Monday, February 20, 2012
"Bleed for me" by Michael Robotham
I requested this book from Netgalley to read and review. Shortly afterward I noticed that it was part of a series. For some reason Netgalley doesn't ever mention if a book is part of a series or not, so I had no idea. So I thought, well, if this is book four, then perhaps I should just decline it, since I haven't read the previous installments. But then I re-read the summary and was left with the impression that the plot of the story wouldn't depend on previous events.
Fortunately for me, that held to be true.
I was glad I made the decision to read it, because even though the book was lengthy, it proved to be entertaining and really good. It didn't lose my attention throughout the whole time. The mystery and suspense were on a really high level that kept me wanting to turn the page again and again.
"Bleed for me" is not a murder story, although there are more than a couple of corpses for investigation. It isn't the story of a psychopath who lures nothing suspecting girls into his schemes, though there's plenty of that. Nor is it the story of racial inequality in the UK.
"Bleed for me" is rather the story of Joe O'Loughlin - a college professor in psychology - post the time when he and his wife got separated and moved out to live in a village near Bristol. He's suffering the Parkinson's disease, taking medications that seem to become less and less efficient. Still, Joe keeps his sense of humor, dark it may be, and jokingly refers to his illness as Mr. Parkinson.
He's also passionate about knowing people in the depth of their psyche. And he's really good at it. It doesn't take him long to cut and paste a personality from just a couple of encounters and he's admirably accurate in his patient profiles. That's why he's well respected and sought after by the police.
I was pleasantly surprised by all the effort Joe put into his work. He'd go to any lengths to prove a person innocent or guilty. Sometimes he puts his own life at stake and others suffer for it. But in the end, no criminal or victim could escape his eagle eye.
The loyalty of his friends was striking. For who would ever mortgage their house just to pay a friend's bail? Surely, the candidates aren't many. Still, even one is enough when it's the right person.
I was really sad about Joe's circumstances. Not only because of his illness, but also because of his family situation. He missed his children and his wife, spent hours outside their house just to watch them and make sure they were alright. And he got nothing in return. I got the feeling that his wife abandoned him because he got sick. Aren't wedding vows sacred? Don't they state "in sickness and health"? And still she decided to protect herself from the pain it would cause her to lose him, rather than have him by her side for as long as he's alive. That's just plain wrong. She really, truly irritated me. Playing all saintly and caring, when it was herself that she wanted to protect. It was selfish and despicable. And truth is, he still loved her.
My favorite character had to be Vincent Ruiz. The friend in need, who really is a friend indeed (in deed as well). A retired cop, he's still got his mojo. A brilliant detective with a knack of things, he's definitely someone to want to be on the good side of. He's gentle and passionate, but can be ruthless as well. I loved him. Especially when I saw how caring he was towards a murder victim's parents.
Sienna was a broken little thing. I bled with her as she retold her story. A 13 year old, abused at home, then a teacher takes full advantage of her weakened mind. That was beyond anything I'd read so far, and it really stirred me. I wonder, how many children suffer things like that? How many enter life emotionally broken and dysfunctional? What if a child next door is one of them???
This was a happy end story, though through it all, does the death of one murderer, or the jail sentence of another, really mean a happy end for the victims? Some are dead, some are damaged for life. So, where is the happy end?
My rating is a definite