Monday, 20 May 2013

Say You're Sorry by Michael Robotham

Say You're Sorry is Michael Robotham's eighth novel (and the first one of his eight books I have read).

It starts with an intriguing introduction:
"My name is Piper Hadley and
I went missing on the last Saturday of the summer holidays three years ago..."
From page one, you get captivated by this roller coaster of a book with the intricate nail-biting and scary twists galore.

Best friends Tash and Piper go missing. The last time anyone remembers seeing them, they were enjoying themselves at the Bingham fair. "As days passed, the media storm blew through Bingham". After a long extensive search, the police failed to find them, so most people presume they have run away.

Three years later, a couple has been found brutally slaughtered in their farmhouse.

The book is narrated by two protagonists: one is the clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin, who helps the Oxford police to look into the farmhouse murders and eventually into the disappearance of the Bingham girls which happened three years earlier, and Piper Hadley who writes her diaries in captivity and talks to herself.

As I don't want to spoil the plot for you, I only want to say that it moves at fast speed and kept me guessing to the last pages. Michael Robotham says in Acknowledgements "Do you know how many people have taken me to bed", which is absolutely true in my case. It's an absolutely gripping page-turner, which I just couldn't put down, I tried to finish the book late in the night (or should I say early hours of the morning?), and then could not sleep as I kept thinking about what I read. So, this first-rate thriller should come with a warning: a sleepless night is guaranteed.

As many events take place in Oxfordshire, I could recognise all the mentioned locations, and that added an extra flavour for me.
Many years ago, when I just got married and settled in Oxford, some of my Mum's friends were asking her why would I choose to live in Oxford, which is such a "deadly" place (that is their knowledge of Oxford was based purely on Inspector Morse). I guess this book would have added to their perception of how dangerous Oxford is.
But clearly Oxford in this book is just a metaphor of any town. You might think nothing happens in smaller communities, it's not like it is a huge megalopolis where people do not know their nearest neighbours. But of course, behind each serene dignified and almost somnolent facade there might be horrors and secrets hidden that you have no idea about.

If you enjoy compelling and shocking narratives, this is a book for you.

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