The Guilty Party, Mel McGrath: Book Review

The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath is by all means, my definition of a psychological thriller at its finest.

Laced with manipulation and secrets, making you question your own thoughts and how far someone can be pushed and why, this book is a treat from the start, right down to those last two sentences which will stay with me.

The plot:

On a night out, four friends lose each other in the crowd – and, separately, they witness a stranger in trouble.

One by one, they each decide to do nothing to help.

Later, a body washes us on the banks of the Thames – and the group knows that ignoring the woman has left blood on their hands. But why did each of them refuse to step in?

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

A good read if you’re looking for a book to mess with your head a little

This book isn’t one which will make you gasp (although I did at one part because it was just so unexpected), but one to make you think and play detective along the way. I worked out a couple of the important aspects, but it was interesting to see where it led.

I must give big big props to McGrath for the writing. Like a lot of thrillers, there are short sentences, but also detailed paragraphs which go deeper into the mind of the character, indirectly pulling you deeper into the book.

I loved how it felt like Cassie, the protagonist, was talking directly to you. I felt like I was just sitting beside her drinking multiple cups of coffee and she was telling me a story, and at some parts, justifying herself.

Although there is a lot of repetition with some parts, and my eyes did glaze over a few times because you’ve read this several times before, it stresses my point further that it felt like Cassie was talking to you, and making you understand what was happening and why. We’re all victims of sometimes zoning out after our friends have gone on for a long time, right? RIGHT?!

The tension between the characters is indescribable – you’d need something a bit bigger than a knife to cut through this. The whole story was very well thought-through and very intriguing. A good read if you’re looking for a book to mess with your head a little.

I’ve read a lot of thrillers, as you all probably know, but I would put this high up on my list for psychological thrillers. This is one of the first books I’ve come away from with a totally different view point from when I first started reading it. McGrath has done such an incredible job making the reader involved through the language, that it really drags you in and makes you part of the story.

The last two sentences really stumped me and made me question everything. It’s not a plot twist, but really one which ties the whole story together and leaves the reader (for me, anyway), a bit dazed and saying ‘oh er’.

The only downside for me, and it is minor, but the voices weren’t distinct enough for me. Cassie’s shone through and I am thoroughly impressed with the writing, and Anna’s was different, showing her personality, but Bo’s and Dex’s were just too alike. I’m not sure whether it’s because you don’t have as many dedicated chapters to them, but I would’ve liked slightly more on both characters and a bit of difference. But then again, me and my bestie say the exact same phrases and say what the other is thinking all the time, so maybe McGrath was trying to signify the closeness of the two and the ‘Group’ as a whole.

Also, I would’ve liked an epilogue, but that’s just because I’m greedy.

I’d be interested to see what The Guilty Party is like on a re-read, and see how my views differ, but for now, I’ve got McGrath’s other psychological thriller on my list.

The Guilty Party, Mel McGrath, RRP £12.99 (hardback); Book Depository 

Pages: 374

Publisher: HQ Publishers

Genre: Psychological Thriller

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