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The Night Ferry (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2008

59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of the sharply plotted third thriller from Australian author Robotham (after Suspect and Lost), London police detective Alisha Barba, a Sikh woman who's recovering from a back injury incurred in the line of duty in Lost ("After six operations and nine months of physiotherapy I am fit again, with more steel in my spine than England's back four"), receives a brief note from a school friend, Cate, whom she hasn't heard from in eight years: "I'm in trouble. I must see you. Please come to the reunion." At the school reunion, the pregnant Cate tells Ali that someone is after her baby. As Cate and her husband, Felix, are leaving the event, a car strikes them both, killing Felix instantly and fatally injuring Cate. Insp. Det. Vincent Ruiz, Ali's crotchety colleague, accompanies her to Amsterdam in search of answers that involve drugs and frozen human embryos. In keeping with the opening sentence's invocation of Graham Greene, the author's terse, resonant prose hides more than it reveals. Readers will hope Robotham has many more books of this caliber in him. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Robotham gave the lead role in last year's Lost to London homicide inspector Vincent Ruiz, a supporting character from the accomplished Suspect (2005). Here he shines the spotlight on Ali Barba, who served as Ruiz's able sidekick until her back was broken by a baddie. Thematic elements also link entries in this sort-of series: each follows a British professional (psychologist or cop) confronting the fallout of crimes against children. This time, Barba's drawn into an international baby-selling conspiracy that may include the forced impregnations of immigrants. Although her strong will and young runner's physique help effect full rehabilitation, the sensible Sikh detective puts off returning to the Metropolitan Police when an estranged friend is killed and discovered to have been faking her pregnancy. With an assist from the retired-but-still-salty Ruiz, Barba begins untangling a mystery as twisted and slippery as an umbilical cord. Robotham sometimes risks subverting the story to a social message, but the plot takes several unexpected turns, and Barba proves a refreshingly different kind of protagonist for a British crime novel. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
  • Mass Market Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (July 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030727585X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307275851
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,099,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gold Dagger award winning author, Michael Robotham is a former investigative journalist and ghostwriter, whose psychological thrillers have been translated into 23 languages. He has twice been shortlisted for the CWA UK Steel Dagger in 2007 ('THE NIGHT FERRY') and 2008 ('SHATTER') and twice for for the CWA Gold Dagger in 2013 (SAY YOU'RE SORRY) and 2015 (LIFE OR DEATH), which went on to win the award. He has twice won Ned Kelly Award for Australia's best crime novel for LOST in 2005 and SHATTER in 2008.

Michael lives in Sydney with his wife and three daughters.
His website is:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Julia Walker VINE VOICE on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The narrative voice of Alisha Barba, Olympic-class runner and collector of elephants, is original, both in tone and content. I know virtually nothing about Sikh culture, so I can't judge accuracy, but Ali's casual monologue on the life and loves of a "Sikh girl" is very engaging. Her sentences are choppy and terse, as though she speaks while on one of her runs. At first it's hard to follow a line of thought, but the reader quickly gets used to it.

Robotham stays consistent to DC Barba's voice as the story develops. Big picture, well things occasionally do seem random, jagged, lacking smooth transitions. But life is like that, isn't it? Stuff keeps happening. The events arise logically from the immediate action, even if Alisha's actions are often ill-considered and unwise. She's a bit preachy, but that fits in with her character, and at least she's funny about it.

The supporting characters - boyfriend, old boss, Dutch policeman, father of dead best friend, deaf girl, bad boys and evil men - are vivid and individual, each with ticks that allow us to remember them sans a ton of narrative each time they pop up. We come to care about these people, even the bad ones. Robotham has my favorite formula: vivid settings, new stuff to learn, and engaging characters, all in a plot that rarely drags.

Unlike many thriller writers, Robotham isn't afraid of women. Both Ali and Samira are strong and brave and accomplished, but neither topples into that favorite mold of thriller-mills, the multi-tasking, ultra-hot Super-Chick, the action-Barbie who is merely the flip-side of vacuous. These women make mistakes, misunderstand circumstances, misread people. And yet they are still strong enough to rise above their own errors and carry the action with them.

I'm going to go back to read the author's earlier books, even though Alisha isn't a main character. I just hope that we see more of Ms Barba in the future.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on July 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The Night Ferry is Australian author Michael Robotham's third thriller. The first two titles are Suspect and Lost.

Alisha Barba is a Sikh and a London police detective. She's recovering from a serious back injury (occurred in Lost) that has sidelined her for almost a year, nearly preventing her from returning to work. When she finally is able to report for duty, she learns she's going to be `tucked' away in a nothing job-and she's not willing to do that.

Alisha receives a cryptic note from her estranged childhood best friend, Cate, imploring her to meet her at the women's high school reunion. Wanting to put right their relationship, Alisha goes to the reunion. The women have little chance to talk before a speeding car darts out of nowhere and runs down Cate and her husband. Before a very pregnant Cate dies, she manages to whisper to Alisha that someone is trying to take her baby and she begs her old friend to stop them.

Motivated by Cate's death request and a startling revelation about Cate's pregnancy, Alisha, with the help of retired Inspector Vincent Ruiz, follow the clues about Cate's baby to Amsterdam. They find human embryos, forced prostitution, human trafficking, and dangerous people who will stop at nothing to accomplish their evil goals.

Robotham's thriller is chilling. It's fast paced, the plot sizzles and the characters are well-drawn. You love the good guys and root for them and you despise the bad guys and hope they go down hard. The Night Ferry forces the reader to take a long, hard look at the evil that walks among us-and it allows us to hope for better. He gives us two strong and determined people in Alisha and Vincent-two people that represent a willingness to fight for what is right.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Editors always say that they want a book that transcends genre. Here is exhibit A. The book is even more successful than its predecessor, Lost, and that is saying a great deal. The characters are both interesting and absorbing, the themes both contemporary and eternal, the plot stunning in its twists, turns and inevitabilities. Its effects accumulate gradually until the book's final third--which reaches a pile-driving crescendo of suspense, tragic realism, and satisfying resolution, all punctuated with very-carefully measured ladles of exquisite, appropriate violence.

I would say that the book is a perfect model for the aspiring crime novelist--tried and true but refreshingly new, faithful to genre in every way, but stretching it at every point, and demonstrating the transcendent powers of the form in the hands of a skilled practitioner. The only problem with using it as a model is that it is so intimidating in its reach, its knowledge, and in its ultimate success.

By every measure, Robotham is one of the most important new voices in crime fiction. Don't miss him.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Detective Alisha Barba is trying to get her life back on track after almost being crippled by a murder suspect. She receives a desperate plea from an old school friend, Cate, who is eight months pregnant and in trouble. On the night they arrange to meet, Cate is run down by a car and Alisha discovers the first in a series of haunting and tragic deceptions.

Determined to uncover the truth, Alisha undertakes a dangerous journey that will take her from London to Amsterdam and involves a violent underworld of sex trafficking, people smuggling, slavery and exploitation.

A highly recommended thriller. I am looking forward to Mr Robotham's next novel ('Shatter') which is due in May 2008.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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