Title: Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham
Joseph O’Loughlin Series Book Eight
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
When a former student bungles a murder investigation, clinical psychologist Joseph O’Loughlin steps in to face a ruthless killer.
A mother and her teenage daughter are found murdered in a remote coastal home, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other posed like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her prince. Joe O’Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, trading on Joe’s reputation by calling himself “the Mindhunter,” jeopardizes the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.
Joe discovers a link between the farmhouse murders and a series of vicious attacks in which the victims are choked unconscious and brutally scarred. Now, Joe must stop a ruthless and brash criminal who has apparently graduated to murder.
Much to his surprise, he is ably assisted by his eldest daughter, now a keen and courageous observer of her own right. Together they must track and catch a hunter who seems to anticipates every move they make.
Close Your Eyes by Michael Robotham is another cleverly written and tightly-plotted addition to the Joseph O’Loughlin series. In this latest mystery, Joe reluctantly agrees to consult on a murder case that has been compromised by his former student who uses their tenuous connection to inveigle his way into the investigation.
With few leads and the public clamoring for an arrest, Detective Chief Superintendent Veronica “Ronnie” Cray convinces Joe to take a look at the scene of the double homicide of Elizabeth Crowe and her university bound daughter Harper. The case has stymied the detectives and Ronnie hopes Joe can see something her team has missed. With a vocal radio announcer’s incendiary remarks riling up the village residents and psychologist Emilio Coleman aka “the Mindhunter” leaking confidential information to the press, the police and Joe are under intense pressure to solve this perplexing case before the killer strikes again.
No stranger to crime scenes, Joe is stunned by the brutal attack on Elizabeth Crowe. The violence inflicted during her murder is a stark contrast to the gentle manner in which Harper was murdered and almost lovingly arranged postmortem. Joe and the police cannot help but wonder if Elizabeth’s proclivity for sex in public places (dogging) might have put her in the crosshairs of the killer but this does not explain why Harper was murdered. During the course of the investigation, a long list of suspects begins to emerge, but Joe remains troubled by the very different ways in which the two women were murdered. When another woman is murdered, there are striking similarities to the unsolved murders of Elizabeth and Harper which leaves Joe convinced the cases are linked but will he find the connection before another attack?
In the midst of consulting on this current case, Joe’s personal life takes a rather unexpected turn. Long estranged from his wife, Julianne, the two have remained on relatively friendly terms as they co-parent their daughters Charlie and Emma. With eldest daughter Charlie about to begin college, Joe is surprised when Julianne asks him to move back into the family home for the summer. He, of course, quickly agrees since he is still deeply in love with Julianne and remains hopeful they will eventually reconcile.
Written in alternating perspective from Joe’s and an unknown person’s point of view, Close Your Eyes is an intriguing and suspense-laden police procedural. With a vast pool of suspects, shocking revelations and unexpected plot twists, Michael Robotham brilliantly keeps readers guessing the perpetrator’s identity until the pulse-pounding and action-packed conclusion. The novel ends on an emotional note that will stun readers and leave them wondering about the future of the Joseph O’Loughlin series.