I came to appreciate Michael Robotham's writing not quite a year ago. His novels have a dark, psychological grit to them, in total contrast to the man himself when you meet him.
In Shatter, I think Robotham has reached a new high. Our returning protagonist, Joe O'Loughlin, is more human than ever, with the spectre of his Parkinson's Disease overhanging everything he does. The antagonist truly creeps me out. Having met and chatted to Robotham, it is so hard to equate that smiling, quietly spoken man with the dark, twisted antagonist he has conjured up. That is the mark of a true storyteller.
At times Shatter rather disturbed me as I saw just how the human spirit can be warped and then broken. But I just had to keep reading. The Sunday Telegraph described the novel as 'nail-biting suspense of the highest order.' They weren't kidding. This is true, edge-of-the-seat thriller material, full of characters so real that you can almost visualise them leaning over your shoulder as you read.
Robotham has created such a powerful and believable antagonist that about two-thirds of the way through reading, I found myself wondering 'how can they ever catch this bloke?'.
Underlying events is the question of what sort of world do we live in where the authorities sanction creation of a monster only to lose control of him. It makes you ask questions like just what does go on in places like Guantanamo? Or on the other side of the terrorism conflict for that matter.
This is powerful writing at its best. The only thing that I could fault was a minor copy-editing issue that slipped past editorial and proofreading.
Compelling, believable characters. An engaging plot that hooks you from the outset. First class writing. Definitely worth reading!