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Author Topic: "The Night Ferry" by Michael Robotham  (Read 8447 times)
scary claire
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« on: March 25, 2010 »

A big thank you to Ravens for passing me the BOTM baton!
As we're fast approaching the Bank Holiday season I thought it was worth letting you know my choice sooner, rather than later, so that anyone who wants to join in discussions has chance to get hold of a copy (and this one's available on audio book too, so no excuses this month)


Strong, determined, female characters, sensitive research, and a sense of place, made The Night Ferry one of the most unsettling and thought provoking novels I read last year.
It made me consider my own dreams and the lengths I might go to to try and achieve them.
It also made me nervous, had me looking over my shoulder, avoiding dark alleys and thinking myself lucky.

"Alisha Barba is trying to get her life back on track after almost being crippled by a murder suspect. Now on her feet again she receives a desperate plea from an old school friend, who is eight months pregnant and in trouble. On the night they arrange to meet, her friend is run down and killed by a car and Alisha discovers the first in a series of haunting and tragic deceptions.

Determined to uncover the truth, she embarks upon a dangerous journey that will take her from London's gritty East End to Amsterdam's murky red light district and into a violent underworld of sex trafficking, slavery and exploitation."

I hope that in choosing The Night Ferry some BTZer's might discover a new author, and that others might enjoy revisiting this novel.

I look forward to some interesting discussions from May 10th...




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Mary
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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2010 »

Ordered from Amazon, so I will be joining in this month.
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dali
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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2010 »

Fantastic choice, Scary.  I read this a few years ago and it was one of my 'books of the year' so may have to re-read.
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Kiwicraig
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2010 »

I just received a copy of Robotham's BLEED FOR ME for review. Don't have THE NIGHT FERRY...
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scary claire
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2010 »

I just received a copy of Robotham's BLEED FOR ME for review. Don't have THE NIGHT FERRY...

You have time to read Bleed for me whilst you wait for Amazon to deliver The Night Ferry Craig Wink
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momkat
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2010 »

It has come in at the library per my request .. sweet! I plan to be ready to discuss, Scares! Thanks for your selection of an intriguing new author.
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Linda L
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« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2010 »

Love Michael Robothams novels.  Thanks for this Claire
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« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2010 »

I read this book last year. I remember thinking that it was ok. The hero of the book is an Asian female and I remember thinking, how accurate has Michael Robotham portrayed this character?
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Kiwicraig
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« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2010 »

I just received a copy of Robotham's BLEED FOR ME for review. Don't have THE NIGHT FERRY...

You have time to read Bleed for me whilst you wait for Amazon to deliver The Night Ferry Craig Wink

Am reading BLEED FOR ME now...
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scary claire
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2010 »

Just a gentle reminder that we start discussions on the 10th
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momkat
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« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2010 »

I read it! Everyone else, get busy! Smiley
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scary claire
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« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2010 »

Smiley
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scary claire
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2010 »

I believe that the strength of The Night Ferry lies with Robotham's ability to take a situation we could all find ourselves in and twist it. Here the situation could be the school reunion, the need for a woman to have a child, or the need to put food on the table. Whichever you choose the same questions about motivation and human nature arise.

What lengths should any woman need to go to in order to have a child?
What in human nature demands that a stronger character can take advantage of another, either financially or physically?
Will I ever feel brave enough to take a ferry ride again?

I loved the recurring theme of the bonding friendship between women, the comparison between cultures and families, but in particular the relationship between Alisha and Samira, which is sensitive to the others needs but encourages each woman to remain strong.
I also enjoyed the detail used to take the reader on a "virtual tour" of Amsterdam, its charms and flaws, although I found my stomach churning at the violence and my own misconceptions of the sex trade. Not to mention the subsequent inherited fear which meant on my follow up trip to the City I was careful not to venture into the red light district by accident.

Carefully written yet excruciatingly detailed passages like the birth of the twins had me crossing my legs and gritting my teeth.

