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  • review by Paul Burston

The Guilty Party

Moral dilemmas lie at the heart of Mel McGrath’s eagerly-anticipated new novel. In the messy aftermath of a music festival in east London, four friends witness a woman in trouble on a quiet backstreet. None of them lifts a finger to help.

One of the two women in the group, Cass thinks they should call the police but is soon talked out of it. Neither of the two men intervenes. All four decide to put the incident behind them – even when it emerges that the woman they saw was later found drowned in the Thames.

But the dead woman won’t be forgotten so easily. As the story unfolds, each of the four main characters is haunted by what happened that night. Gradually we learn about the sexual histories and emotional ties holding them together. And as secrets are revealed, friendships are tested and tensions threaten to tear the group apart.

Populated by a diverse cast of engaging characters, this is a dark and twisty tale which packs plenty of surprises while remaining emotionally truthful at all times. Much like McGrath’s previous book Give Me The Child, it’s brilliantly put together and extremely hard to put down.

I couldn't have predicted the ending but I'll stick my neck out and predict a bestseller.

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