Title: Bleed for Me
Author: Michael Robotham
Release Date: February 27, 2012
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Crime Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Joe O’Loughlin is a psychologist whose marriage has fallen apart. He adores his teenage daughter, Charlie, and doesn’t think much of it when Charlie’s troubled friend Sienna seems to spend more time at his house than at her own. But when Sienna shows up at Joe’s front door, covered in blood, he knows that he was wrong to not question things. It turns out that Sienna’s father, a police officer, has been murdered, and the police are looking at Sienna as the prime suspect. Joe decides to get involved in the case in order to clear Sienna’s name.
Bleed for Me is the fourth novel in Michael Robotham’s Joe O’Loughlin series, though I wasn’t aware of that when I started this book. In fact, it’s so well written and the characters are so well-developed that I didn’t even realize it was part of a series until I was sitting down to write the review. It functions fabulously as a standalone novel, and though I will be going back to read the previous books in the series, there is no need to do so before starting this book.
Joe O’Loughlin is a fascinating character. He suffers from Parkinson’s disease, though the symptoms are manageable through medication at this point. He includes some fascinating information about the disease that those not overly familiar with it might find interesting. What made me like Joe the most is that he didn’t treat his disease as a death sentence. He continues to work, and though he clearly wasn’t thrilled at the prospect of losing all control over his motor functions one day, he doesn’t let that stop him from living a full life. Of course, he might deal with the aftermath of the diagnosis in a previous book, but I was very surprised at how well-adjusted he was, considering how difficult Parkinson’s must be.
This novel focuses on the ease of older men preying on teenage girls, and it does so in a frightening way. The most normal-seeming people might have ulterior, dark motives. While Robotham doesn’t try to unnecessarily scare his reader with how vulnerable young girls are, he does definitely make them think about the issue. Sienna is clearly damaged, and what Joe uncovers when he is digging into her past trying to clear her name is disturbing, to say the least. Those with teenage daughters will likely want to hold them close after reading Bleed for Me.
The story is fast-paced and very intriguing; Robotham does an excellent job writing a believable, engaging story that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end. Bleed for Me is not predictable, and the twists and turns are fascinating. This is a book you want to pay close attention to while reading, as the author scatters clues through the novel that readers can puzzle out and interpret. It makes for a really incredible read, one that will keep readers guessing.
I can’t say enough great things about Bleed for Me; it has well-developed, three-dimensional characters and a gripping storyline, along with real issues that we are facing today. It’s a dark novel, to be sure, but not a depressing one, as readers are reminded that, for every predator out there, there’s at least one Joe O’Loughlin trying to make things right.