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Chris High books reviewed

Shatter - Michael Robotham

Publisher: Little Brown
ISBN: 978-1-84744-177-5

February 7, 2008

Image: Front cover of the book 'Shatter'.


Michael Robotham’s third outing for his Clinical Psychologist, Joe O’Loughlin, Shatter, is without doubt and from first to last, a book to cherish.

Fast paced and rich descriptions make the reader feel as though they are in the same room as the characters which, to be fair, is both good and bad. Good that it is so real. Bad if you want to get to sleep without checking the wardrobe and locks just one last time.


A naked woman in red high-heeled shoes is perched on the edge of Clifton Suspension Bridge with her back pressed to the safety fence, weeping into a mobile phone while Joseph O’Loughlin stand only feet away, desperately trying to talk her down. She whispers, ‘you don't understand,’ and jumps.

Later, Joe has a visitor - the woman's teenage daughter, a runaway from boarding school. She refuses to believe that her mother would have jumped off the bridge. Not only would she not commit suicide, she is terrified of heights. Joe wants to believe her, but what would drive a woman to such a desperate act?

The biggest standout of the book is the dialogue which throughout is free, warm and easy, giving a naturalness to the protagonists that they instantly welcoming. These are people you would turn to in a crisis and would like to spend time with. The story, too, is a cut above the norm, with a villain who is at once both thoroughly detestable and, strangely, enigmatic, despite his going so far off the rails he’s become a bus.

As a first read of Robotham’s work, this does not need the previous two novels in the series to fill in any blanks, though without question they, on this evidence, are also must reads, as the author whips the reader along at break-neck pace to places they would rather not be on almost every page. Shatter is truly exhilarating stuff and can easily rank alongside anything Thomas Harris or Mark Billingham is putting out right now.



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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