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When She Was Good (Cyrus Haven) Hardcover – July 28, 2020
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“[A] powerhouse of a novel… The whole enterprise is enriched by wonderfully cadenced prose that almost invites one to feel its texture. It's rare to be overawed by the writing in scenes of violence and danger, but...this one's a jewel, and readers who don't know Robotham should immediately catch up.” —Booklist, STARRED review
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In WHEN SHE WAS GOOD we have several goals—first and foremost to protect Evie from the murderers of the individual (Terry Boland) with whom she was living. We would then, presumably, learn the nature of their relationship. The corollary is our learning who Evie Cormac actually is. Why was her abuser or protector killed? How did she get to Nottingham? What is her real name? What is her personal backstory?
This is all complicated by the fact that while Evie trusts Cyrus she is also a feisty survivor in her mid-late teen years (her actual age is another part of the mystery). Hence she can be snarky and difficult. If she were not, at least to some degree, she would probably be dead by now.
The chapters shift between 'Cyrus' chapters and 'Evie' chapters, with each speaking in their own first-person voices. With the murderers still out there, the tale is one of escape/investigation. This makes for a dynamic story line.
Bottom line: Michael Robotham is now one of our modern masters, holding his own in the Kellerman, Connelly, Child league and, at moments, in the James Lee Burke rank. His sense of setting has always been strong but now we have additional killer one-liners, often philosophic reflections on the human condition. The plotting is superb, the characters very memorable. There is some adult language, some violence but no explicit sex. The ending is satisfying, the novel a 5-star success.
If you have not yet discovered Michael Robotham (he lives in Sydney, though he knows England like the back of his hand) you have a great treat ahead of you. Actually you have 15 treats ahead of you. Relish them.
I loved Good Girl, Bad Girl And couldn’t wait for this second book. And OMG! I was not disappointed.
I fell in love with both Cyrus and Evie in book 1. They are both broken characters due to the things that have happened to them in their childhood and that has left them both with not only physical scars but emotional ones as well. I especially loved Evie and wanted more on what happened to her and who she really was. And boy did I get in this book. My heart broke for her. And I had a few tears in my eyes as I was reading what she went through.
In this book, a retired cop is found dead in what is supposed to look like a suicide. But turns out he was murdered. He was looking into a closed case of a child rapist ( who had died in prison) When Cyrus is called in he sees “Angle Face” (aka Evie) among the list of children’s names this cop had. This sets into motion Cyrus trying to find out how Evie is connected to all this and uncover who she really is and what happened to her. And it is a race against the clock, because whoever it was that had Evie, wants to find her and silence her before she says anything.
I cannot stress enough how much I loved both of these characters. Even after all these years Cyrus is still haunted by the murder of his sisters and parents, at the hands of his brother. That makes him such a vulnerable character, but also a protector of Evie. And while he does makes mistakes with her, he will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.
We find out all about Evie in this book. And OMG! What she went through. I just wanted to jump into the book and hug her (both her adult self and her child self). My heart broke for her as we learned everything that happened. It is a no wonder she does not like to be touched and does not trust anyone, especially men. And also because she has this ability where she can tell when people are lying. So even if someone is lying for a good reason she can tell and it just adds to her trust issues. About the only one she trusts is Cyrus. And she even has some issues with him.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole time reading. My heart would not stop racing because I was so afraid something was going to happen to Cyrus or Evie. The tension kept on picking up as the booked moved along. And the End, Oh how I loved the end. Didn’t see it coming but did make me go ‘Yes!”
I also really liked Cyrus' BF/tattooist Badger and also Sasha (the cop who found Evie 7 years ago). There were a lot of secondary players in this book where it pertained to who was involved with what happened to Evie, and I did get confused at times on who was who. But other than that I loved this book. I really hope there is going to be more books in this series. Cyrus and Evie both still have a lot of healing to do and I look forward to going through that with them.
Just a note: this book deals with child rape and abuse. Nothing graphic, but it is there and you can feel for what the children are going through.
Now seventeen and living in Langford Hall, a secure unit for children, Evie knows it is her anonymity that keeps her safe and has always reused to give the police her real name or talk about what happened to her. Criminal psychologist Cyrus Haven first met Evie some months before when he was asked to assess her and although they have become friends, she has still refused to talk to him about her past. However, called in to an investigation of the death of a retired detective, Cyrus discovers a connection with Evie in an old case the detective was re-investigating and as serious danger arrives on Evie’s doorstep, she reluctantly starts talking to him about her past.
While readers will all have an inkling of what happened to Evie as a young child, the details are harrowing and even the police can’t protect Evie against the criminals now looking for her because of the secrets she possesses. Robotham ramps up the tension as Cyrus tries to find the criminal ring involved in Evie’s past with the help of his friend DI Lenny Pavel and best mate, Badger. His plotting is tight and makes for an addictive and suspenseful read. Along the way Evie fills in some details of her childhood and family and we also learn more of Cyrus’ tragic past.
Evie and Cyrus are both such interesting and complex characters that I hope we'll be seeing more of them in the future as I'm really looking forward to seeing what Robotham has next in store for them.