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A book by Michael Robotham

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Ruiz is London's very own Harry Bosch

  • Aug 12, 2010
Michael Robotham is definitely an author who bears watching!

DI Vincent Ruiz, debuted as a supporting cast member in Robotham's first novel, "Suspect", is rescued from the Thames wounded, bleeding, hypothermic and a good deal more dead than alive. Suffering from transient global amnesia brought on by the trauma of the night's events, Ruiz is initially unable to recall anything at all about what he was doing on a motor launch cruising the Thames in the middle of the night. But it's clear that something very important was going down as he is immediately harassed by Internal Affairs who are treating him more like a criminal than a police officer wounded in the line of duty. With what few clues are available about the shooting and with the help of psychiatrist Joe O'Loughlin, Ruiz begins to painstakingly reconstruct his memories and to pick up the threads of his search for the truth about the kidnapping of seven year old Mickey Carlyle.

Ruiz quickly discovers he is the only detective who believes in the possibility that Mickey Carlyle is still alive despite the conviction and imprisonment of Harlan Wavell, a sexual predator convicted three years earlier for the kidnapping and murder. A blue wall of official obstruction is erected in the path of Ruiz's investigation as the department believes that Ruiz's efforts may lead to the possibility of the killer's release on a technicality. The painful Byzantine process of re-constructing the investigation and filling in the blanks of his memory loss piece by painful piece leads Ruiz on a tortuous path through London and Europe - down through the sewers of London and back into the river Thames; into the repulsive thoughts of a "grooming pedophile"; into a confrontation with Russian crime-lord, Alexei Kuznet, who is looking to recover a cache of diamonds worth over two million pounds; and even to London and Thailand's drug and sex sub-cultures.

Despite a plot with lots of twists and turns and a surprise ending that very few readers will suspect before it actually arrives, much of the quality of Robotham's "Lost" is cerebral - atmosphere, characterization, dialogue and psychology - the scion of a loving marriage between a police procedural and a psychological thriller. Those readers searching for comparisons need look no further than Michael Connelly's successful Harry Bosch novels. Like Bosch, Ruiz is a dark, brooding, mature hero with an in-your-face attitude who's toting lots of mental baggage! But I was also pleased to find that Robotham did not neglect to fill in the story with some very interesting technical asides - transient global amnesia; the complex engineering of London's vast and ancient sewer system; the police treatment of kidnapping and ransom demands; some peeks into Sikh family culture, and more.

Most enjoyable and definitely recommended. One tiny tip - if you haven't yet read "Suspect", go find it first and enjoy both!

Paul Weiss

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August 12, 2010
Ooh, a new author to check out. Very enticing review, Paul!
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Paul Weiss ()
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   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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Det. Insp. Vincent Ruiz (a supporting character in Robotham's debut,Suspect) is hauled out of the Thames with a bullet wound in his leg and no memory of a shooting, let alone how he wound up in the water in Robotham's fine, moody second thriller. Keebal, a nasty cop from internal affairs, hounds Ruiz from the start, and everyone seems to know something Ruiz doesn't. When psychologist Joe O'Loughlin (the protagonist ofSuspect) shows Ruiz a picture of young Mickey Carlyle—a seven-year-old girl kidnapped three years earlier whom everyone but Ruiz thinks is dead—he figures there must be some connection between her case and his shooting. Despite his injuries, Ruiz retraces this investigation with the help of his partner, a young Sikh woman named Ali. The past returns in dribs and drabs and none too gently. Mickey is the daughter of a Russian-born crime lord, Aleksei Kuznet; a cache of diamonds and a man known as a "grooming paedophile" also figure prominently in the splintered plot. The warm relationship between Ruiz and Joe, who suffers from Parkinson's, counterpoints the main story line's grit. Robotham works some good wrinkles into Ruiz's relationship with Ali and an empathetic nurse, too. The result is a thoughtful and subtle thriller, with convincing, three-dimensional characters.(Feb.)
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ISBN-10: 0307275485
ISBN-13: 978-0307275486
Author: Michael Robotham
Publisher: Vintage

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