What would cause a man to escape from prison one day before he is to be released? A perplexing question seeing that if caught escaping he faces another 20-25 years behind bars.
Audie Palmer does just that. After 10 years in jail, subject to constant physical and mental harassment, and without telling anyone Audie escapes. He was imprisoned after being caught at a holdup of an armored car carrying seven million dollars in which four people were killed. He pleaded guilty to participation in the crime and a plea bargain sent him away for the 10 years. During the robbery he was shot in the head by police arriving at the scene but survived after months in the hospital.
Michael Robotham, in a mesmerizing novel, answers the questions posed and treats his readers to an excellent read. The seven million dollars stolen from the armored car never reappeared and Audie is suspected of knowing where it is. Moreover, the cash is old bills, unmarked and destined for destruction by the authorities as a normal activity to keep the money supply clean. This means that it is easily spendable and untraceable. The armored car company has a contract to collect these bills from several banks at set periods and transport them to the site where they will be burned.
Robotham fleshes out the characters involved in his book quite well. Audie is a complex individual with a very high I.Q. who thinks things out and does not act rashly. We meet the authorities chasing him and learn to understand their motives in what is happening. This is definitely a book to finish in one sitting in order to satisfy the interest in what is really happening. Easily a five star novel and one that, if the reader has not read a book by Michael Robotham yet, will make sure that his future writings are anticipated and obtained.
3/15 Paul Lane
LIFE OR DEATH by Michael Robotham. Mulholland Books (March 10, 2015). ISBN: 978-0316252058. 432p.