Thursday 12 December 2019

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath @mcgrathmj @HQstories #TheGuiltyParty #BookReview

On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble. They decide to do nothing to help.
Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.
But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?
And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath was published in paperback by HQ on 27 June 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

The Guilty Party is an intricately and cleverly plotted story, populated with characters who will test the boundaries of most readers. Personally, I love a despicable character, I think it's an extremely talented author who can create people who we dislike, but who we are interested in enough to continue reading.

I also like something of a moral question to answer myself, and this novel certainly throws up a 'what would you do' for readers. I found myself outraged by the decisions made by these characters, yet morbidly fascinated by their reasons for doing, or not doing, what they did.

The story begins as four friends attend a music festival. There's a bit of a fight and some bruising and bloodshed, but it's the event that they witness as they leave that is the shocker. A woman is sexually assaulted, possibly raped, in a dingy alley, and not one of these people intervene.
Nor do they do anything afterwards.

The lead voice of this novel is Cassie; one of the group. She's a little different from her three friends; Anna, Bo and Dex. Those three come from a more privileged background, and certainly have a huge sense of self-entitlement. Cassie lives a very different life, yet hangs on to this friendship group tightly.

This author gives an insight into the minds of these characters so very well. She reveals, piece by piece, details about each one of them that enables the reader to understand their behaviours, even if we don't approve.

Deliciously flawed characters in a wonderfully complex and utterly compelling plot. This story poses many questions of the reader. It's a captivating and suspenseful story that is satisfying, intriguing and page-turning.

Mel is a bestselling and award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. As MJ McGrath she writes the Edie Kiglatuk series of Arctic mysteries, currently in development for TV. As Mel McGrath she writes the bestselling psychological thrillers Give Me The Child and The Guilty Party. And as Melanie McGrath she writes critically acclaimed nonfiction. She has been shortlisted for the James Tait Black Award for Biography, the Andre Simon Awards and Fortnum and Mason Awards for Best Food Book and the HWA Gold Crown for Best History Book. She has also twice been long listed for the CWA Gold Dagger for Best Crime Book. Her work has been translated into more than twenty languages. She is a cofounder of the Killer Women author group and co-curates the annual Killer Women Festival of Crime Writing and Drama in London.

Mel was born in Essex and has lived in the UK, Germany, the US and Nicaragua. She has been lucky enough to travel widely, including to the Arctic and the Madagascan Rain Forest. She is now based in London and on the Kent coast. In 2005 she set up a charity to help provide medical care for children in Central America. She has worked in a number of prisons, including Holloway women's prison and is currently a mentor for women who have been sex trafficked.

In other lives, she has been a journalist and TV producer and presenter.

Twitter  @mcgrathmj

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