Australian author Michael Robotham has a new stand alone! My first book by Robotham was Watching You, released early in 2014, and I was hooked. I've now read five of the ten novels he's written.
Although he has been a journalist and a ghost writer, it is his psychological thrillers that have garnered him so many fans. Some of the Awards he has received:
- 3 Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing (Best Novel in 2005, 2007, 2008)
- 2 Crime Writer's Assoc. (UK) Steel Daggers (2007, 2008)
- 1 Crime Writer's Assoc. Gold Dagger (2013)
In the ten years Robotham has been writing psychological thrillers, he has achieved some impressive stats. Perhaps I was late to the game because he is better known in the UK and Australia, but better late than never.
Life or Death, his latest release, is a stand alone novel and not part of the O'Loughlin/DI Ruiz series. It is set in Texas, not London, and is the result of a news article that he'd been thinking of for nearly twenty years.
In 1995, Tony Lanigan escaped from prison only a few days before he was due to be released on parole. Why would a man escape from prison days before release? Robotham says that he had to "find the answer--even [he] had to make it up."
Thus was born Audie Palmer, a man sentenced to ten years in prison for a robbery in which four people died and seven million dollars went missing. Slowly, slowly we fall for Audie, who has achieved a sort of mythic regard in prison, surviving numerous attempts to murder him. Then, the day before his scheduled release, he stages a daring escape from prison.
Why would a man escape the day before release?
The forces that paid for attempts on his life in prison are still determined to see Audie dead. The reader wonders how this man with an IQ of 136 and a nature both noble and sorrowful wound up in prison in the first place.
Robotham unwinds the story slowly, but with escalating tension. Audie Palmer feels Job-like as he endures and survives despite the odds. Robotham keeps the reader on the edge, unsure about what will happen next and praying for Audie and Moss.
This novel is different from (and even better than) the O'Loughlin/DI Ruiz series which I've so enjoyed. Written in spare, but evocative prose, the novel has a wrenching humanity. Life or Death is a compelling psychological suspense tale about a protagonist who has a promise to keep and a reason to survive.
Psychological Suspense/Crime. (Amazon has this available for Jan. 1 ??); NetGalley lists publ. date as March 10, 2015. Print Length: 448 pages.