THE NIGHT FERRY by Michael Robotham

The weekend is forecast to be cold and rainy with snow in the mountains. I decided to take care of some outside chores including using the weed wacker (noisy) and tiling the fountain (quiet). For quiet outdoor chores I love to listen to an audio book and have yet to be disappointed with any novels on CDs.

The Night Ferry by Australian author Michael Robotham

This thriller is the third in a series, preceded by Suspect and Lost. I was surprised to have a male author tell the story from a first-person female point-of-view, that of London Detective Constable Alisha Barba. Barba is a Sikh from a traditional East Indian family (arranged marriages) but she leads her own life. She is a near Olympic-class runner although a back injury incurred in the line of duty (in the previous novel, Lost) requiring six operations and nine months of physical therapy, has her looking at a desk job.

So we have a strong female lead with ethnic flavor, who has overcome adversity and will prove to be a dedicated friend. She has not seen Cate for eight years, although they were inseparable as schoolgirls, when she gets a note asking her to please come to their high school reunion. “I’m in trouble. I must see you,” Cate writes.

At the reunion Cate, eight months pregnant, tells Ali that someone is trying to take her baby. But before Ali can get details, Cate and her husband are run down by a car, which kills the husband and leaves Cate in critical condition.

Avoiding the desk job, Ali takes leave to investigate on her own time, with the help of her former partner, Vincent Ruiz. Now retired, Ruiz is the model of a cantankerous old, street-wise detective. He and Ali share a strong bond of affection and mutual respect.

 Ruiz accompanies Ali to Amsterdam in search of answers about Cate’s dilemma that will expose them to the dark and dangerous world of drug trafficking, international baby selling, and forced impregnation of illegal immigrants.    

Along with all the intrigue is Ali’s interior dialogue about her love life, her parents’ expectations, her good and bad memories around her friendship with Cate, along with self-criticism of her job performance. I can’t speak for the men, but we women can definitely relate.

It was a great day, an excellent book and the fountain looks pretty good too.

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