A Bookish Observation
My GoodReads’ Star Rating: 3 stars out of 5, which means I liked it!
“The Suspect” by Michael Robotham is the first in his Joe O’Loughlin Series. It’s a thriller; a real page turner.
My journey to this book was bit convoluted like so many of my journeys to books. This series was brought to my attention by a good friend with whom I often swap bookish observations. My friend knows I’m not too keen on edgy, graphic, psychological thrillers, but she thought I may enjoy the series, so she recommended I give “The Suspect” a try.
Let me say, I abandon books easily, so I have no difficulty picking up a book and giving it a try, and then, without guilt, I can put it down again without a qualm.
I started reading “The Suspect”, and thought, after five or six pages, I’ve read this before, so the search began; I went through my internet Amazon eBook Library list, my internet GoodReads list, and my internet Audiobook library. I cast an eye over my books on our bookshelves in our reading room. I couldn’t find it anywhere, and then I realised I must have read the sample some years ago.
After I figured out that I had read only the first few chapters, I relaxed, and was comfortable to settle down and continue reading. (I hate the idea of accidentally re-reading a book. I don’t mind if it is an actual plan, as long as it is not a dreaded accident, LOL.)
Michael Robotham is an Australian author; I’ve seen him interviewed several times at the Sydney Writers’ Festival. He has an Impressive presence, and communicates his interesting points of view very well. With these character traits in mind, I was keen to read one of his books. I had tried some years ago, however it was, “Bombproof”, and the story was too edgy for me, so I shelved it. And it wasn’t until my friend encouraged me to try Mr Robotham’s Joe O’Loughlin Series, that I tried again; I wasn’t disappointed. My friend said that she too had read one of his stand-alone books, and found it too edgy, but she told me that when she read “The Suspect” she was hooked on the series and found the tone and pace was a little more to her taste; she has read through most of the series.
Thrillers … I tell people: I don’t read them. I prefer slow paced mysteries I say, but that’s not quite true. So let’s talk about thrillers on a scale of one to ten: one being the less edgy, and ten being the most graphically violent edgy story. On a scale of one to ten, I’d place “The Suspect”, at about a three, and I’d place “Bombproof” (the book that I’ve shelved) at about a six. And that’s the difference. “The Suspect” is certainly a thriller, but for me it’s on the right side of the scale, that is, less than a five.
I read “The Suspect” straight through over two days. It is a real page turner, I like the main character Joe O’Loughlin, and I thought Detective Ruiz was brilliant; the writing style was excellent. The question that hangs in the air, is, will I read through the whole series. I often read complete series, I read Deborah Crombe’s Kincaid and James Mystery Series, all sixteen books, straight through, without a break. At this stage I’m not sure if I want to do the same thing with the Joe O’Loughlin series, because the frantic desire to know what-happened-next drove me to read at my topmost speed. I nearly ran through the book. No time to ”smell the roses”. I could hardly stop myself reading the last chapter, to make sure the characters were going to be OK, but I was disciplined, and read through the story, like one should, in the normal page sequence. It was a really good read.
So will I read the whole series? Probably not, its pace is too fast for me, I enjoy a calmer experience; a slower read. That said, I would recommend “The Suspect” to anyone who was looking for a good, well written, page turner. And I may, every now and then, when I’m in the mood, pick up another book in the series. I had a peak at a sample of “Lost”, book two of the series; the beginning is very intriguing.
A little about the author
Michael Robotham is an Australian, internationally published, crime fiction writer. He was born in Casino, New South Wales, and went to school in Gundagai and Coffs Harbour. In February 1979 he began a journalism cadetship on the Sydney afternoon newspaper The Sun and later worked for The Sydney Morning Herald as a court reporter and police roundsman.
In 1986, he went to London, where he worked as a reporter and sub-editor for various UK national newspapers before becoming a staff feature writer on The Mail on Sunday in 1989. As a feature writer, Michael was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Tsar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled. The archives also revealed secrets about Rasputin and the nuclear accident at Chernobyl.
Robotham rose to become deputy features editor of The Mail on Sunday before resigning in May 1993 and accepting freelancing contracts with a number of British newspapers and magazines. In November 1993 he accepted his first ghostwriting commission, helping Nottingham social worker Margaret Humphreys to pen her autobiography, Empty Cradles. Published in 1994, it told the story of how she uncovered the truth behind Britain’s Child Migrant Program, which saw more than 100,000 children sent abroad between 1850 and 1967, and established the Child Migrant Trust to reunite children with their families. In 2011 Empty Cradles became the basis of the film Oranges and Sunshine directed by Jim Loach and starring Emily Watson as Margaret Humphreys and Hugo Weaving and David Wenham as two of the child migrants.
Michael Robotham went on to collaborate on fifteen “autobiographies” for people in the arts, politics, the military and sport. Twelve of these titles became Sunday Times bestsellers and sold more than 2 million copies. These books included the autobiographies of Spice Girl Geri Halliwell, British comedy actor Ricky Tomlinson and sixties musical legend Lulu.
In 1996 Robotham returned to Australia with his family and continued writing full-time. In 2002, a partial manuscript of his first novel, The Suspect, became the subject of a bidding war at the London Book Fair. It was later translated into 24 languages and sold over a million copies around the world. His books have since won, or been shortlisted for, numerous awards including the UK Gold Dagger and US Edgar Award
Five of his ‘Joe O’Loughlin novels’ have been turned into TV movies in Germany (situated in Hamburg), and an English-language TV series is in development. His stand-alone novels Life or Death and The Secret She Keeps have also been optioned for film and TV projects in the US and UK.
A little about the audio narrator
Crispin Redman is a British Actor.
The Suspect (2004)
Lost (2005) (aka The Drowning Man)