BOOK CLUB: The Guilty Party

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Author: Mel McGrath
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 18 March 2019
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Guilty Party is a psychological thriller that has the reader asking themselves, what would YOU do. A read that makes you question how you would react in a similar situation.

Four friends witness a horrific assault and for reasons that will unravel slowly they choose to do nothing.

Reviews have been a little mixed about this one but I think that’s to be expected with this sort of subject matter and a cast of characters with few redeeming qualities.

I look forward to sinking myself into this one, and hearing what our readers think.

Publisher’s Website Overview:

You did nothing. That doesn’t mean you’re innocent.

On a night out, four friends witness a stranger in trouble. They decide to do nothing to help. Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames – and the group realises that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands.

But why did each of them refuse to step in? Why did none of them want to be noticed that night? Who is really responsible?

And is it possible that the victim was not really a stranger at all?

You can find Mel McGrath at her Website as well as on Twitter.

The Guilty Party is published by HQ Fiction and is available now where all good books are sold.

Thanks to HQ Fiction 15 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading The Guilty Party so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear what our readers thought.

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Guilty Party

  1. Although I was deeply intrigued by the blurb on “The Guilty Party”, the novel took a long time to engage me. As I progressed, though, this became quite compelling and a novel I was keen to finish because I wanted to know what was going to happen.

    Cassie, Anna, Bo and Dex have been friends (and sometimes lovers) since university. Their relationships within the group are complicated, confusing and sometimes tense, but somehow The Group trumps all, and none of them are quite capable of walking away.

    On a night out at a music festival, they repeatedly lose and re-find each other. Later, they witness a woman being raped. And since they all have different reasons to feel guilty about something, they don’t call the police. But later, when a body is dragged from the Thames, Cassie can’t leave it alone. The others want to pretend nothing serious happened, but Cassie can’t ignore their inaction or its’ consequences.

    Unable to ignore what happened that night, Cassie is also unable to avoid noticing the increasing toxicity of the Group. Why were they all so reluctant to step forward? What is the source of their guilt? Who was responsible, and to what extent?

    It took some time to engage largely because the four main characters were completely unlikable. Not one of them was someone I’d want to spend any time with, and as the Group – well, another character calls them creepy, and that’s a fair description. Nor do they ever really improve – it’s hard to care about any of these characters.

    The other major problem I had with the novel was the excessive lengths to which McGrath goes to hide information initially, in order to allow her to dole it out in small revelations. Very few people think things like “What if they find out what I’ve done?” over and over again. They tend to think about the specific action. This blatant avoidance jarred and quickly got quite annoying.

    But McGrath builds a web of connections between the four friends and the victim which are both believable and compelling. A lot of the novel is about moral choices, and while there’s not a lot of ambiguity around most areas of the plot, it is layered and complex. There’s a lot to think about here.

    I appreciated this novel, and the way it made me think, but it’s hard to say I actually enjoyed it. I didn’t like the characters, and the plot is about a lot of fairly nasty incidents. However, I’m glad I read it, and I suspect quite a few readers would appreciate it on that level too.

  2. Four friends on a fun night out witness something horrific, and do nothing, each for their own reasons. How will they live with themselves, and the consequences of their actions? In a similar scenario, would you do the same?

    Cassie, Dex, Bo and Anna have been friends since college; formerly two couples, the group remains tight knit even though their lives have taken radically divergent paths in the years since they first met. The book is written from the different perspectives of each character, which adds and depth and greater understanding of each of their thoughts and actions. The timeline skips back and forth between ‘that night’, which happens to be Cassie’s birthday and Wapping music festival, and six weeks later, when the group comes together again to celebrate Bo’s birthday. This takes a bit of getting used to and I was glad I had the physical copy of the book so I could flick back to the beginning of the chapter to keep track if I needed to.

    Predominantly written from Cassie’s view, she seems to be the misfit of the group, always a bit of an outsider, and seemingly the one most affected by the events that happened at Wapping festival. She encourages the others to come clean to the police about what they saw that night but the others are resistant.

