Review: When You Are Mine By Michael Robotham

 

Title: When You Are Mine

Author: Michael Robotham

Published: 1st July 2021, Hachette Australia

Status: Read July 2021 courtesy Hachette Australia

++++++

 

My Thoughts:

 

Michael Robotham draws from recent news headlines to create a timely, gripping crime fiction novel dealing with domestic violence, toxic relationships, obsession, and police corruption in When You Are Mine.

Called to a complaint of domestic violence, London police constable Philomena (Phil) McCarthy is unimpressed when the abuser, who claims he is detective, threatens her career will be finished, and then takes a swing at her. Though his mistress, who Phil is surprised to recognise, refuses to press charges, she follows protocol and arrests him, only to be reprimanded by her superiors for her poor judgement in arresting a decorated officer, and then suspended. Phil is both disappointed and angered by the cover-up, and despite being ordered to leave it alone, she digs a little deeper into the Detective Goodall’s history, and learns that Tempe is not his only victim.

I’m always impressed that Robotham demonstrates such astute insight into his female characters. Determined and principled, with a touch of youthful righteous idealism and naivety, Phil sincerely wants to do good as a police officer, and has worked hard for the right to do so. Unfortunately her motives will always be considered suspect because her father, from whom she is estranged, is linked to organised crime. This means she is especially vulnerable when she refuses to accept the official line.

In refusing to back down, Phil risks not only her career, but her safety, especially when she offers support to both Tempe and Goodall’s family. As recently as last month, a Former Scotland Yard Deputy Assistant Commissioner stated that domestic abuse perpetrated by police officers was at epidemic levels, and victims report a culture of minimisation and coverups. I thought Robotham very effectively showed how intensely vulnerable women, and children, in that position can be. Goodall is not about to simply let go, but then neither is Phil.

There’s a twist in the tale as Tempe, grateful to Phil for her help, tries to repay her. She offers to help with Phil’s impending wedding to her firefighter husband, Henry, then she begins to take care of the everyday tasks Phil, intent on helping Alison Goodall, doesn’t have time for. I really liked how Robotham subtly developed this thread which presents some of the biggest surprises.

Robotham is an accomplished author who knows how to hook his readers and keep them interested not only with a fast pace and the twists expected of the genre, but also characters that are dynamic and interesting. When You Are Mine is a exciting and satisfying read.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

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Review: When She Was Good by Michael Robotham

 

Title: When She Was Good {Cyrus Haven #2}

Author: Michael Robotham

Published: July 28th 2020, Hachette Australia

Status: Read August 2020 courtesy Hachette Australia

+++++++

My Thoughts:

When She Was Good is the second intriguing thriller to feature forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven by bestselling author Michael Robotham.

When Cyrus consults on a retired detective’s suspicious death and learns of a possible connection between the murdered man’s activities and the mysterious past of a girl once known as ‘Angel Face’ and now called Evie, he ignores her plea to leave it alone, and begins an investigation of his own. Evie knows if Cyrus learns the truth of what she endured before she was found hiding in a cardboard box within the walls of a house as a half-starved twelve-year-old, neither he, nor she, will be safe from the men determined to ensure her secrets remain buried.

While Evie Cormac is introduced in Good Girl, Bad Girl, it is in When She was Good that we learn her real identity, and the horrifying secrets of her tragic past. Robotham leads us into a disturbing conspiracy among a vile subsection of society’s elite that exploits young children, one Evie was only able to escape when a driver took pity on her. His brutal murder led to Evie being found by a young special Constable, Sacha Hopewell, and eventually remanded to a secure children’s facility. Now seventeen, Evie has never trusted anyone with the truth of her experience but when Cyrus begins to investigate, he unwittingly exposes Evie to the man who held her captive and is willing to kill anyone to protect himself.

Robotham develops the tension well as Cyrus grows closer to discovering the truth. It quickly becomes clear that the ruthless leader of the paedophile ring has developed an extensive network he can manipulate to insulate himself, which even includes members of the police force. There are several action packed, heart stopping scenes as Cyrus and Evie are targeted by a contract killer.

The complex relationship dynamic, which blurs the line between the professional and personal, between Evie and Cyrus is unusual, but works well. I liked Cyrus, though given both his past and his profession, I thought him somewhat naive about the realities of facing off against a rich and powerful adversary. Evie may have limited experience with the world, but even she knows that men like her torturer are rarely held to account. Evie is cynical, brash and defensive, and I both pitied and admired her. I’d have liked to learn more about her gift for identifying lies, and think Robotham missed an opportunity there. I’ll be interested to see what role Evie plays in this series going forward, especially as there are elements of her life still unexplained.

Fast paced and absorbing, with a satisfying conclusion, When She Was Good is an entertaining thriller sure to appeal to crime fiction readers.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK I Indiebound

Also by Michael Robotham reviewed at Book’d Out