Excerpt from Suspect by Michael Robotham, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Suspect

by Michael Robotham

Suspect
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 368 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2005, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


The rooftop is speckled with pigeon droppings and the slate tiles are covered in lichen and moss. The patterns look like fossilized plants pressed into the stone, but the effect is slick and treacherous.

"This probably makes no difference, Malcolm, but I think I know a little about how you're feeling," I say, trying once more to reach him. "I have a disease too. I'm not saying that it's cancer. It's not. And trying to make comparisons is like mixing apples with oranges, but we're still talking about fruit, right?"

The receiver in my right ear begins to crackle. "What in Christ's name are you doing?" says a voice. "Stop talking about fruit salad and get him inside!"

I take the earpiece out and let it dangle on my shoulder.

"You know how people always say, 'It'll be fine. Everything is going to be OK'? They say that because they can't think of anything else. I don't know what to say either, Malcolm. I don't even know what questions to ask.

"Most people don't know how to handle someone else's disease. Unfortunately, there's no book of etiquette or list of dos and don'ts. You either get the watery-eyed, I-can't-bear-it-I'm-going-to-cry look or forced jokiness and buck-up speeches. The other option is complete denial."

Malcolm hasn't responded. He's staring across the rooftops as if looking out of a tiny window high up in the gray sky. His pajamas are thin and white with blue stitching around the cuffs and collar.

Between my knees I can see three fire engines, two ambulances and half a dozen police cars. One of the fire engines has an extension ladder on a turntable. I haven't taken much notice of it until now, but I see it slowly turning and begin to slide upward. Why would they be doing that? At the same moment, Malcolm braces his back against the sloping roof and lifts himself. He squats on the edge, with his toes hanging over the gutter, like a bird perched on a branch.

I can hear someone screaming and then I realize that it's me. I'm yelling the place down. I'm wildly gesticulating for them to get the ladder away. I look like the suicidal jumper and Malcolm looks totally calm.

I fumble for the earpiece and hear pandemonium inside. The critical incident team is shouting at the chief fire officer, who is shouting at his second-in-command, who is shouting at someone else.

"Don't do it, Malcolm! Wait!" I sound desperate. "Look at the ladder. It's going down. See? It's going down." Blood is pounding in my ears. He stays perched on the edge, curling and uncurling his toes. In profile I can see his long dark lashes blinking slowly. His heart is beating like a bird's within his narrow chest.

"You see that fireman down there with the red helmet?" I say, trying to break into his thoughts. "The one with all the brass buttons on his shoulders. What do you think my chances are of spitting on his helmet from here?"

For the briefest of moments, Malcolm glances down. It's the first time he's acknowledged anything I've said or done. The door has opened a crack.

"Some people like to spit watermelon seeds or cherry pits. In Africa they spit dung, which is pretty gross. I read somewhere that the world record for spitting Kudu dung is about thirty feet. I think Kudu is a kind of antelope but don't quote me on that. I prefer good old-fashioned saliva and it's not about distance; it's about accuracy."

He's looking at me now. With a snap of my head I send a foaming white ball arcing downward. It gets picked up by the breeze and drifts to the right, hitting the windshield of a police car. In silence I contemplate the shot, trying to work out where I went wrong.

"You didn't allow for the wind," Malcolm says.

Excerpted from Suspect by Michael Robotham Copyright © 2005 by Michael Robotham. Excerpted by permission of Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.