Shatter by Michael Robotham

fpoShatter. Finished 11-10-15, rating 4.25/5, thriller, 433 pages, pub. 2008

Book 3 of the Jospeh O’Laughlin series

Joe O’Loughlin is in familiar territorystanding on a bridge high above a flooded gorge, trying to stop a distraught woman from jumping. “You don’t understand,” she whispers, and lets go. Joe is haunted by his failure to save the woman, until her teenage daughter finds him and reveals that her mother would never have committed suicidenot like that. She was terrified of heights.

What could have driven her to commit such a desperate act? Whose voice? What evil?

Having devoted his career to repairing damaged minds, Joe must now confront an adversary who tears them apart. With pitch-perfect dialogue, believable characters, and astonishingly unpredictable plot twists, Shatter is guaranteed to keep even the most avid thriller readers riveted long into the night.

I haven’t read the first 2 books of this series, but I had no problem jumping in and not only liking the action but also the layered family history.  I liked it enough to add the next in the series to my reading list.

What set this apart from other series, especially thrillers, is that the hero is struggling with a debilitating disease, Parkinson’s.  Because of that and stress from earlier cases he and his family are living in Somerset, outside of London, and he is teaching part-time at a nearby university.  As a clinical psychologist, when the police come to the school looking for someone to talk down a potential jumper on a bridge, he is the obvious choice. Joe is devastated when he can’t save the troubled woman and decides to look into it a little more after talking to the woman’s daughter. What he finds has him leaning on the police to find the boogeyman who is making women kill themselves without even lifting a finger.

This was good, with lots of twists and plenty of family drama. The fact that these women were killing themselves just by listening to someone on a phone was something new and because of it, it felt fresh and different.  The way the daughters acted afterward felt off to me, but that was my only complaint.  I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to Joe next!