Book review: Storm Child by Michael Robotham

Tuesday, June 25, 2024 Permalink

Storm Child by Michael Robotham is the fourth in this series and though (with this) we’ve now uncovered long-buried backstories of our two lead characters, forensic psychologist Cyrus Haven and his former patient Evie Cormac, I’m very much hoping we’ll continue to see them pair up and hunt down baddies.

I initially worried I’d not enjoy this as much as usual as I’m not a fan of novels featuring white collar crime, organised crime, including people trafficking and the like – generally preferring a twisted deep-seated motive (ie. psychopathy or trauma not money) – driving my criminals, but this certainly won me over.

Book review: Storm Child by Michael RobothamStorm Child
by Michael Robotham
Series: Cyrus Haven #4
Published by Hachette Australia, Sphere
on 26/06/2024
Source: Hachette Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 073365133X
Pages: 376
four-half-stars
Goodreads

The mystery of Evie Cormac’s background has followed her into adulthood. As a child, she was discovered hiding in a secret room where a man had been tortured to death. Many of her captors and abusers escaped justice, unseen but not forgotten. Now, on a hot summer’s day, the past drags Evie back as she watches the bodies of seventeen migrants wash up on a Lincolnshire beach.

There is only one survivor, a teenage boy, who tells police their small boat was deliberately rammed and sunk. Psychologist Cyrus Haven is recruited by the police to investigate the murders—but recognizes immediately that Evie has some link to the tragedy. By solving this crime, he could finally unlock the secrets of her past. But what dark forces will he set loose? And who will pay the price?

I love this series. I liked Joe O’Loughlin but didn’t like some of the women Robotham paired him with… (*shrugs*) so I’ve preferred this series to Robotham’s earlier novels (though I do enjoy his standalones as well).

As an ex-investigative reporter Robotham’s obviously done his research – or just knows an inordinate amount about asylum seekers, refugees, people trafficking and border control. The level of detail proffered so easily here made this feel very real. As did his referencing of the Identitarian movement (those opposing globalisation and multiculturalism) and its disparate supporters.

I also liked that Robotham jumped on that asylum seeker bandwagon and included an advocate fighting for their rights, (as well as those wanting to ‘send them home’), without hitting us over the head with a sledgehammer.

I’d forgotten that Evie’s crushing on her former psychologist and guardian, now friend and love how deftly Cyrus bats this away without hurting Evie. I’d also forgotten how naïve she is and how sheltered she has been for much of her life – street smart but having missed some life basics. This novel (also) shows how much she’s grown, now willing to confront her own past if it will help other (more recent) victims and uncover buried memories and secrets.

I have spent the past three years trying to fit in and become one of the crowd. Ordinary, in every way. Invisible….

… This should make me feel like I belong, but when I look in the mirror, I see an imposter or a crisis actor. My life feels like a performance without a script, where I am expected to improvise. I don’t even know if I’m the hero or villain of my own story, or when it might be over. p 178

I did feel like it was kinda easy to guess the ultimate baddie, given we don’t have many contenders so wonder if having some chapters told from their anonymous / menacing point-of-view could have helped drive doubt and get more buy-in for their ‘reveal’. Having said that, it didn’t ultimately matter as there are many additional twists. Some bittersweet, but satisfying.

I lapped up this latest offering from Robotham, surprising myself by pausing half-way through to savour the second half, reading it in two sittings rather than one, and was reminded he’s both a masterful storyteller AND a creator of flawed yet captivating characters.

Storm Child by Michael Robotham will be published in Australia by Hachette in late June 2024.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes. 

four-half-stars

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