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Shatter (Joseph O'Loughlin) Paperback – January 26, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 193 customer reviews
Book 3 of 8 in the Joe O'loughlin Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Winner of Australia's Ned Kelly Award for Best Novel, Robotham's compelling fourth thriller (after The Night Ferry) finds clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and his family in Somerset, where he teaches part-time at the University of Bath. When Joe fails to persuade a suicidal woman not to leap from a bridge to her death, he becomes obsessed with understanding the woman's motives. The woman's grief-stricken teenage daughter tracks down Joe, but the police don't take notice until another woman ends up dead under suspicious circumstances. Joe calls on an old friend, retired London detective inspector Vincent Ruiz, and together they race to catch a killer who uses psychological techniques Joe recognizes from his own practice to destroy people. Robotham smoothly mixes Joe's investigation and personal struggles with glimpses into the killer's mind. Even the sharpest readers may not anticipate all of the plot's agile switchbacks or foresee the chilling climax. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"The most suspenseful book I read all year."―Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

"Pleasantly creepy....plotted with precision and narrated with real intelligence."―The New York Times Book Review

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Product Details

  • Series: Joseph O'Loughlin (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (January 26, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316187429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316187428
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (193 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gold Dagger award winning author, Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist and ghostwriter, whose psychological thrillers have been translated into 23 languages. He has twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 ('THE NIGHT FERRY') and 2008 ('SHATTER') and twice for for the CWA Gold Dagger in 2013 (SAY YOU'RE SORRY) and 2015 (LIFE OR DEATH), which went on to win the award. He has twice won Ned Kelly Award for Australia's best crime novel for LOST in 2005 and SHATTER in 2008.

Michael lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters.
His website is: www.michaelrobotham.com

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The protagonist of Michael Robotham's "Shatter" is Professor Joe O'Loughlin, a clinical psychologist who teaches behavioral psychology at the University of Bath. He has been married for twenty years to Julianne, a beautiful and successful high-flyer in the corporate world, and they dote on their two daughters, twelve-year old Charlie and three-year-old Emma. Unfortunately, Joe's health has been deteriorating since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease four years ago. In spite of tremors, twitches, and other alarming symptoms, he is determined not to let his illness define him.

Joe's fortunes take a turn for the worse when he is asked to talk a jumper down from the Clifton Suspension Bridge. When he reaches the site, Joe sees an unidentified female standing in the rain, naked except for a pair of red shoes. She is conducting an intense conversation on a mobile phone. The potential suicide barely notices Joe's presence and is not interested in anything that he has to say. This disturbing encounter foreshadows future similar incidents that will challenge O'Loughlin's ability to cope, both professionally and personally.

The villain turns out to be a psychopath who knows how to bend minds. He boasts, "You've got to be smart. You've got to know people--what frightens them, how they think, what they cling to when they're in trouble." He uses his considerable intellect and patience to threaten and intimidate those he hates. When the police, led by the tough and aggressive Detective Inspector Veronica Cray, finally comprehend what is going on, they desperately try to locate and apprehend the killer. Joe and his buddy, retired DI Vincent Ruiz, lend a hand in the investigation, but they are stymied by a phantom who strikes at will and escapes with ease.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read each of Robotham's very impressive novels. When I saw that the U.S. release date of Shatter was pushed back to 2009, I ordered the British edition. It's on sale, so even with the shipping costs the final price was close to the standard, undiscounted price it will carry here.

This may well be his best to date. Reprising his top characters, psychologist Joe O'Loughlin and retired detective Vincent Ruiz, he has moved O'Loughlin from London to Somerset, near Bath. Setting is one of the things that Robotham does brilliantly, whether his characters are in northern Europe or in the sewers of London. Here, the solution of the case turns on the use of cell phone transmission technology and that requires Robotham to have a professional's knowledge of both that technology and the geography/topography of the west country in general, Bath and Bristol in particular. The results are very impressive.

He must also plausibly discuss the realities of abnormal psychology and Parkinson's disease (which afflicts O'Loughlin). Needless to say, he's up to the task. The antagonist is a military interrogator who has gone over to the dark side, utilizing his skills for evil purposes in an attempt to avenge himself upon the friends of his wife who, he believes, has betrayed him. The cat and mouse game is complicated by the fact that Joe's marriage to his wife Julianne is on the rocks and his involvement in this case not only impacts on his marriage but draws his wife and eldest daughter into the antagonist's orbit. To save his marriage and his family Joe must solve the case and find the person who talks his victims into destroying themselves.

The suspense is nonstop and the writing is expert. I stand by my earlier judgment that Robotham is the next big thing in crime and suspense writing. This was one of the top books of the summer for me (since I couldn't wait for the spring of 2009). Don't miss any of his books. Each is superb.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This sucks you in from the get-go, you can feel the action, but never anticipate what will happen... gripping stuff. Be prepared to question what happens and how you would handle the situation. At no stage do you feel there are too many words, or that what is happening cant really happen in the real world. One of the best reads I have had in a while...
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Format: Kindle Edition
I have read the first four Joe O'Loughlin novels and I loved all of them. This was my favorite. As a parent it was hard to read parts of this book, but that is what made it so intense. I highly recommend you read these novels in order. Suspect, Lost, Shatter, and Bleed for Me.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Other reviews have ably provided an outline of the plot. The main character (Joe - a psychologist with early stage parkinson's disease) is someone Robotham introduced as the chief protagonist in his debut novel. That novel(Suspect) by far was, and continues to be, his best. The two that followed (Lost and A Night Ferry) left me feeling flat, as the incisiveness and complexity, as well as the quality of the plot, were below par to Suspect (I didn't care about what went on in Lost, and A Night Ferry I struggled to finish). I am a very eclectic reader, poring through anything from your quick and dirty Grisham to the likes of Milan Kundera (right now I am reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez- a very nice read so far). I like breadth and so appreciate the right read at the right time. Therefore, I was pretty thrilled with Robotham's Suspect, since here I felt was someone who could write and tell a good, intriguing yarn. But alas, I have been disappointed with his progress.

With 'Shatter' there is some return to what initially attracted me to Robotham. The writing is still strong, and it does serve to propel the story, which moves along at a clip. However, other than the consideration of how someone can place doubts in your head that might leave you feeling helpless, it really is, in the end, a disappointing piece. We read it hoping for some invigorating revelations, as well as some intellectual sword play that leaves us satisfied and the hero victorious. I am not advocating that there be traditional endings and such, as we are all accustomed to get in the thriller/mystery genre. However, one still deserves better, when the set up (somewhat implausible, but only because it hasn't happened to you!) is so well constructed.
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