Sunday 10 March 2019

Book talk on a short day before a long week off…

Daylight Savings Time begins today, so we lose an hour, but I can’t complain because it’s also the start of March Break, so I’ll be off for a week.  I foresee many opportunities to drink tea and tackle the pile of library books I have waiting for me! But on this mild, rainy morning, I have a steaming cup of chai tea, a delicious Date Bar, and a freshly baked Morning Glory muffin as a treat while I write about the book I read last week.
I read the newest Michael Robotham mystery, The Other Wife, the latest book to feature clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin, and I found it to be just ok.  Joe’s wife passed away in the last book, Charlie is away at school, so he’s doing his best to raise twelve-year-old daughter Emma on his own.  She suffers from anxiety, and with a recent move to London and switch to a new school, life is even more difficult for her to navigate. When Joe’s father, celebrated surgeon William, is admitted to hospital as a victim of a vicious attack, Joe springs into action and races to the hospital, only to discover that the woman sitting by his father’s bedside, claiming to be William’s wife, is not Joe’s mother.  Young, beautiful Olivia Blackmore has been having an affair with William for the past twenty years, and she is convinced that she has as much right to participate in the decision-making surrounding William’s fate as his “real” family members, his wife Mary and his adult children. When this secret life is revealed, everyone denies the reality of it, but in their search for the identity of William’s attacker, they uncover much more than they ever anticipated.  While the police are content to cut corners and accept the obvious and easy solution, Joe continues to dig until all is revealed, changing his perspective of his father, “God’s-personal-surgeon-in-waiting”, forever. I can’t divulge any more details, as part of the drive behind finishing this book is discovering new tidbits along the way. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed with the novel. Complex plot and familiar characters aside, it felt to this reader as though Robotham was throwing in every twist he could possibly manage without ensuring that it all made sense or were necessary.  Too many things were left unexplained, and some of the action was totally implausible. (There were also many major typos - not just letters missing, but whole words! - which really irked me and added to my "so-so" response to the book). There were some good parts, don’t get me wrong. It was compelling enough to keep me reading so that I finished it in just four days, but, as with Peter Robinson’s most recent books, this novel, too, left me feeling that perhaps it’s time to give up this series and write something different. I was just looking at some reviews for this novel (most were very positive - was I missing something?!), and it appears that this is, in fact, Rootham’s last “Joseph O’Loughlin” novel. I hope he will undertake some standalones.
That’s all I’ve got for you today.  Because it’s so rainy and tempestuous outside, I’m looking forward to staying in and possibly finishing Sophie Hannah’s new novel, The Next to Die, which I will tell you about next week.  Enjoy the rest of this short day, and keep reading!    
Bye for now…

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