Well, this is (currently) the last of Joseph O’Laughlin books, and I’m quite, quite sorry to see them end. Although I did check Robotham’s website – and he claims another book is coming sometime next year! So I’ll have that to look forward to.
Wow, so I have really mixed feelings about this book. Overall, the story was quite gripping and the pacing almost frenetic… which, in retrospect, it almost feels like that was a bit of camouflage for the fact that this mystery didn’t seem quite as tight as most of the earlier ones – there were several times that it felt like Joe should have been more “on” a clue or lead; Vincent’s involvement also seemed rather cursory. We were back with Joe’s first-person narration for this one, which I never like quite as well as the third person (despite the fact that I do quite like Joe). There also felt like there was a LOT going on in Joe’s personal life, and while it was handled well on the whole, I still found myself wondering things like, “Would Joe’s daughter really go follow up on a clue instead of seeing her mum off to the hospital for surgery?” or, “Is it really more important to go talk to this random person than it is to spend some time with a family member having a major crisis?”
The biggest turn-off for this book was definitely the opening scene, a very bizarre and far-too-detailed scene involving sex and violence that left me feeling quite… dirtied. Like now that is stuck in my head forever, and I don’t really want it to be there. If I hadn’t already read all the other books in this series and known that that wasn’t really “what they were like,” I’m not sure I would have gotten over that opening scene. It was just. Ick. And it felt completely superfluous, like it was just there for the shock factor.
But, setting all of that aside – I still could barely put down this book. It was completely engaging, and I was QUITE impatient with my husband who kept interrupting me during the last few chapters when I just wanted to FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS.
And then I finally reached the end of the thriller part and took a deep breath, ready to read the last chapter and see all the little loose ends tied up – and there was a complete blindside in the last few pages. Like I literally felt like someone had taken that heavy, hardcover book and cracked me over the head with it. I was not expecting that last plot twist. It felt so abrupt! Plus, super weird, like I had to read a few paragraphs over to make sure that what I thought had happened had really happened… it was just… strange. A very strange way to end the book. Quite strange. I didn’t like it.
Still, a 4/5 for a book that was quite intense and that I overall enjoyed (until the very end). I’ll definitely be checking out more of Robotham’s books, and eagerly looking for another story with Joe & Company, hopefully next year. This has been an excellent series and one I definitely recommend – as long as you feel like your heart can handle the intensity!