Australian writer Michael Robotham has done it again, bringing a book’s characters and its plot to life.

The author of three other suspense novels, he introduced us to psychologist Joe O’Loughlin in Suspect, an intriguing novel that I highly recommended.  Newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s, father to two young children, O’Louglhin had to prove to detectives that he did not commit a murder he uncannily knows features of that no one, except the murderer, should know.

In Shatter, four years have passed.  Joe has moved his family out of London and suspended clinical practice.  He’s the house husband, only lecturing at a local Bath university twice a week, while his wife Julianne has become the breadwinner, traveling frequently.  Called to a bridge to try to stop a woman from jumping, he becomes haunted by the woman’s suicide, and cannot forget that she was crying into her cell phone before letting go.

When the woman’s daughter turns up on Joe’s doorstep, she insists that her mother was not suicidal, and would never have committed that act in that way as she was terrifed of heights.  Joe becomes caught up in discovering who was on the other end of the phone.  What evil mind could drive a woman to commit such a desperate act?  His drive to discover the psychopath capable of finding a person’s weakest point and worming his way inside their mind to break it apart will have profound impact on his own life and that of his family.

Robotham takes us along on a ride that is all too believeable.  His dialogue and characters are pitch perfect; Joe and his family and the other characters come alive on the page.  And the spectacular plot twists will keep you reading long after you should have shut the light.

One of the best I’ve read this year, from a master storyteller.