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Bleed for Me (Joseph O'Loughlin) Paperback – September 18, 2012
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*Starred Review* This remarkable novel offers everything those literary detective novels ought to but usually don’t. The prose is beautiful but understated, with no striving for style. The characters are bright, funny, and touching. Ideas are entertained—entertaining, too—and psychological insights are included. And, oh yes, it’s also one helluva crime story, with suspense, chases, deductions, and startling revelations in the last pages. The hero is psychologist Joe O’Loughlin, whose career in Bath, England, is forever getting sidetracked by problems with health, women, children, cops, and most recently, a blood-soaked neighbor girl who appears on his doorstep. His attempts to help her by exploring her memories parallel the steps in a criminal investigation and, in fact, lead to a nasty assortment of child abusers, sexual predators, and a blackmailer. Sounds grim, but the effect is exhilarating because the writing is so good, the plotting so clever and well thought-out. Robotham really cares about his creations. He seems to laugh and hurt right along with them. This is crime fiction of the highest order. --Don Crinklaw --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
"This remarkable novel offers everything those 'literary' detective novels ought to but usually don't. This is crime fiction of the highest order."―Booklist (starred review)
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Bleed For Me is too cliched. The teenager who is a cutter, the drama teacher who seduces girls, the last minute heroics of the main character, Joe O’Loughlin. The story lacks consistency as one minute Joe can hardly move, then we find him chasing down somebody. The late revelation of how is daughter is involved nullifies Joe’s supposed ability to figure things out.
The police reluctance to dig as deeply as they should stretches believability, but does allow our hero to do his work. The cover has a quote from the San Francisco Chronicle that says, “A novel that appeals as both a thriller and a literary read…” The lack of surprises makes it difficult to call this a thriller and while Robotham can write, this is far from being literary.
This one gets two stars, and I can only hope the next novel in the series is a thrill ride.
Bleed for Me is a Joe O'Loughlin book, with an extended appearance by Vincent Ruiz. O'Loughlin is a psychologist living in Bath, teaching part-time. He is afflicted by Parkinson's and his marriage has disintegrated. Ruiz is a retired copper from the Met. He and O'Loughlin's paths crossed in the past and they make an exceptional team, the one blunt and physical, the other more cerebral and frail.
In Bleed for Me Joe's daughter's best friend has been accused of murdering her father. She appears to be the victim of abuse, perhaps at the hands of her father, perhaps at the hands of a charismatic but unctuous teacher. Simultaneously, Joe's wife Julianne is translating (literally) at the trial of three skinhead types, accused of firebombing the home of a family of asylum seekers. As Joe investigates, it appears that the cases are related, principally because of the appearance of a prison-tear-tattooed thug called 'the crying man'.
This is a long book, but the pages fly by, even though much of the plot is character-driven and the atmospherics are very textured. Robotham combines the British (Val McDermid, e.g.) tendency toward more leisurely narratives, filled with description and undergirded by a strong sense of place with the more urgent ethos of the American crime and suspense novel. While that appears to be a contradiction, readers of Robotham will know what I mean. He manages to capitalize on the strengths of each narrative style.
While the plot of Bleed for Me is complex, the narrative is easy to follow, the characters are clearly differentiated and the ending is very satisfying, though the mood is somber and world-weary. This is top crime fiction. If you have not yet discovered Michael Robotham, prepare for a wonderful experience.
The story is a mystery in which Joe is set on finding out who really killed a former police officer. The best friend of Joe's youngest school aged daughter, Charlie, is the accused. Joe is asked to write a psychological report on the accused, Sienna, and his resulting suspicions are very disturbing. The overall story was tense and emotional. It was also an uneasy story since it deals with child predators. There is plenty of drama, action, mystery and suspense. There is also a lesson to be told regarding cherishing the "firsts" in life. Beautifully told.
Robotham is an exceptional story teller and I was drawn into the story on page 1 and didn't want to let go. A great discovery!
Michael Robotham’s books do not disappoint. You will grow to love the characters as if they are your own family and share their pain with him. The plot is enthralling but it really is the character development that makes or breaks a crime novel. And Michael Robotham definitely makes it!!