On this warm summer morning, as I drink my steaming cup of chai tea, I am thinking about what I’ve been reading, and why reading is such a great thing to do during the "dog days" of summer. It takes so little effort, and yet you can get so much enjoyment from it. And you can justify sitting relatively still for long periods of time because you’re reading! Books are portable and don’t depend on proximity to an electrical outlet, so you can read in the hammock, on the beach, beside the pool, or under a shady tree. So if you haven’t read a book yet this summer, this long weekend is a good time to start!
I was fortunate to get an advanced reading copy of Michael Robotham’s newest book, Close Your Eyes, and read it in three days. After living alone for six years, clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin is invited to spend the summer at the cottage with his estranged wife Julianne and their two daughters, Charlie and Emma. Determined not to jeopardize this opportunity to win back his wife, he is nevertheless drawn into yet another murder investigation, that of a mother and her teenaged daughter, at their farmhouse in nearby Clevedon. One of Joe’s former students, a psychologist calling himself the “Mindhunter”, was involved in the initial investigation, and leaked vital information to the media, thereby compromising the case, so Joe reluctantly steps in to help repair the damage and solve the case. With the investigation dragging on, police, family and community members become more and more frustrated as the case reaches a standstill, with plenty of suspects, motives and opportunities, but no new evidence. Joe calls in his friend, retired detective VIncent Ruiz, to help out, and together they explore a string of recent attacks on the footpaths in and around Clevedon to determine if the attacks and the murders are linked. What they discover leads to a frantic race to apprehend the killer before more lives are lost, but what he realizes is that not everyone can be saved. I have been reading Robotham’s books for a long time, ever since I discovered his first thriller, The Suspect, years ago, and I love his books for a number of reasons. The plots are are always complex yet believable. The characters, even the minor ones, are fully developed, and the way they interact is realistic. And the exploration into the psychological history and development of the perpetrator, why he or she got to be so messed up, is fascinating in a creepy way that makes me cringe even as I read on, unable to put the book down. And there is something comforting about reading the next book in a series, as it gives the reader a chance to “catch up” with what has been going on in the lives of the characters since the last book. I was happy to read that Julianne asked Joe to move back in for the summer, and was hoping he wouldn’t screw up his chances, but I also suspected that she had an ulterior motive, that there was something she wasn’t telling him. I wanted him to work on his relationship with Charlie and to get closer to Emma while he still had the chance. But I also wanted him to move on with his life, to end their relationship and find someone new if Julianne was messing with him again. So I guess I was emotionally engaged with the main characters while also caught up in the murder investigation, which made the book even more interesting than perhaps it might be for a first-time Robotham reader. But I think it would still be a good one to start with if you haven’t read anything else by this author, and I bet if you read it, you will want to go back and read his previous books, too. Note: this book is not due to be released in Canada until September, but you may already be able to put the title on hold at your local library.
That’s all for today. Enjoy the rest of the long weekend, and keep reading!
Bye for now…