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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life or Death by Michael Robotham

Life or Death 

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.

Highly recommended!

NetGalley/Mulholland Books

Psychological Suspense/Crime.  (Amazon has this available for Jan. 1 ??); NetGalley lists publ. date as March 10, 2015.  Print Length:  448 pages.


  1. Every time I see a great review of a new-to-me author's work, it makes me wonder how many others I will never hear of. So many come from far away that it is a miracle that they get published in this country at all, so I guess we are lucky to become aware of as many of them as we do at all.

    1. NetGalley has introduced so many authors that are new-to-me. So many books out there, and I hate to buy a book and be disappointed, so having the opportunity to read books for free is wonderful. If I like the book/author, I can then buy or check out more. :)

  2. Your review has definitely piqued my curiosity; plus the plot sounds intriguing and that it's written by an awards winning author! Yes, will have to check it out! :)

    1. I've enjoyed everything I've read by Robotham. He is great at psychological suspense!

  3. This sounds terrific. The last paragraph of your review really sold me. :-) I am adding this to my list.

    1. His O'Loughlin/Ruiz series is excellent, but I loved this stand alone!

  4. A good psychological thriller is one of my favorite kinds of reads. This one certainly has a unique premise. I'm already wondering if it ends happy or sad....guess I'll have to pick up a copy of this book to find out. :)

    1. It is a tense read, but I really enjoyed it!