Michael Robotham’s latest thriller, Close Your Eyes, is a brilliant nail biter that’s up there with the best in the contemporary field. Robotham has established himself as one of Australia’s top crime writers, and with this new release, he’s not jumping down from that pedestal any time soon.
Set in the UK, the story begins when a mother and her teenage daughter are found brutally murdered in their remote farmhouse. However, while the mother has been stabbed multiple times, the same level of violence was not used on the daughter, who has been left in a sleep-like position. In need of a profile of the killer, police call upon clinical psychologist O’Loughlin for help. At first, he’s reluctant – he has some personal issues to do with his family – but when a former student, Milo, who’s building a reputation as the ‘Mindhunter’ jeopardises the police inquiry, Joe feels he has little choice. Before long, he’s been sucked into the vortex of a complex case that includes sleazy sex games, multiple suspects, more brutal attacks in which the letter ‘A’ is carved into the victims’ foreheads, and threats against those he loves the most.
In Close Your Eyes, Robothom cleverly ties together a complex and unpredictable storyline that never fails to keep readers guessing. It also manages to be touching and moving, through a contrast in relationships maintained (or not) by Joe and the killer. Joe, who’s estranged from his wife but moves back into the family home at her request, is trying to rebuild a relationship with his wife and daughters, to bridge the distance caused by a mistake he made some years earlier. The investigation hinders this – his wife doesn’t want him to get involved – and ultimately puts the ones he loves at risk. The last few chapters are beautifully done … and that’s all I can say about them. Tissues may even have been involved and that’s not common with a crime novel. By comparison, the killer, as the reader sees, has a lot of baggage that motivates and incites his violence. His relationships are smoke and mirrors, and that just adds to the chill factor. The character development is spot on, on all counts.
Fantastic writing, a challenging but impressively nutted out storyline, and oodles of chills and thrills, makes Close Your Eyes a must read for thriller lovers. You’ll want to close your eyes at time, but trust me on this, don’t. Michael, I’ve read your two previous books, but I’m going to be chasing your backlist now.
Available from good bookstores. My copy was courtesy of Hachette Australia.
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David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television