The Suspect (Joseph O’Loughlin #1), by Michael Robotham

June 23, 2019

This is a pretty standard thriller with nothing special to recommend itself over any other of its kind. Basically, a whiny shrink, Joseph “Joe” O’Loughlin, who keeps making stupid decisions throughout the entire book ends up being man-hunted as the prime suspect in a string of murders, starting with a former patient of his.

Very early on, when being asked to help in the investigation of the murder, Joe decides it’s a brilliant idea to withhold essential information from the police:

All the while I’m thinking, I should say something now. I should tell him. Yet a separate track in my brain is urging, It doesn’t matter anymore. He knows her name. What’s past is past. It’s ancient history.

This stupidity annoys me without end: The cops will find out about such connections anyway so Joe should have told them right away. After all, he will have read this in countless books or seen it a hundred times at the cinema or on TV. Such lies by omission never help. Robotham still using this dead-beat plot device made me groan with despair.

Joe O’Loughlin is pretty daft all around, though: He’s seriously best friends with a man who – after more than a decade – still tries to get at Joe’s wife. When confronted with having Parkinson Joe doesn’t talk to his wife but hops into bed with a former prostitute.

Yes, the parts where Joe is on the run are suspenseful and I kept on reading but at the end of the day, suspense is not enough. Suspense is not sustainable and provides no “food for thought” and even in a thriller there should at least be a very small bit of that or it will taste stale quickly – just like Michael Robotham’s “The Suspect”.




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