On Wendy's blog (Musings of a Bookish Kitty), I saw mention of Michael Robotham. When I then had the opportunity to get the the e-book of his latest novel, I couldn't resist.
Watching You is the seventh book in the Joe O'Loughlin series, but it functions perfectly as a stand-alone. O'Loughlin is a clinical psychologist, and while he is crucial to the plot, he does not actually take center stage. That role is filled by Marnie Logan, mother of two, whose husband disappeared leaving her unable to access his bank account, but saddled with his debts.
The prologue lets the reader know that someone has been watching Marnie, observing her life in all of its details--for a long time. This unknown narrator inserts himself frequently in the novel.
Marnie's depression over the disappearance of her husband and the increasing weight of his gambling debts led her to sessions with Joe O'Loughlin. O'Loughlin likes Marnie, but suspects that this is not the first time she has had dealings with a therapist. With her financial situation getting out of hand, notices from creditors and from her landlord, and threats from Patrick Hennessey, the loan shark her husband owes, Marnie takes some drastic steps to increase her income.
Then a man who mistreated Marnie is murdered, and Marnie is a suspect. O'Loughlin brings in his friend Vincent Ruiz, a retired police officer when he discovers that someone has broken and stolen only one patient's file. Marnie's.
The plot is not very realistic, but this is one of those cases where a skillful writer overcomes disbelief. The characters are well-drawn, the dialogue is realistic, the suspense is palpable, the pace is rapid. I was totally engrossed. There are several twists that keep the reader off-guard, but one twist I did not see coming until close to the end when the author decided to let the reader in on an earlier connection.
I'm adding Michael Robotham to a list of authors who do mystery and psychological suspense very well.
NetGalley/Little Brown/Mulholland Books
Psychological Suspense. 2014. Print version: 433 pages.