The Night Ferry
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The Night Ferry

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,271 ratings  ·  165 reviews
A young policewoman breaks all the rules to get to the bottom of the mysterious death of the best friend she betrayed in this stunning follow-up thriller from the author of Suspect and Lost.

Ali Barba, a Sikh detective with the Metropolitan Police, is recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty when she receives a letter from her estranged friend, Cate, imploring...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 10th 2007 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2007)
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Community Reviews

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When Detective Alisha Barba received the note which had been thrust under her front door, she wasn’t prepared for what it contained. It was a note from her once best friend whom she hadn’t seen or spoken to in eight years. The best friend who had declared she hated her and never wanted to see her again. Dear Ali, I’m in trouble. I must see you. Please come to the reunion. Love, Cate.

Alisha was on sick leave after being dreadfully injured by a criminal she was apprehending; her long stay in hospi...more
Dec 14, 2012 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Once again, I have ventured into an author without looking both ways. Although “The Night Ferry” and its predecessors “Suspect” and “Lost” do not form a tightly knit traditional series the central characters are shared. The linkages that do exist in this novel are placed firmly in the background making it stand alone very well.

The story centers on a very unpleasant concept that I won’t name. Let it suffice to say that the problem is complicated from both a piratical and moral point of view. As i...more
Patrick Gibson
I thought this book was a sequel to ‘Midsummer Nights Dream’ where faeries would fly out of the darkness and bring visions of Lysander and Demetrius preparing their wedding invitation and Oberon paying for Tatiana’s sex change. Well, what do I know.

Oh, of course. I know better. This is the third mystery/thriller/beatyourbraintoapulp novel lifting characters from the previous two and elevating one of them into a major player. The stories keep getting darker and (I hate to say it) a little more na...more
C2007. I came across this author as he was on one of those lists that other authors make when asked about authors they enjoy in the same genre as them. It was an okay read with a good pace and conclusion. The style was fairly spasmodic; I suppose to represent the action etc. I am not sure whether or not I liked the main character, Alisha Barba, and I wonder if that is because, most unpolitically correct, I am not sure that a male author can take on an intimate female character study. The review...more
This is the third of Mr. Robotham's books, the three of which make the start of a mystery series that, unusually (and cleverly) moves the first person narration for each book among each of three related characters. This title, "The Night Ferry," focuses on Ali Barba, a detective introduced in "Lost," the second book in the series. Since the first two, "Suspect" and "Lost," were so terrific, I eagerly looked forward to listening to this edition, read by Clare Corbett. Well, my assessment may have...more
Robotham uses the increasingly popular technique of "cascading protagonists" (that is, a minor character in his first novel narrates the second; a minor character in that book narrates this, his third). (Simon Kernick has used this technique to especially good effect.) Personally, I'm fond of this idea--it expands the fictional world or landscape that the author is creating, and it casts some interesting lights back on the earlier works, by allowing us to identify fully with characters we unders...more
THE NIGHT FERRY (Police Proc-Ali Barba-England/Netherlands-Cont) – VG
Robotham, Michael – Standalone
Doubleday, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN: 9780385517904
First Sentence: It was Graham Greene who said a story has no beginning or end.
*** DS Alisha Barba is going to her school reunion to see her former best friend Cate Beaumount, from whom she has been estranged for eight years. Cate appears to be eight months pregnant but when a car runs her down, Ali finds Cate is wearing padding to appear pregnant y...more
Alisha Barba, a Sikh detective who appeared as a character in
Robotham's "Lost" takes center stage in this story of international intrigue, baby selling and exploitation. When an old school friend contacts her after many years on the outs, Detective Barba goes to see her at a party. The friend requests her help but before she can explain is rundown and killed by a truck driver. As Alisha pods and probes in search of the truth she is drawn into a shadow world of illegal immigrants, ruthless crimin...more
Charmaine Clancy
Last time I reviewed a Robotham novel I wasn't very impressed. The author had a great writing style but the character, a whiney psychiatrist, was unlikeable. I'm glad I persevered! This time the main character was adorable! Alisha is very driven with external goals and some hidden internal motivations that she has not yet revealed even to herself. She is a modern girl who also tries accommodate some of her Sikh traditions. The drama is high, with death, black market child adoption, and the ensla...more
Deborah Robb
A good read although a bit confusing at times. Ali is a police officer whose estranged friend Cate asks her to come to their high school reunion. Ali goes to the reunion hoping to make amends with her friend. Once there she finds out Cate is pregnant but before Ali can congratulate her, Cate tells her "They want to take my baby. You have to stop them." As they are leaving the reunion, Cate and her husband are run down by a car and killed. After the accident, it comes out that Cate is pretending...more
This was my fourth Robotham novel. It was interesting to hear a story told from Alicia's perspective. The narrator was great, imo - and at one point in the book I actually laughed out loud at an exchange between the protagonist's father and mother because of how well the Indian voices were done and how funny their particular conversation was. The main character could be unlikable at times (pushing her boyfriend away, then getting all heartbroken when she thinks she's 'lost' him - personally, I d...more
A crime thriller with the theme of motherhood at its core, this is a very readable book with Robotham again setting a new set of characters within his already established world, so this book is both a one-off (in that I doubt we will see the lead characters again) and part of a series (in that we have already seen a member of the supporting cast in a later book).
Although I was not quite as gripped as by the first Robotham book I read, this is still fast paced and well plotted with some very ast...more
Vera VB
Story about illegal human trafficing, women in specific. The women come from Afghanistan orphan homes. They are promised a job. They have a big dept and have to work for the trafficers. The traffic happens in containers, in a separate small space in containers. When something goes wrong 5 death bodies are found in a container. The start of a search who are they, where did they come from, specific one of them because he has a label in his clothes with the name and address of a young police office...more
Exhaustingly excellent.
Good book. Kept your interest; exciting; good read!