    I have to say I didn’t mind the book, but I didn’t love it. The characters were all so flawed, it was impossible to really like any of them, and the events were just too conveniently coincidental for me to be able to actually believe events could have happened in the way they were written. Would *you* witness such a crime and stand by and do nothing? I certainly like to think I would help, but it shows an interesting perspective on the bystander effect.

    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read it in return for my honest review.

  3. Thanks For selecting me to read The Guilty Party
    I found this book hard to get into at first you certainly have to read the heading with each chapter
    The main characters Cassie Dex Bo and Anna are four long time friends after a night out at a music festival they witness a horrible crime but instead of helping or calling the police they do nothing,
    They all have their own reasons for not assisting
    The friendship starts to unravel during a trip away with lots of twists and turns
    I personally could not connect with any of the four main characters to me they were not likeable people but they all have their own agendas
    Readers will either love or hate this book

  4. Friends – Bo, Dex, Anna and Cassie are departing a London music festival late at night when they silently watch on to witness a woman being raped. They all choose to turn a blind eye to the crime. A few days later they hear through the media that her body has been found washed up in a river.
    Mel writes her novel from the individual points of view of each of the four friends. These are four adults who refer to themselves as The Group. Originally dating partners they now remain a tight knit group of friends.
    Mel explores the lives of each of the characters choosing to jump back and forth between the night of the festival and a follow up gathering of the Group when they stay at a house together at the Isle of Portland. The crime plays particularly on Cassie’s mind and she is the character that finds it toughest to accept that the Group did nothing to save the woman when she was in crisis. Despite sharing her concerns with her friends, they are all reluctant to go to the police.
    All four characters are complex with deep dark secrets. Although not one of them stepped in on the night they saw the woman being raped, they each hold a responsibility for not intervening. Whilst none of the friends killed her, it doesn’t leave them with the label of ‘innocent’. This is a well written book that leaves the reader questioning what they would have done if they’d faced a similar situation.

  5. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath.

    The novel revolves around four friends, Cassie,Anna, Bo and Dex. They have all been friends since meeting at university. At some stage earlier in the friendship they were romantic partners as well.

    One night to celebrate Cassie’s birthday they all go to the Wapping music festival. There they witness a woman being raped and none of them intervene or try and call the police. When a womans body is found in the nearby river, through media reports they notice it is the same woman who was being raped that night.

    Most of the book is through Cassie’s eyes and she feels guilty not helping that night. After that night there is growing toxicity amongst the group as they all have their secrets.

    I found the book hard to get into and had to read quite a few chapters before I started enjoying it more. I couldn’t really connect with any of the characters since I didn’t find them very likeable.

  6. ‘I read somewhere that a body turns up every week in the Thames and if every one of the drowned appeared in the news there would be stories all the time. All the same, it hardly seems possible that a young woman can exit this twenty-first century world without leaving any virtual ghost of her former self.’

    Toxic friendships, chances are we have been touched by these at some point in our lives. Mel McGrath’s psychological thriller, The Guilty Party takes on unfavourable friendships, moral complexities and the bystander effect. Combined with plenty of secrets from the past, along with some plot twists and turns, The Guilty Party is a book that will leave you reeling from the first to the final page.

    The Guilty Party is the first book I have read by Mel McGrath, who is perhaps best known for her previous work, writing under the name of MJ McGrath. McGrath’s popular crime mystery series featuring Edie Kiglatuk has seen her earn awards, television rights and worldwide recognition. The Guilty Party is a standalone psychological thriller that poses more questions than it answers. There are plenty of grey areas in this novel. There were also moments where McGrath made me consider quite deeply how I would feel if I was placed in the same shoes as the characters in the book. A situation I wasn’t comfortable with at all! The Guilty Party was a difficult one to pin down, it did send me in a spin, it compelled me, but it also disappointed me that people could behave in the way the characters do in this novel.

