After the events of Suspect, our series hero, Joe O’Loughlin, who has Parkinson's disease, has retired from practising pyschology and has now taken up a supposedly safe position lecturing at a university. He and his family have also escaped London and settled in a quiet Somerset village. Joe's peace is shattered, however, when he is called in to talk a woman down off a bridge and he suspects she is not actually suicidal but a victim of an elaborate murder.
The first part of the book so obviously sets Joe up for a fall. He becomes so involved in the investigation and the victim’s family so quickly. At the same time, he is dealing with the steady progression of his Parkinson’s and his jealousy of his wife’s, Julieanne, blossoming career and his suspicision she is having an affair with one of her co-workers.
As Joe continued with the investigation, I knew something bad would happen and I thought I was prepared. But I wasn’t. Forget Joe, Robotham almost shattered me. The tension of the last third of this book was off the charts. My heart was pounding constantly and I was practically screaming out loud as I read some of the climactic scenes. As I said, I thought I knew what would happen and I was pretty much proved correct, but I didn't completely cope with all the emotions Robotham evoked. The thrills are very creepy and upsetting and, oh my, so unrelenting. Total heart in your mouth stuff.
Joe is wonderful. I’d forgotten how much I love him. I like Robotham’s new character Cyrus but he’s nowhere near as perfect as Joe. Vincent Ruiz, Joe’s detective mate and the star of the second book, Lost, returns for Shatter. I also adore him. His banter with Joe made me continually laugh out loud. Robotham introduces a new police detective, Veronica Cray, and she’s okay but nothing as great as Ruiz.
I would recommend you read Suspect and Lost before you tackle Shatter. Even if you can follow it without the background of the characters, the books are too good to skip and I continue to be in awe of Robotham’s writing. I read Shatter at the same time as Jane Harper’s Force of Nature and I have to wonder if the latter seemed a little less impressive because I was unwittingly comparing the two and especially their scenes towards the end.
I cannot recommend this series enough. I’m an absolute fangirl. Easily 5 out of 5 and my favourite read of the year so far.