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Book Review: Say You’re Sorry, Michael Robotham

Fortunate enough to get a hold of an ARC of this novel, I couldn’t wait to read it. I’d never read a Robotham book before, but I’d always intended to based on the fabulous reviews and recommendations from others. I was not disappointed. I’ve also been fortunate enough to meet Michael, as we were on the same table at the Gold Coast Literatti a few years back, where we enjoyed the company of locals who love books at three different tables. I remember how gracious Michael was and what a fun dining companion and how much we enjoyed chatting to the other writers and the gorgeous organiser, Maryanne Hyde, when the event was finished.

All this aside, I’m really annoyed myself that I waited so long to read one of his books as Say You’re Sorry gripped me from page one to its climactic finish, with brilliant characterisations, dialogue that simply zinged, and a plot that had me turning the pages breathlessly.

Written from alternating points of view, SYS follows the gruesome murder of a couple in a remote house who are, in the novel’s early stages, found brutally beaten and burnt to death. When the body of a young girl is also found, frozen, in a nearby lake, connections start to become apparent. Brought in to help is psychologist Joe O’Loughlin, a character who features in other Robotham books. Clever, compassionate and with an uncanny knack of reading people and situations, he finds himself both perplexed and fascinated by this case and the reluctance of some of his peers to accept alternate scenarios and motives.

Alongside this narrative is that of a young girl. While as a reader you’re aware she’s been kidnapped or trapped, it’s the poignancy of her memories and how she reflects upon the situation she finds herself in, her vacillation between hope, regret and despair that is beautifully and heart-wrenchingly crafted. As the novel progresses, these separate narrative strands and points of view start to merge and it’s when this occurs that I dare you to be able to put the book down – I could not.

I don’t want to say too much more for fear of revealing something that would spoil the reading experience as it’s one so worth taking. In fact, after finishing this taut and terrific thriller, I downloaded Robotham’s other books and am looking forward to reading them very soon. If you enjoy good psychological thrillers, tight, masterfully woven crime with believable characters and plots that have you second-guessing, then this is the book for you. Robotham is up there with the very best.

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