Joe O’Loughlin, protagonist of Michael Robotham’s acclaimed O’Loughlin series, was kind enough to stop by the office today on a connecting flight to Bouchercon, where he’s meeting Robotham to promote his newest, SAY YOU’RE SORRY. We’re happy to report that not only is Joe a beacon of morality in dark times, he’s also a really cool guy, and was kind enough to jot down the below recollection which appeared in the UK edition of his first appearance SUSPECT, but was cut for the US edition.
SAY YOU’RE SORRY, which Kirkus calls “subtle, smart, compelling and blessed with both an intelligent storyline and top-notch writing,” is now available in bookstores everywhere.
Sunday morning is normally my time. I bury myself under the combined weight of four newspapers and drink coffee until my tongue feels furry. But today is different. The calendar says so. My memory serves me well.
Charlie is rugged up in jeans, skivvy and a ski jacket because I’ve promised she can come with me today. After gulping down her breakfast, she watches me impatiently – convinced that I’m deliberately drinking my coffee more slowly.
When it’s time to load up the car, we carry the cardboard boxes from the garden shed, along the side path and put them next to my old Metro. The boxes are so light I can balance three on top of each other. Charlie makes do with one at a time.
Julianne is sitting on the front steps with a cup of coffee resting on her knees.
‘You’re both mad, you know that?’
‘And you’ll get arrested.’
‘And that’s going to be your fault.’
‘Why is it my fault?’
‘Because you won’t come with us. We need a getaway driver.’
Charlie pipes up. ‘C’mon, Mum. Dad said you used to.’
‘That’s when I was young and foolish and I wasn’t on the Committee at your school.’
‘Do you realise, Charlie, that on my second date with your mother she was arrested for scaling a flag-pole and taking down the South African flag.’
Julianne scowls. ‘Don’t tell her that!’
‘Did you really get arrested?’
‘I was cautioned. It’s not the same thing.’
There are four boxes on the roof racks, two in the boot and two on the back seat. Fine beads of sweat, like polished glass, are decorating Charlie’s top lip. She slips off her ski jacket and tucks it between the seats.
I turn back to Julianne. ‘Are you sure you won’t come? I know you want to.’
‘Who’s going to post bail for us?’
‘Your mother will do that.’
Her eyes narrow, but she puts her coffee cup inside the door. ‘I’m doing this under protest.’
She holds out her hand for the car keys. ‘And I’m driving.’
She grabs a jacket from the coat rack in the hallway and pulls the door shut. Charlie squeezes herself between boxes on the back seat and leans forward excitedly.
‘Tell me the story again,’ she asks, as we swing into light traffic along Prince Albert Road, alongside Regent’s Park. ‘And don’t leave anything out just because Mum’s here.’
I tell people that the reason I became a psychologist is because I wanted to know what Julianne was really thinking – but that’s not true. The real reason was great aunt Gracie, who died at the age of eighty, having spent sixty years never setting a foot outside her house. Continue reading ›