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Say You're Sorry    by Michael Robotham order for
Say You're Sorry
by Michael Robotham
Order:  USA  Can
Mulholland, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

My two favorite Robotham characters, tenacious clinical psychologist Professor Joe O'Loughlin (who suffers from Parkinson's) and dogged ex-cop Vincent Ruiz, are back in the author's latest exciting thriller, Say You're Sorry. Three years ago, teens Piper Hadley and Tash McBain disappeared one Sunday morning. Yet readers hear from Piper regularly through her journal, and fear for her terrifying situation and her continuing safety throughout this story.

Though estranged from his wife Julianne, Joe O'Loughlin remains close to her and to his daughters. Now he and his elder daughter Charlie are spending four days together in Oxford; Joe is to present a paper at a conference. Their train stops briefly outside the city, where a body has been discovered trapped beneath the ice. Soon Joe is asked to consult on a case by Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Drury - a husband and wife have been murdered in the farmhouse where Tash McBain used to live, and the house set on fire. Drury has a suspect in custody, a young man (Augie Shaw) who worked for the family and has a history of mental health problems.

Augie claims to have tried to save the woman from the fire. Delusional, he speaks of a brother who does not exist. He also speaks of a shoeless woman he almost ran over and of a snowman who came out of the forest after her. Joe is reluctantly pulled into his defence, disturbed by anomalies at the scene of the killings. After the frozen body is identified as that of Tash McBain, it becomes a race against time to find Piper Hadley - the chief constable asks Joe to revisit the original case, with Vincent Ruiz as a paid consultant. Aware that Vincent needs the money, Joe can't say no, despite Drury's opposition to his involvement.

Even after the police assume that Piper is dead, Joe pursues the investigation with Vincent's help. They discover many surprises in what happened to the two teens before they went missing. But when Joe does finally find Piper, he's forced into an action that goes against his very nature, and finally has to admit that he needs some help himself. As always Michael Robotham gives fans a thoroughly engaging, thought provoking mystery with characters who hold our interest and attention - highly recommended!

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