woman is found, Joe is called in by Detective Ruiz to help in the identification. Joe does recognise the woman, but not as a prostitute. She is an ex-patient of Joe’s who once accused him of sexual misconduct.
But, because Joe delayed is telling Ruiz about the identity and failed to mention the misconduct accusation, he becomes a suspect in the murder.
Another patient of Joe’s – Bobby, tells a story that leads Joe to suspect him of the murder. But, Ruiz doesn’t believe Joe. Much of what Joe tells Ruiz is disproved, Joe’s alibi falls apart, he begins to have problems with his wife and the more he tries to prove his innocence, the guiltier he begins to look. As more killings are discovered, the more Ruiz seems to want to find Joe guilty.
This novel really swept me along with the story and I ended up reading late into the night (morning) because I just couldn’t put it down. It was never clear if Joe would manage to escape the web in which he had become trapped.
I didn’t really like Joe much as a person. There were a few things that ruined my respect for him. Ruiz came across as a complete ogre and I felt he should return to the 1980s where he belonged.
Many of the characters – including Joe and Ruiz, appear again in later books, so I’m looking forward to reading more. The next book on my list is – LOST/ THE DROWNING MAN.
Book Published 2004