When You Are Mine, by Michael Robotham

I found this book slow initially, but once I'd reached halfway, I couldn't put it down.

I found this book slow initially. I realise now it was gearing up and once I reached halfway, I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up late one night reading the second half, and when I checked the time, it was almost midnight with two chapters to go. I made myself put it away because I knew I’d be too tired to enjoy the remaining chapters.

The Blurb:

“Philomena McCarty has defied the odds to become a promising young officer with the Metropolitan Police despite being the daughter of a notorious London gangster. Called to the scene of a domestic assault, she rescues a bloodied young woman, Tempe Brown, the mistress of a decorated detective. The incident is hushed up, but Phil has unwittingly made a dangerous enemy who has powerful friends.

Determined to protect each other, the two women strike up a tentative friendship. Tempe is thoughtful and sweet and makes herself indispensable to Phil, but sinister things keep happening and something isn’t quite right about the stories Tempe tells. When a journalist with links to Phil’s father and to the detective is found floating in the Thames, Phil doesn’t know where to turn, who to blame or who she can trust.”

The review:

When You Are Mine has everything I love in crime fiction. Compelling characters, drama, nail-biting tension, plot twists, and that yes! moment when justice is served. Themes of police corruption, domestic violence, protecting your own, and family are all present in this one.

The characters

It is a character-driven story, so that’s where I’ll start. First, I love Phil’s gangster uncles. For me, they are the brief comedic interlude who give a sense of security and loyalty that comes from a loving family, even if Phil tries her best to keep her distance. Phil is a good person, haunted by her father’s reputation. She is strong and determined, and doesn’t she love stirring the pot, and stayed strong right till the end. Even so, there was a moment at that end, when my thoughts were, ‘What the hell? You’ve given in too easily.’

 I liked the way Tempe, damsel in distress come friend, was written. I don’t know anyone like her, thank goodness, but I could relate to her personality. I felt sorry for her but wanted to run from her as fast as I could. Phil’s friends’ reaction to Tempe is typical of best friends who wonder about this new friend. The police officers, including Goodall, were as I imagined they would be. Some are corrupt, and those who are not are unwilling to put their jobs on the line. There is a moment towards the end where I wondered if one of the characters, a police officer, has a personality change, considering his attitude earlier and especially as more information is revealed about him later. It left me feeling a little confused, and I thought it was out of character. Maybe that’s just me.

The Plot –

The plot at first worried me. Not because it was bad, more because it scared me. The decorated detective, Darren Goodall, is a brute and a womanising woman beating a-hole. (The P-word was more fitting, but I toned it down.) Everybody loves him and those that don’t – fear him. I don’t like to see anyone victimised because they want to do what’s right. But it was that very plot point that kept me reading. Thankfully, the subplots provided relief from Goodall and created separate trauma for Phil (and me) to cope with.

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