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Reviewed by Janet Jensen for Readers' Favorite
Meet Professor Joe O'Loughlin, a clinical psychologist/ criminal expert residing in Bath, England. He is undergoing the painful dissolution of his marriage, and missing his two daughters, and he is also losing a battle with “Mr. Parkinson,” a progressive neurological disease that is gradually gaining control of his body, ("he is possessing my brain, but not my mind,") and “who will die with me.” One night his daughter’s best friend, fourteen year-old Sienna, shows at the O’Loughlin home, covered with blood. Her father, a former policeman with a distinguished record of service, is found lying face down in a pool of blood in Sienna’s bedroom. Sienna is quickly arrested and charged with murder. O’Loughlin soon discovers that Sienna is a cutter, and her self-mulilating behavior covers a terrible secret. Enter O’Loughlin’s friend Vincent Ruiz, a former Metropolitan Police detective inspector, who is determined to find the real murderer, convinced it is not Sienna.
O’Laughlin is a character in Robotham’s ongoing mystery series, though each book can stand alone. He is complex and intriguing; the reader senses that he is struggling to resolve issues from his past in order to face his unpredictable future. The complicated plot leads the reader down a road filled with many twists, surprises, and memorably flawed characters. The plot of this mystery is masterfully played out and is full of tension and suspense. The imagery is vivid, and Robotham inserts frequent and fascinating insights into human behavior. Sean Barrett’s excellent narration adds to the overall effect of this dark, intriguing novel.