The Drowning Man (aka Lost)


With a bullet in his leg and an even bigger hole in his memory. He has no recollection of the shooting or how he finished in the river. The only clue is a photograph found in his pocket of Mickey Carlyle, a seven-year-old girl who went missing three years earlier. A man was convicted of her murder.

But what if the police got it wrong? Ruiz’s only hope of unravelling the puzzle is to retrace his steps and re-create the night of the shooting. Under investigation by his colleagues and accused of faking amnesia, he turns to Joe O’Loughlin, a clinical psychologist, who he hopes can unlock his memories. Step by step, they piece together a story of grief, vengeance, and the search for redemption.​

“With the velocity and wit of an American thriller and the emotional complexity and characterisation of a British mystery, the author has captured the best of the genre. If Michael Robotham isn’t a star already, he will be.”

Australian Bookseller & Publisher

“An electrifying mystery from the author whose dazzling debut, THE SUSPECT’, raised the bar for whodunits.”

Carol George, Australian Women’s Weekly

“This is a second novel by the author of SUSPECT and it’s simply terrific. If you haven’t already discovered Robotham, one of Britain ‘s best new authors, then now’s the time.”

Globe and Mail, Canada

“LOST is a whip-cracking thriller, gritty, authentic and crisply written, and with a plot that has more twists in it than a strand of barbed wire.”

Chris Brice, Adelaide Advertiser

“Robotham shows the mastery necessary to churn out a good thriller – pace, tension and chicanery – but he is also a standout writer.”

Lucy Clark, Sunday Telegraph, Sydney

“LOST is a page-turner with a lethal twist.”

The Age, Melbourne

“Vincent Ruiz is found clinging to a buoy in the River Thames. He’s been shot in the leg and is losing blood and consciousness fast. When he starts to recover he finds he’s lost his mind. Or is he feigning amnesia? Robotham tantalisingly ties the loose ends together in his second highly accomplished novel.”

Daily Mirror (UK)

“[Robotham’s] style is reminiscent of James Lee Burke with a decidedly British tinge, never fails to entertain and creates spellbinding suspense.”

The Tampa Tribune

“LOST works because Robotham doesn’t allow us hero to wave a magic wand to restore his life to order. Ruiz must work at finding answers and at every turn he is confronted by people who want him dead or discredited.”

Orlando Sentinel

“Deftly mixes sentiment and noir to create a complex mystery.”

PEOPLE Magazine

“A satisfying and intricate tale of deception, double crosses, murder and twisted familial love.”

The Miami Herald

“A first rate mystery thriller…It gets violent, dirty and dangerous. Great, satisfying stuff.”

Shots Magazine (UK)

“LOST is dark and exciting, and you will want to read it all in one sitting!”

“Tautly written, full of fine characterisation and leavened with sardonic humour, this certainly confirms Robotham as a crime writer to watch”

Manchester City Life (UK)

“With a clever plot encased in suspense, LOST is gripping to the very end.”

Peterborough Evening Telegraph (UK)

“Nail-biting tension and doses of humour go hand-in-hand [as] Robotham reaches into his character’s lives, giving them sufficient baggage and credibility…He is a real acquisition for the genre.”

Crimezone (Netherlands)

“After his surprising debut, ‘THE SUSPECT’, Michael Robotham has again produced a convincing thriller, stretching and spiritual, with beautifully drawn characters. Let’s hope we hear much more from Ruiz and O’Loughlin in the future.”

Trouw (Netherlands)

“It is useless to describe what happens in ‘LOST’ because it is a lot and always amazing. It is enough to emphasise the remarkable quality of the writing, the never decreasing tension and the continuous desire to keep reading.”

La Stampa (Italy)

“A great beautiful novel, LOST is able heighten and maintain the tension…with an exquisite inner voice and convincing multi-ethnic characters. What more can be asked of a thriller?”

Thriller Magazine (Italy)

“No one will confuse this intelligent story with the TV show of the same name…as a father, Ruiz has lost touch with his young adult children, but he can’t stop his obsessive quest ofr answers in the disappearance of a small child he has never met.”

Rocky Mountain News

“Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz returns in another edge-of-the-seat mystery. From page one, the detective’s game is on, gaining momentum. Robotham’s characters are skilfully drawn in all their human imperfections – especially the flawed but diligent Ruiz.”

“What raises this book above the mass of Anglo-American crime fiction is the figure of the searching protagonist. Vincent is not one of the your unusual superheroes, who solve one crime after another. He is driven by sheer desperation – about the world, about forgetting and about himself.”

Handelsblatt (Germany)

“His debut already cost me precious sleep. With ‘AMNESIE’ Michael Robotham demonstrates that his first wasn’t a one trick pony: His second psychothriller is once again a dense and breathtaking page-turner.”

Buch-Markt (Germany)

“…one of the best thrillers of the season, told with the right mixture of cold fear and macho-coolness. Robotham’s novel narrates the exciting journey of a passionate policeman into a dark past. And it does it so freshly that it seems as if there has never been another thriller about amnesia. How nice to discover a brilliant author, who raises hopes for more of these perfectly written thrillers.”

Tagesspiegel (Germany)

“His second book is intricate, romantic. Pure thrill.”

Die Zeit (Germany)

“…a fascinating puzzle about memory and fantasy, dream and reality….gripping until the very last minute and written with a density of language which is unusual for the thriller genre, this novel about a man caught between truth and delusion is a find in the broad field of mystery fiction.”

KrimiWel – die Bestenliste (Germany)


  • Winner of Ned Kelly Award 2005 – Best Crime Novel
  • Shortlisted for the 2006 Barry Award – Best British Novel published in the US​

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