Say You’re Sorry by Michael Robotham
Teen girls Piper Hadley and Tash McBain suddenly disappear and become infamously known as the Bingham girls. Readers are introduced to Piper at the beginning of the novel, so are aware she’s still alive. Tash’s status is up in the air since she broke free to find help after three years of captivity by the guy they nicknamed “George”.
Robotham immediately jumps from the introduction of the girls’ mysterious disappearance to Joe O’Loughlin and his daughter, Charlie, traveling to Oxford so he can speak at a conference. During the trip they see a dead body being pulled from the lake, but it is a different crime scene that requires Joe to use his psychological skills. A couple was found dead at their farmhouse, and a local man named Auggie Shaw, who has mental and psychological issues, was found at the scene (though he professes his innocence).
Joe does a profile of Auggie, but the local detectives aren’t pleased that Joe isn’t 100% on board with Auggie’s guilt. When he finds out the farmhouse was where Tash McBain’s parents lived when she disappeared, and Auggie claims to have seen a young woman without shoes on the road after leaving the farmhouse, Joe decides to do a little more probing. He is shocked to discover Tash was the body pulled from the lake.
Even though Joe wants nothing more to do with the case, he and Vincent Ruiz are brought in to aid the investigation to try and save Piper if she’s still alive.
While readers are well aware Piper’s alive, because of the interspersed scenes of her with George after Tash’s escape, the urgency for her to be found is as strong for us as it is for Joe and Vincent. George is evil and calculating, and you can’t wait to see if Piper can be rescued.
I’d never read a Joe O’Loughlin book before, so I assume there are some bits and pieces of history I didn’t catch up on, but I never felt like I was an outsider in an exclusive club. Robotham does an excellent job making all the characters real and approachable for any reader.
I would recommend adding this book to your shelves for those patrons who enjoy a fast-paced mystery and don’t shy away from shudder-causing references or scenes (those with a delicate stomach, be warned).
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