The other wife by Michael Robotham
Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733637933
(Ages: Senior secondary-Adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Crime. Thriller. Family relationships. Those familiar with Robotham's novels will be eager to read his next Professor Joe O'Lloughlin episode. It certainly does not disappoint! His writing flows and leads the reader on but does not take the audience for granted.
Joe's life is turned upside down when his father is taken to hospital after a fall down stairs. He is in an induced coma and his outlook for recovery is bleak. On his visit to the ICU he discovers the first of a number of bombshells about his father. The first is that the person at his bedside is not his mother but his other wife of twenty years.
In trying to find the 'real' William O'Loughlin, retired eminent surgeon, distant and disapproving father, possible bigamist and leader of a double life, Joe delves into lives that he knows nothing about. His relationship with the police deteriorates as they try to persuade him to let them investigate without interference.
Ruiz as ever acts as a stabilising influence, gathering information and providing protection when needed. All his preconceptions about his family even his childhood memories seem as if they need to be recast or at least viewed from a different perspective. His own family is also vulnerable as he charges head on with finding 'truths'. His daughters, especially Emma, are fragile after the death of his wife six months before and much is left up to Charlie who has stepped in to take on some of the household duties.
Of course there is his Parkinsons which is beginning to play a larger role in the life of Joe O'Loughlin.
Joe finds the truth eventually, but not before family memories are reviewed and found wanting, old friendships are lost and his father's image is changed and tarnished, but for the better or worse he is not sure. He discovers that his father was at least human not a distant and perfect icon.