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The Wreckage    by Michael Robotham order for
by Michael Robotham
Order:  USA  Can
Mulholland, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Michael Robotham has been on my absolutely must read list since I read Lost, quickly followed by Suspect, Night Ferry, Shatter and Bombproof. I love the way characters appear in different roles (lead versus secondary) in different episodes, but was very glad to see my two favorites (Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz, now retired, and Professor Joe O'Loughlin, a psychologist who suffers from Parkinson's) star in The Wreckage.

Several subplots interweave in this thriller. Ruiz helps young actress Holly Knight after her boyfriend Zac hits her. Then Holly drugs and robs Ruiz - she and Zac work together. Ruiz being Ruiz, that doesn't stop him from trying to help her again, though his first objective is to recover his dead wife's jewelry and give it to his daughter on her wedding day, coming up soon.

Readers learn that 'something got rewired in Zac's head when he was in Afghanistan' and now he forgets things. But the Courier is looking for Zac, and soon finds him - the official version of Zac's torture and death is a drug deal gone wrong, but Ruiz doesn't buy it. He asks Joe O'Loughlin to talk to Holly and tries to find out what the Courier is after.

In Baghdad, journalist Luca Terracini (an American with an Iraqi mother) follows a trail of bank robberies involving millions of dollars of US reconstruction funds. He teams up with Daniela Garner, part of a UN Audit team (whose other members are slaughtered). After Luca is arrested and evicted from Iraq, he and Daniela start looking for Saddam's Banker, who should be in prison but is not.

Back in London, we meet an eight months pregant Elizabeth North whose banker husband has gone missing - he worked at Mersey Fidelity, a global bank that her father developed and where her brother is now chairman. The police are unhelpful and soon Richard North is being blamed for a black hole in the bank's accounts and Elizabeth is hounded by the press.

It all comes together, with the requisite peril for the good guys and plenty of action, as a long-laid end-justifies-means plan is foiled, an act of terror is stopped, and confidence in the banking system is maintained. I highly recommend The Wreckage and hope we read more of Ruiz and O'Loughlin soon.

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