by Michael Robotham (Sphere) ISBN: 978-1-84744-221-5
In his seventh fiction production, Michael Robotham reacquaints us with Vincent Ruiz, a worn, imperfect but likeable retired London police detective, and Joe O’Laughlin, a perceptive psychologist.
He introduces us to cast of other characters that ultimately collide after being launched into the story by a number of separate incidences.
We have Ruiz in London, robbed by a young confidence artist and her traumatised soldier boyfriend; a journalist in Baghdad investigating a series of bank robberies; a UN auditor delving into Iraq reconstruction funding; and the wife of a missing London banker.
This ignites the story that follows Baghdad reconstruction funding all the way up the chain to source, pulling in bankers, state agencies, terrorists, criminals and other interesting characters along the way.
Robotham constructs the novel much like an expert patch-work quilt maker. He starts by developing rich individual characters, settings and experiences. As the story progresses, he weaves the various components together. In a skillful manner, Robotham spends just the right amount of time on each instalment, leaving the reader disappointed that they have to move on, but looking forward to returning to each storyline.
A great read that will keep you looking forward to picking up the book and jumping back into the action.
I like Robotham’s writing style. He understands the value of short sentences, lots of dialogue and beautiful white space on the right hand side of the page. And he understands that this suits the genre of political thriller writing.
I would have found it difficult to be critical of this novel after meeting the author less than a month ago. He was a lovely, inspiring man, and I was grateful that his novel was really good.
Written in present tense, based on true stories from Iraq and London, and cleverly woven together, you won’t regret reading this.
Robotham opens the book by alternating stories of retired detective, Vincent Ruiz chasing a thief, journalist, Luca Tarracini investigating robberies in Iraq, and Elizabeth North searching for her missing banker husband.
How do they fit together? Read the book and find out.