A young policewoman breaks all the rules to get to the bottom of the mysterious death of the best friend she betrayed in this stunning follow-up thriller from the author of Suspect and Lost.

Ali Barba, a Sikh detective with the Metropolitan Police, is recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty when she receives a letter from her estranged friend, Cate, imploring her to come to their high school reunion. Alarmed by the urgent tone of t...more
Linda  Branham Greenwell
I have read Michael Robotham before and loved his books - so decided to try another. In this novel Alisha Barba is a Sikh London police detective. She's recovering from a serious back injury 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, sta...more
Fairly readable thriller which covers surrogacy and human trafficking. The main character is a female sikh detective. This is the third in a series but can be read as a stand alone. However reading this one has not prompted me to read the others. The characterisation did not convince me and some of the minor characters were a bit two dimensional. however it was an easy read which sent me to sleep several nights in a row.
Here's a borrowed summary of the plot;
DCI Alisha Barber agrees to attend a...more
The central character is Detective Constable Alisha Barba, a young Indian woman of Sikh heritage who grew up in London's East End. She was introduced to us previously in Michael Robotham's novel Lost, where she suffered significant spinal injuries. In this novel she is mostly healed, almost married, nearly transferred and virtually sacked from the police force as she undertakes her own rogue investigations.

Alisha is drawn into the plot when her estranged friend of 8 years Cate Beaumont and Cate...more
Karen Brooks
This is a fabulous, fast-paced novel that centres around Sikh Detective Constable, Alisha Barba who, having recovered from the shocking injury she incurred in 'Lost' is at a professional loose end. Briefly reuniting with her best friend from childhood, Cate, the chance to discuss what drove a wedge between them is taken away when Cate, who is pregnant, is severely injured in a hit and run. Recognizing someone at the scene of the crime, the intrepid Barba determines to discover who's responsible...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Night Ferry, by Michael Robotham. A.
produced by Recorded Books, downloaded from
This was an excellent book. We see the development here of Alicia Barber, a young policewoman just turning 30, who was introduced in the last book, “lost.” In this one, we don’t see the psychologist at all, and Inspector Ruiz, who trained Barber, has now retired. Barber receives a note from her former best friend, Kate Elliott. They have not spoken for eight years as their friendship ended after an in...more
As a competitive runner Alisha Barba was fast; so fast that at one time she had hopes of competing in the Sydney Olympics. When she ran, she was so fast she “blurred around the edges”--- and that pretty much describes her determination in attempting to quickly find the murderer of her best friend Cate. Alisha is a London police detective that is also a third generation Sikh whose grandfather came to Britain as the cook of a military officer in the nineteen forties. She faces all of the cultural...more
Iowa City Public Library
