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The Night Ferry    by Michael Robotham order for
Night Ferry
by Michael Robotham
Order:  USA  Can
Doubleday, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In The Night Ferry, Michael Robotham gives readers another excellent thriller that stands well on its own, yet features character who showed up in his previous novels, in particular London homicide Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz (who was introduced in Suspect and starred in Lost) and Sikh Metropolitan Police detective Ali Barba, whose injuries on the job in Lost - her spine was crushed - have required many months of painful rehabilitation.

Growing up, Ali's best friend was Cate Elliot. Something happened to drive the two apart and they have not been in contact for eight years. Out of the blue, Cate asks Ali to attend their school reunion, where it becomes obvious that she's pregnant. Soon afterwards, Cate dies in what seems to be a car accident, but when they met she had asked for Ali's help, saying 'They want to take my baby ... You have to stop them'. Oh yes, and it turns out that Cate was faking the pregnancy, fooling even her own parents and brother.

Ali, who's about to be transferred - unfairly in her opinion - to a position as a recruitment officer because of her prior injuries and who doesn't believe her friend died in an accident, begins following leads. In parallel with her private investigation, she juggles time with her close family and her relationship with Serious Crimes Unit Detective Sergeant Dave King, who wants to marry her. Dave helps with her digging as does Ali's mentor Ruiz, who is now retired.

The trail leads to a fertility clinic and from there to Amsterdam, where refugees are being coerced into acting as surrogates. As Ali obsessively seeks answers to her friend's death, she digs herself deeper and deeper into trouble at home - absent without leave from her job and under investigation by the Serious Organized Crime Agency who have linked her to a case of drug smuggling and people trafficking. Her relationship with Dave becomes fragile. And there's collateral damage.

As always in Robotham's novels, there's an explosion of action and danger for the good guys. This time there's also a most unusual - and satisfying for all concerned - resolution to a quandary that results from said action, along with redemption for Alisha, who learns from a new friend that 'One hand is enough to sin. One hand is enough to save.' Don't miss The Night Ferry, another excellent and thought-provoking thriller from Michael Robotham whose first book put him high on my must read list.

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