Michael Robotham, The King of Crime.

Do you want suspense, romance, action and humour all in the same chapter? How about spectacular passages of love between moments of terrifying violence? There are not that many novels that offer the whole range of literary pleasures, but I guarantee you’ll be tripping over corpses in between tears of joy as you make your way through any Robotham story. He simply balances the aspects of his unique crime books perfectly like the first person to think of adding salt to caramel.

In his most prominent series, a family man named “Joe O’Loughlin” finds himself repeatedly injected into the operations of the police force. Through each novel, Joe’s skills at dealing with depraved criminals are tested as he takes turns hunting and hiding from the planet’s most terrifying killers. Kidnap, abuse and murder become common in Joe’s life, but what will happen to his family when the victims begin to cry louder than his children, and Joe’s obligation to the deceased seems more imperative than the obligations to his wife?

If you could only read one from the “Joe O’Loughlin” series, I’d suggest “Watching You.” It’s not the first title in the series (that would be “The Suspect”), but it works as an individual text. A mother is forced into prostitution when her husband disappears, and an entire galaxy of disaster seems to revolve around her. Torture and death follow a single step behind Marnie Logan, the way a bad smell might follow a hung-over marathon runner. But could this young, desperate mum really be the cause of all this turmoil? Ask Joe O’Loughlin; he’s got a few theories.

To make the book a little more unique, part of it is written from the perspective of an uncontrollable stalker. I’ll never forget the final chapters of “Watching You.” I was listening to the audiobook in the kitchen of an old share-house, and my roommates were drawn from their separate dwellings to sit with me. Without even needing to read the first sixty thousand words, they were each glued to the speakers with a glass of wine and a heart full of frantic anticipation. No one spoke as the audiobook rattled through the terrible and glorious conclusion. Read it, and you’ll be hurled into a story of suspense, savagery, and hope; “Watching You” is one of my all time favourites.

“Watching You” by Michael Robotham.
Setting: 7/10
Characters: 6/10
Plot: 8/10
Style: 7/10
Balance: 4/5
Pace: 3/5

Total: 35/50


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