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In Michael Robotham’s latest thriller, psychologist Joe O’Loughlin—the appealing hero of Suspect—tries to prevent a suicide and finds himself locked in a deadly duel with a very clever killer.

Joe O'Loughlin is on familiar territory—standing on a bridge high above a flooded gorge, trying to stop a distraught woman from jumping. She is naked, wearing only high-heel shoes, sobbing into a cell phone. Suddenly, she turns to him and whispers, “You don’t understand,” and lets go. Joe is shattered by the suicide and haunted by his failure to save the woman, until her teenage daughter finds him and reveals that her mother would never have committed suicide—not like that. She was terrified of heights. Compelled to investigate, Joe is soon obsessed with discovering who was on the other end of the phone. What could have driven her to commit such a desperate act? Whose voice? What evil?

Having devoted his career to repairing damaged minds, Joe must now confront an adversary who tears them apart: a man who searches for the cracks in a person’s psyche and claws his fingers inside, destroying what makes them whole.

With pitch-perfect dialogue, believable characters, and intriguingly unpredictable plot twists, Shatter is guaranteed to keep even the most avid thriller readers riveted long into the night.

Customer Reviews:

  • Scary plot, overly dramatized sleuth
    Robotham is a reliable purveyor of good thrillers. His writing is clear, his sentences flow but are not overly simple, his plot is far-fetched as is often the case in thrillers but it is imaginable, it chugs to a conclusion that, in this case, the reader foresees. The background of the Bad Guy is, unfortunately, frighteningly likely, given recent events. Although there are many characters, they don't confuse the reader. Successful thriller/mystery writers make the sleuth or victim likable. (The books of writers who don't bother with this touch usually suffer from the omission.) Robotham's current sleuth has a physical disability and a troubled marriage -- his wife wants him to stay home and be safe while she travels with her rich, handsome boss to exotic business destinations. The plea for sympathy for the sleuth is overwrought. The sleuth got dragged into the case described, he didn't volunteer. He's a decent man. Thus, we sympathize. Otherwise, the brutal plot might turn us off.
    ...more info
  • "They have no idea who they're dealing with."
    The protagonist of Michael Robotham's "Shatter" is Professor Joe O'Loughlin, a clinical psychologist who teaches behavioral psychology at the University of Bath. He has been married for twenty years to Julianne, a beautiful and successful high-flyer in the corporate world, and they dote on their two daughters, twelve-year old Charlie and three-year-old Emma. Unfortunately, Joe's health has been deteriorating since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago. In spite of tremors, twitches, and other alarming symptoms, he is determined not to let his illness define him.

    Joe's fortunes take a turn for the worse when he is asked to talk a jumper down from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. When he reaches the site, Joe sees an unidentified female standing in the rain, naked except for a pair of red shoes. She is conducting an intense conversation on a mobile phone. The potential suicide barely notices Joe's presence and is not interested in anything that he has to say. This disturbing encounter foreshadows future similar incidents that will challenge O'Loughlin's ability to cope, both professionally and personally.

    The villain turns out to be a psychopath who knows how to bend minds. He boasts, "You've got to be smart. You've got to know people--what frightens them, how they think, what they cling to when they're in trouble." He uses his considerable intellect and patience to threaten and intimidate those he hates. When the police, led by the tough and aggressive Detective Inspector Veronica Cray, finally comprehend what is going on, they desperately try to locate and apprehend the killer. Joe and his buddy, retired DI Vincent Ruiz, lend a hand in the investigation, but they are stymied by a phantom who strikes at will and escapes with ease. What is his motive and what will his endgame be? In spite of Julianne's protests that he is endangering his family, Joe refuses to back off.

    "Shatter" has some powerful and wrenching moments, but it is not an unqualified success. Many readers will be skeptical that law enforcement officials would allow a civilian psychologist and a retired detective to attend briefings, read case notes, interview witnesses, and speak to the media. In addition, the identity of the perpetrator, "a bully, a sadist, and [a] control freak," is given away too early. He is a one-dimensional monster, straight out of central casting. Another plot point that might raise a few eyebrows is whether this individual's methods of mind control would work on otherwise confident, poised, and worldly women. Although the conclusion has its share of excitement, it is too predictable to be truly harrowing.

    On the plus side, Joe is a sympathetic and caring person as well as an accomplished psychologist who constructs a fairly accurate behavioral profile of the suspect. At first, his marriage to the lovely Julianne appears solid, but it is actually developing ever-widening fissures; Robotham depicts both their tender and wrenching encounters with skill and compassion. The dialogue is generally clever and witty, and there are are some intriguing secondary characters, such as Darcy Wheeler, a mature sixteen-year whom Joe takes under his wing after her mother's death. In spite of its flaws, "Shatter" is a workmanlike and fast-moving novel that should appeal to fans of psychological suspense.

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  • Not as Shatter-ing as I had hoped
    Definitely an above-average thriller, but I had heard such GLOWING reviews that I was a bit let down by this book. Maybe I just ran out of steam by page 400...? I think Robotham's clearly a good writer, and the major characters are pretty sympathetic, and the story definitely moves right along. But the plot is *highly* implausible and by the end I was thinking, this is just an extended episode of TV's Criminal Minds. The ending wasn't particularly surprising or unconventional, but I suppose it was satisfying. [The evil-doer gets caught, yaay...] By far the best writers I've found in this genre so far are John Connolly (Every Dead Thing, Dark Hollow, etc) and Michael Marshall (The Straw Men, The Intruders, etc). Check them out -- you won't be disappointed....more info
  • Fast moving, well written thriller
    Robotham is an excellent writer, and he knows how to juggle tension with mystery.

    A psychologist is sent to help talk a potential suicide from jumping. He finds the woman, naked except for shoes, with the word "slut" written across her abdomen, unwilling to listen to him. Within minutes, she has jumped to her death.

    Clearly, this was a suicide...or was it? The woman was talking to someone on her cell phone and she had glanced briefly at the psychologist to tell him "You don't understand".

    The psychologist investigates what happened to the woman just before she leaped to her death. Scrawled across the windows in her car he finds the words "Help me".

    This is an excellent book, a cut above the usual thriller....more info


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