Thursday, May 17, 2012

No Ordinary Joe

Joe O'Loughlin is self-reflective and suffering - not from chemical addictions but from Parkinson's disease. I first met him in Michael Robotham's latest thriller Bleed for Me, not realizing it is six in a series starting with Suspect . In Suspect Joe is a 42 year old psychologist with a thriving practice and beautiful family, occasionally called on by the London police to assist with psychological profiles. But, cumulative stress from his police cases and his increasing physical deterioration start a series of personal casualties.

His closest confidantes in Bleed for Me are Vincent Ruiz, a homicide detective partial to pints and sweet rock candy, and Deputy Inspector Veronica Cray who ignores "No Smoking" signs and keeps a bottle of spirits in an umbrella stand in her office. Joe is cerebral and introspective, answering questions intuitively by relying on his educational and professional background. Detective Ruiz and D.I. Cray are caustic and practical, focused on facts not feelings. 

Robotham cares for these characters and you will too. Had I known it was a series, I would have started with his earlier works and followed along chronologically. But reading backwards is akin to visiting an old friend-learning the actions and decisions that determined Joe's current circumstances. Robotham's background is in international investigative journalism and it is apparent in these tight, fast paced literary thrillers. Get to know Joe, and look forward to watching him navigate through his newest challenge in Say You're Sorry, due to be released in October 2012.

Vicki Ann

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