Psychologist Joe O'Loughlin is back in Michael Robotham's WATCHING YOU. This suspenseful novel features Marnie Logan, who, since childhood, has had a vague feeling that she is being watched. She has never seen anyone, but now, even as a married woman with two children, the sense that she is never completely alone still haunts her.
As the novel opens, Marnie has been deserted by her journalist husband, Daniel. She has not heard from him in a year, and no activity has appeared in his bank accounts, cell phone records, credit cards, or anything else. She is in dire straights in terms of money and tries to have him declared dead so she can collect his insurance money and any other funds he has accrued. But without a death certificate, no one will release any money to her. She will have to wait seven years before he can be deemed a dead man.
"WATCHING YOU is a perfect example of [Robotham's] talent and ability to keep you up all night because you literally cannot put down his books."
This situation has put her in danger because Daniel has racked up such enormous gambling debts that the thug to whom he owes the cash is ready to destroy Marnie. The gangster in charge forces her to try to become an "escort" in his stable. She tries three times and can't do it. The third time, the "john" tells her he plans to commit suicide. She can't take his money and makes him promise that he won't take his own life. But can she believe him? Is he a "plant" to test her for the crime bosses with whom she is now tangled up?
Throughout her perils, she is a patient of Robotham's pair of sleuths: Dr. Joe O'Loughlin and his old buddy, former detective Vincent Ruiz. This won't be the first time these two have solved suspenseful mysteries in these tightly crafted narratives. O'Loughlin is very concerned and baffled by the fact that Marnie won't talk about her past, avoiding any references to her life beyond the present.
However, as she searches her own husband's office, she finds a book with her name on it that floors her. It is a compilation of Marnie's life in pictures, letters and tapes that she was supposed to get for her birthday. But the testimonials do not necessarily paint a fine picture of Marnie as seen by her friends and people she didn't know were her enemies. This information is important to O'Loughlin and Ruiz because Marnie is soon suspected of murder --- her husband's and another man. The two men helped her discover she has a dark past, one that put her in a mental institution for a time when she was younger. The fate that Marnie has lived is that most of the people who have had close relationships with her pay a big price, sometimes even losing their life. Now, O'Loughlin is the next possible casualty of the killer stalking Marnie.
Michael Robotham has been an investigative journalist and is well respected in the world of suspense, thriller and mystery fiction by his peers and readers alike. His style is to lull you for a time and then BOOM! another surprise explodes upon the page. WATCHING YOU is a perfect example of his talent and ability to keep you up all night because you literally cannot put down his books.
Reviewed by Barbara Lipkien Gershenbaum on March 14, 2014