The Guilty Party Paperback – 7 Mar 2019
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|Paperback, 7 Mar 2019||
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‘A dextrously written thriller and examination of guilt and innocence…[McGrath is] a diamond-hard talent’ Financial Times
‘Unsettling, disturbing and vital. 5*’ Heat
‘Easily the best [of the subgenre]…psychologically acute and deeply satisfying’ Telegraph
‘Perceptive…McGrath is a thoughtful writer’ Daily Mail
‘Utterly compelling right from the start…a deeply unsettling look at modern sexual behaviour and bystander culture’ Crime Monthly
‘Chilling, fiendishly plotted and surprising, this stayed with me long after reading’ Woman & Home
‘Absorbing … McGrath asks: should it be a crime to witness a violent event, and say nothing?’ The Times
‘Brimming with trust issues and deceit, this will make you question whether we ever know who our friends really are’ Prima
‘A clever, nuanced exploration of toxic friendship and the ties that bind people together’ Red
‘Dark, thrilling, impossible to predict’ Erin Kelly, author of He Said She Said
‘A scorching, clever thriller’ Tammy Cohen, author of They All Fall Down
‘Brilliant’ Ann Cleeves, author of the Shetland and Vera series
‘Toxic friendship at its worst. Disturbing and dark yet very compelling.’ Mel Sherratt, author of Hush Hush
‘Dark, compelling and wonderfully character-driven, it’s a brilliant read’ BA Paris, author of Sunday Times bestseller Bring Me Back
‘A perfectly written, haunting thriller. The prose is breath-taking. The plot, layered, tense and utterly captivating. If you’re in the market for something sublime, you could not do better than this’ Imran Mahmood, author of You Don’t Know Me
‘A dark and immersive journey into the heart of a toxic friendship group. I loved it.’ Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange
A new gripping and shocking psychological thriller from bestselling author Mel McGrathSee all Product description
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4 friends are on a night out when they witness a rape....instinctively they all ‘want’ to report it, for various reasons though one by one they dont....this decision then follows them forward and comes to a head when they go for a long weekend away to Portland (!)
The 4 have been friends from uni and the book cleverly uncovers things they are all aware about each other but as they are so close they decide to ignore, put to one side, hope it will go away....those things all erupt together alongside the rape they witnessed and what they didn’t do
Its quite hard to explain the intricate nature of the book as its complex, goes off on tangents and sometimes seem to lose itself....however it then rights itself and gets back on track but it is a book for 100% concentration and attention to each line and who has said what to who etc
3 of the 4 characters are self obsessed basically horrible people but 1 just has that shine of decency that unravels the group and what they have done, however none of the 4 have any morals in most departments it has to be said!
The book moves between the night of the witnessed rape and the weekend away and at times can take a min or so to readjust where you are in the timeline
Its not an easy book, the subject matters guarantee that, there are no breakaway bits to make you smirk, no light relief, however it is a deliberate story to make you question yourself and the 4 characters that will challenge any reader
Bravo to the author on not take any easy routes in the book and for addressing difficult subjects
Of course it's also a darn good read. Not that I expect anything less from McGrath, who does like to mix things up a wee bit. I do think this premise takes the reader into waters they may not want to wade in. These fictional characters are written fairly closely to the reality of human behaviour and the inadequacies of our decisions, especially those made in difficult or possibly dangerous situations.
Cassie, Bo, Dex and Anna are a tight-knit group of friends, who enjoy leaving their respective partners and family to take a break from the daily slog. Late one night after a music festival the four friends, all from slightly different physical locations, are witness to a brutal crime. Instead of intervening or helping the victim, they make individual and then a collective decision not to help and to leave the young woman to her own devices. She is found dead soon afterwards.
It's uncomfortable to read the thought processes and dialogues of the group, as they justify their actions and rationalise their lack of empathy. The finger of blame is pointed in the direction of the victim. She deserved it. It's her own fault. She shouldn't have done this or that. The same kind of blame-game and statements one sees on social media when the tables are turned on the victims of heinous crimes.
The bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon our society seems to be experiencing more frequently in the last few decades. Individuals are less likely to come to the aid of a victim when other people are present or to be more specific, they are also less likely to take any risk to themselves to help others in certain situations.
It's an intriguing thriller with the kind of nooks and crannies of human behaviour the reader would rather leave dark, dusty and unexplored. You never know what you will find when you take a closer look at the secrets your so-called friends keep hidden behind their friendly exteriors.
On a final note; none of us can say for certain what we would do. Until you experience something that requires a decision in either direction you may never know. I have. I know. And I did.
*Disclosure - I received a courtesy copy for purposes of n honest review*