We’re nearly half-way through the Crime Fiction Alphabet and I’m highlighting my favourite book by former Australian ghost-writer turned crime fiction author Michael Robotham. It’s the second of Robotham’s four loosely related books which feature several of the same characters but in each one a different person takes centre stage. Lost opens with Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz having been shot and nearly drowned in the Thames. He has also lost his memory of the previous days in which critical events took place in a kidnapping case that has tormented him for three years.
Obviously amnesia isn’t a new plot device but it’s used with great skill here. The way Ruiz re-creates the events conveys his frustration and fear beautifully. The story cracks along at a rapid pace while at the same time including detail and back story where necessary so that the characters are wonderfully complex. Robotham is a dab hand at getting to the nub of writing people because even minor characters that only appear for a page or two are so perfectly depicted that you quickly develop a real sense of them. For fans of Robotham’s earlier novel, Suspect, this book provides an enjoyable opportunity to meet up with Joe O’Loughlin again, although this time he is more competent professional than the rattled major-crime suspect he was in the earlier outing.
Michael Robotham takes risks with his crime writing and while it doesn’t always pay off equally well I applaud his approach. Rather than sticking with what can be formulaic series-writing he tries new things and makes each book different from its predecessor and, as someone who has tired of many series due to their predictability, I really appreciate that.
You can read the first chapter of Lost at Michael Robotham’s website.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My previous entries in the Crime Fiction Alphabet are
- A is for Absolution [Caro Ramsay]
- B is for Bones [Jan Burke]
- C is for Contest [Matthew Reilly]
- D is for Deadlock [Sara Paretsky]
- E is for Entombed [Linda Fairstein]
- F is for Fortress [Gabrielle Lord]
- G is for Gambit [Rex Stout]
- H is for Heartsick [Chelsea Cain]
- I is for Inheritance [Keith Baker]
- J is for Jigsaw [Anthea Fraser]
- K is for Kisscut [Karin Slaughter]