Sunday, August 5, 2007

The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham




I read a review of The Night Ferry and was interested that the author takes a secondary character from one book and makes him or her the main character of the next. I'm also fairly obsessive about reading books that have some sort of continuity in the order they were published. In this case, this book was available and the others were not, so I started with the latest. The Night Ferry is told in the first person by Alisha Barba, a female Sikh detective constable with the Metropolitan Police. I know there is a bias against first person stories in some quarters because you only see the action from restricted viewpoint of the narrator. I don't care. If the author is skillful, it is interesting to try to figure out what is going one with only the information available to the narrator.

Warning, there may be spoilers ahead.

Alisha appeared in Robotham's previous book, Lost, where where she was severely injured while a member of the diplomatic Protection Group. this time, she has recovered from her injuries and waiting to be returned to active duty. She receives a note from a school friend, Cate, from she has been estranged for many years. Cate says she is in trouble and wants to meet Alisha at a school reunion. Before Alisha can find out what Cate wants, Cate and her husband are accidentally run down by a cab driver. Or was it an accident?

Alisha soon finds out that Cate was not pregnant as she led everyone to believe but was involved in some sort of adoption scheme. The clues lead Alisha and Vincent Ruiz (her former boss and now retired) to Amsterdam. There they uncover a baby trafficking ring and forced surrogacy. They also find the woman carrying the babies of Alisha's dead friend. Alisha becomes obsessed with saving the woman and the babies. The action reaches its violent highpoint (though not conclusion) on the night ferry from the Port of Rotterdam to Harwich in the U.K.

The story is well paced and the story unfolds satisfactorily. Along the way reader learns a bit about Sikh family life and and the traffic in babies. I don't know how factual either are but Robotham writes about them in a convincing manner. I like his style of writing and plan to read Suspect and Lost, his previous two books.
In fact, I liked The Night Ferry enough to purchase the paperback edition of Suspect rather than wait for the library's copy to come available.

Michael Robotham's web site.