Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham

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Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham

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Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This is a page-turning and stylish psychological thriller. Lots of red herrings, twists and turns as the criminal - or should that be criminals - are tracked down and hopefully brought to justice.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Sphere
ISBN: 978-1847442185

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An ex-detective is found dead in a pool of blood in his teenager's bedroom. She runs from the scene of the crime. Is this the easiest cut-and-dried case ever? This novel is told in the first person by the investigating psychologist, Professor Joe O'Loughlin. He's got a lot going on in his life right now. His health is not good so he's to keep popping pills to try and get through another working day. He's also newly separated and his daughters seem to talk a completely different language. He feels old and very ragged round the edges. Into this mix, he discovers that the teenager everyone is talking about, the teenager who's been discussed and described as a cold-blooded killer, is his daughter's best friend. Could his life get any worse, he thinks. Yes. Big-time.

And throughout this novel Robotham gives us plenty of professional insight into the inner working of basically bad, evil people. Or, in the professor's own words ... a moment of madness which had been coming all his life as one evil young man is put through the court system. But in amongst all this psycho-babble there's a nice thread of warm humour. We're told of the various members of the local divorced men's club (some would say that phrase alone is humorous) and of their quirky nicknames. For example, Jimmy Monroe is called Marilyn. This all gives the whole novel a human, every day feel which, when the more gruesome aspects are uncovered, make them even more gruesome. Joe is also endearingly self-deprecating. Currently he's doing his best to live the bachelor life. He's also trying to settle down in a new area. It's not easy. He says The locals are friendly enough. We chat over the tops of cars at the petrol station ... They're decent, conservative, obliging people, but I'll never be one of them. And he should know. He'll have psycho-analysed them.

I liked Joe. He came across as a warm individual and somehow I imagine him with lots of patience. His conversations with his young daughters are both funny and charming. And despite his health issues he's very good at his job. By degrees, the teenager at the centre of this story tells her side of things and pieces start to fall slowly into place.

As this is a psychological thriller, there's plenty of suspense and built-up tension. Will so-and-so get off the hook? Is there enough time to carry out such-and-such? But there's also a nice, recurring line in dialogue between Joe and various characters, usually with evil on their mind. He's got a good line in interrogative questioning. The main plot has lots of side-issues touching on universal social problems we can all identify with: child abuse, child pornography, race issues. Teenagers and their problems feature heavily as the prime suspect is, after all, a 14 year old girl. The reader is bombarded with modern teen problems and mis-use of the internet gets more than a passing mention. This is an engaging and lively thriller but with plenty of quieter moments to savour too. Recommended.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might like to try The Semantics of Murder by Aifric Campbell or Hailey's War by Jodi Compton. For more from Robotham, try Lying Beside You.

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Buy Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bleed For Me by Michael Robotham at


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