The Guilty Party by Mel McGrath (Review by Jillian Tremblay)

2 min read

Rating: 4/5

The Guilty Party is an intense thriller that challenges the reader to question their own morality with one question: What would you have done?

The story follows the friendship of Cassie, Anna, Bo and Dex; a tight-knit group bound by secrets and friendship for over 15 years as they gather to celebrate the birthday of Bo with a weekend getaway at Chesil Beach.

Author Mel McGrath draws the reader into their twisted friendship as the main voice, Cassie, struggles to make sense of what she has witnessed and what role she has played in the death of a young woman. Over the course of the weekend, the dark secret held between them threatens to be revealed and unravel their friendship.

The book is well paced, and the narrative shifts between each friend in the group, offering their distinct voice and perspective on the events. You will learn about what they saw in the past and what they are struggling with in the present. Keeping in mind that this story follows a group of friends, it can be hard to believe that friends would do these things to one another. But when people are desperate, they can be capable of anything.

The subject matter may be difficult for some readers, I often find it difficult to read graphic stories about violence against women and this one was no different. It can be raw, but the author deals with it sensitively and gives a voice to something that silences so many women.

Some twists seem far-fetched, but overall this is a gripping book that will keep you interested and reading. As a book club selection, it will spur interesting discussions on friendship, morality and a society that enables this type of violence to continue. It’s a good “weekend-read” that I moved through quickly because I was eager to piece together what had happened and who was responsible.

I know what I would have done, do you?

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