    The Guilty Party is one of those novels where I feel I cannot go into any great depth to discuss; otherwise I would ruin the experience for prospective readers. I will say it is carefully plotted, it contains some well observed characters and it offers a plethora of themes to consider. The writing is slick and filled with tension, but I did tend to dip in and out of this one attention wise. I think at the end of the day this boils down to my pure dislike and disgust of the actions of the characters. Even alternating the points of view of the protagonists did not work in their favour, I disliked them all!

    McGrath is quite the master manipulator, her previous work as a crime and mystery based novelist definitely feeds into this novel. There were plenty of plot diversions and unexpected reactions that all culminate into a thrilling conclusion that I wasn’t able to predict at all. So hats off to Mel McGrath for devising characters I detested, but ultimately I came to appreciate how the whole sordid plot untangled!

    At the close of my reading of The Guilty Party, I immediately reached for Give Me the Child, last year’s psychological thriller release from Mel McGrath. I’m keen to get started on this novel after reading The Guilty Party!

    *I wish to thank Beauty & Lace Book Club and the publisher, Harper Collins Book Australia, for a copy of this book for review.

  7. The Guilty Party sounded so interesting initially, but I unfortunately just could not get into it at all.
    Four friends, Bo, Dex, Anna and Cassie, witness a young woman being raped one late night after leaving a festival.
    The group don’t report the incident to the police, and instead decide to turn a blind eye.
    But when they discover that a body has been found at the scene of the rape, they start to panic, in particular, Cassie.
    As the story unfolds, we discover that each of the four have secrets that they want to keep hidden.
    I found that the story didn’t have enough grab to keep me turning the pages, and the characters were all very unlikable and annoying at times as well.
    Thank you to B&L and Harper Collins Australia for the opportunity to read and review.

  8. I will not write a recap of the main storyline as the previous reviewers have already done that perfectly.

    I was slightly disappointed by this book. I really tried to get into the story and characters but as one reviewer above mentioned, when the characters are not likeable it is very hard to get into the story. I have to admit that I still have yet to finish the book although I only received it a week ago.

    I will definitely finish reading it as I’m intrigued to find out what happens but I’m in no hurry.

  9. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins Australia for allowing me to review “The Guilty Party” by Mel McGrath.

    Four best friends since college, Bo, Dex, Cassie and Anna, who have been couples in the past, are a very close knit group. After a night out at a festival they find themselves to be witness to a horrific situation. For each of their own reasons, they decide not to report this incident to the Police but rather try and ignore it instead.

    On a weekend away with the group, Cassie’s guilt grows and the story begins to unravel the events of that night at the festival and what happened with each group member. It a tangled web with lots of twists and turns throughout. They have a friendship that is toxic but they cannot seems to leave each other as they feels all the love they need is within the group, no matter how many lies are said or deceits played.

    Unfortunately for me this was a book I could not really get into and there is a lot of back and forth. You really need to read the headings and the times, places etc. I could not relate to the characters and did not agree with a lot of their actions. I am however grateful for the opportunity to have read The Guilty Party.

  10. It has taken me a while to read and review The Guilty Party because I couldn’t really get into the story. The book is told from the perspectives of four friends (some of which were lovers at some stage) Cassie, Anna, Bo and Dex. It is also told from two different time periods. On the evening of Cassie’s birthday, the friends attend a music festival and the story evolves from what happens at the festival when a body is found.

    After reading the blurb I was really keen to read this book but I was left somewhat disappointed. I didn’t hate it but didn’t love it. Some of the themes in the book were hard to relate to. There were some points in the book that I wanted to keep reading and then at other times it felt like a bit of a chore. The switching between characters and time periods was sometimes confusing but I can see how it was also a clever way to tell the story without giving everything away until the end.

    The guilty party is a tale of lies, deceit and violence and makes you question whether you know who your friends really are. I would like to try another one of McGrath’s books – this one just wasn’t for me.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin for the opportunity to read and review this book.

  11. The story was a tad Hard to get into but still intriguing non the less .

    The authors delivers a story with characters that are not really filled with depth . I found the story line alike like what if who says she said.

    A tale filled with guilt and innocence it will leave you curious .

    The toxic friendships was definetly interesting ..

    Overall .. 3/5

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