Reviewed By: Luke Croll - RAM
The Night Ferry
Amazon US PB Amazon US HC Amazon UK HC Amazon Canada PB Amazon Canada HC
Class/Genre: Mystery Thriller Woman Main Character
Time Warner May 3,2007 £9.99 (GBP)
This is Michael Robothamís third novel and may well be his best yet. He returns to the characters he used in LOST, bringing back Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz, now retired, and DC Alisha Barba. Whereas Ruiz was the main protagonist in the previous novel, he now takes a backseat, letting Alisha tell the story in her inimitable way. Reluctantly attending her school reunion, she meets an old friend, Cate Beaumont, a person with whom she hasnít spoken for many years. Cate is begging for her help, but before Alisha can find out what is going on, the heavily-pregnant Cate is struck down by a car and left fighting for her life. However, when Alisha discovers that Cate was not pregnant after all, she resolves to find out the truth behind the elaborate deception in a case that will take her to Amsterdam, endangering her life and leading her into the murky world of people trafficking, sexual slavery and exploitation.
Robothamís decision to switch protagonists is a good one. He did a similar thing from his first to second novels, changing from Professor Joe Oí Loughlin to Vincent Ruiz, while still keeping the professor as a minor character. Here, Ruiz still has a significant role to play, but this story belongs very much to Alisha Barba. Her narrative is a pleasure to read, with humour, irony, religion and much more involved. At times, the book can become rather deep and we remember that people trafficking is not merely a novelistís construct, but a harsh reality affecting thousands of people across the globe. Barbaís voice, as an Anglo-Indian, is different and she becomes a very appealing and colourful character. In addition, switching the setting to Amsterdam for part of the novel also helps, as Ruiz and Barba find themselves out of their traditional areas and this adds to the novelís sense of urgency.
The plot itself works well, even though at times it may start to appear somewhat implausible. The blurb describes the book as Ďgrippingí and this is indeed the case. I found myself desperate to see what was going to become of the characters and the ending itself was unexpected. Robotham leaves room for numerous developments in his next novel, although it will be interesting to see where he goes from here, should he wish to continue with the same characters. Undoubtedly, THE NIGHT FERRY would make an excellent movie, but its success is clearly in the quality of Robothamís writing. A dark, powerful novel that makes the reader think.
Luke Croll - RAM
Reprinted with permission. Do Not repost without permission from the author, Luke Croll - RAM
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