Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


LYING BESIDE YOU by Michael Robotham: Book Review

One of the reasons that Cyrus Haven is such a skilled, empathic therapist is the almost unbelievable trauma he suffered in his own life.  When he was a young teenager, his older brother Elias killed their father, mother, and young twin sisters.  By the time Cyrus arrived home that afternoon, the deed was done, leaving Cyrus with trust and abandonment issues that have followed him through the years.

Elias was assessed to be a paranoid schizophrenic and has spent the last two decades at a secure psychiatric hospital near London.  Now, after undergoing a review by a panel of mental health professionals, he is being allowed off the hospital grounds, at first with two bodyguards, then progressing to unescorted overnight visits to Cyrus’ house, finally with the ultimate goal of living there permanently.

This naturally brings up various issues, especially for Evie Cormac, a young woman who lives in that house.  She too survived a devastating childhood and was put into foster care placements until Cyrus offered her a room in his home.  Not surprisingly, Evie has many problems, and living with Elias will definitely lead to more.

Cyrus is now working with the police as a criminal profiler, an expert on human behavior, and as such often encounters criminals and their victims.  He’s called to the scene of a murder of an elderly man and what may be the abduction of the man’s daughter Maya.  Is she too a victim of the person who murdered her father, or is she guilty of patricide?

Then Cyrus takes another person into his house.  Mitch is on parole after completing six years of an eight year sentence for sexual assault, and his parole officer has sent him to Cyrus for a consultation.  He insists he did not assault the young woman who lived in the flat above his, although his DNA was found in her bed.

By the end of the consult Cyrus offers Mitch a maintenance job at his house, and shortly after that he invites Mitch to move into one of his unused bedrooms.  Then Elias returns home to live.  With Cyrus, Evie, Elias, and now Mitch, it’s a house filled with troubled people.

Maya’s body is found, and it becomes obvious that she was killed by the same individual who killed her father.  When another young woman is reported missing, Cyrus is convinced that there’s a link between the two crimes.

The characters and the interwoven plots of Lying Beside You are skillfully and realistically drawn.  Readers will empathize with Cyrus’ desire to heal  everyone in his household, even though that may be at the cost of his own emotional health.  Even the least likable personalities in the novel have some redeeming, human quality that make them understandable, thanks to author’s writing.

Michael Robotham’s books have been translated into 25 languages.  He won the Crime Writer’s Association Gold Dagger for his 2020 mystery Good Girl, Bad Girl (reviewed on this blog) and twice won the Australian Ned Kelly Award for his novels  Lost and Shattered.  You can read more about him at this site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

2 Responses to “LYING BESIDE YOU by Michael Robotham: Book Review”

  • It sounds fascinating! Thanks for your always wonderful recommendations!

  • Marilyn Brooks says:

    Hi Teresa,

    It’s always so nice to hear from you. Do you ever feel as if there are soooo many books, so little time? I have 12 books on my bookshelf right now sent from publishers that I must read and possibly blog about. Perhaps if I stop sleeping….


Leave a Reply