Strong characters, in a very believable plotline which had me wishing myself to the end to know it all worked out ok, whilst hoping the read would keep the level of intrigue and suspense to the last page. I didn't see where the "one hand to save" theme was heading.

I didn't want to finish this one, but I was relieved when I did. Beautiful and harrowing. I think it's one of Robotham's best novels yet.

What do you think?







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momkat
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2010 »

Well, Miss Claire, I enjoyed reading this author, new to me, very much, and I thank you for selecting it!
I do not have a typical forum well-written review, but maybe we can have a chat, and the brilliant writers can chime in!
First off, doesn't Michael Robotham write a high quality first person female? And I thought Ali was a wonderful protagonist, very interesting and layered and strong! She is damaged by some of her life choices and physically from her career injuries, but her spirit is mighty! I was trying to decide if her inability to commit to a relationship was going to be one of her flaws, then liked how it ended. I really liked the end a lot! It was more positive than a lot of crime novels.
Contrasting the supportive relationship of Ali and Samira was the other relationship between women of Ali and Cate... I was very suspicious of why Cate suddenly can only depend on the old friend who she dropped, very purposefully failing for all these years to see Ali as a victim of her father and to restore the relationship. Now she wants Ali to be a guardian to her unborn child in case all goes wrong. She seems like a user and deceitful, so not very likeable. On the other hand, this made for a great read, uncovering the web of lies and guessing at Cate's motivation along with Alisha.
Is Ali too nice?? "One of the strange things about friendship is that time together isn't canceled out by time apart," she says at the start of the novel. Is this always true?
I agree about the amazing writing about Amsterdam, a peek where the tourists do not go!
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scary claire
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« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2010 »

Hi Momkat,
Ali is brilliantly drawn and portrayed as a character, not only a strong female, but a strong Sikh female. I can only think that Robotham has really researched this very well and spent a great deal of time getting it right. The investment really pays off in my opinion, Ali is a woman I would want to know, to have as my friend, ambitious, supportive, passionate about doing the "right" thing and loyal.
I enjoyed the relationship between between Ali and "new boy Dave", that he allows her to be ambitious and does that following a few steps behind thing that "nice but a bit boring" boyfriends do when they're still keen. I really felt that the relationship was going nowhere fast though.
Cate did strike me as a very bad friend and one that Ali was much better off without, yet Ali still demonstrated a very real loyalty to her, in spite of everything. I don't think that it was anything that Ali could control, I think it is hardwired into her personality. She shows exactly the same loyalty and compassion for Samira although really there is no expectation from the reader that she should, and aren't the police meant to keep a professional distance really?

I wonder if Cate and Ali had met at the reunion, then met up a few more times before Cate was killed would Ali have responded the same way. Cate is very wise to have chosen Ali as a guardian, she will have known that Ali would step in if things went wrong, manipulative friends like that know which buttons to press even years later (in my opinion), and Cate was so desperate Ali was sure to help.
Thank goodness Ali is so determined, many people would have given up in the surgery or well before heading over to Amsterdam.

I think the whole story hinges on the fact that Ali is nice, but I don't think that she is too nice. I think it comes from the strength in her own family, which is then demonstrated in Ali's wider values and compassion, I also think that she hasn't given in physically or lost her own source of motivation thanks to the support of her family. I wonder how important the Sikh element is in this family unit, unfortunately I don't know enough about it to be able to make a considered comment.

I like that different cultures are represented so cleverly in this novel.
We learn of the "popular" Cate, and her middle class upbringing. Her expectation of being able to buy anything that she wants, even though this gets her into a situation she can't control and ultimately gets her killed.
Conversely we learn of a Muslim girl, from a family who flee their own country and for financial reasons find themselves by accident wrapped up in circumstances that they are unable to control.
Two sides of the same coin it turns out.
We learn of Ali's family support and expectations. Her values, her compassion, her failings; and an extent we learn about the Dutch, mainly through the detective who helping Ali and Ruiz, rather than the red lights..
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