One of the most satisfying things about a good series is the development of the main characters over time. We get caught up in their personal lives and learn their foibles and quirks. A good character keeps us reading an entry in the series that isn’t quite up to par plot-wise because not to do so would be disloyal to that "person" we’ve become attached to. Michael Robotham is now on his third entry in a series that takes exception with the general rule of introducing a strong character and foll...more
Aug 27, 2010 Danya rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Danya by: My father
Leave it to a book to change your perspective on life!
When some other books had taken me to some fun places such as Manhattan, Brooklyn and Dallas, describing every little detail I thought I'd never get lost in New York, or would immediately recognize the East River once I see it, and link it to lots of fantasies. This one had taken me to the real world, a world that most of us are unaware of still!
Reading this book I felt like living in one of those toy houses, playing games, having fun, total...more
Glenda Kirkegard
A suspenseful and gripping psychological thriller centred around Alisha Barba, a 30year old policewoman who is contacted after 8 years by her best friend from school and uni dayy, Cate Beaumont.
They meet again at a school reunion but outside Cate and her husband Felix are run down and killed. Cate looks to be 8mths pregnant but it is all an act as she has paid a 17year old orphan girl, Samira, through an illegal agency, to be a surrogate mother. It all goes terribly wrong for Cate when the youn...more
Ingrid Verschelling
Agent Alisha Barba probeert haar leven weer op de rails te krijgen, nadat zij haar rug heeft gebroken bij een moordonderzoek. Alisha is single, sikh en hardloopster. Na een lang revalidatietraject weer op de been, krijgt ze een berichtje van haar oude schoolvriendin Cate Beaumont, die ze al jaren niet gezien heeft. Zij is zwanger en in de problemen geraakt. Ze vraagt of Alisha naar de schoolreünie wil komen. Als ze met een heel stel afscheid nemen, worden Cate en haar man Felix beiden geraakt do...more
I read Robotham's 'Suspect' a while ago, and this book seemed to be a completely independent title, though I later learned that a supporting character, Victor Ruiz from 'Suspect' also plays a supporting role here. Apparently Ruiz is the lead character in Robotham's first book, which I have not read.
Much was made of lead character Ali Barba's Sikh heritage as a theme in the book, but I didn't feel like it played much into the main plot, as Barba tries to figure out a cryptic message her childhood...more
This is the first and probably the last I’ll read by Robotham. It certainly isn’t a mystery—we find out who done it pretty quickly. Not even very suspenseful. And we figure out the why pretty quickly too. I guess you’d call this a thriller, but it wasn’t all that thrilling. A female Indian-British police officer is contacted by a long lost friend and told someone is trying to take her child. Friend is soon after killed (not a spoiler—it’s on the back cover). Several fight scenes ensue. Several c...more
Lourdes Fernandez Venard
The Night Ferry is the third of four books in which Australian author Michael Robotham employs a neat concept: each book takes a minor character from a previous book and makes them the protagonist. Alisha Barba was Det. Insp. Vincent Ruiz's sidekick in the previous book, Lost. Wounded in the last book, the young detective is recovering at home when she gets a letter from her estranged friend Cate pleading with her to attend their high school reunion. But at the reunion, Cate and her husband are...more
A cascading novel from Robotham's series narrated by Ali Barba, who was introduced in his second novel. I loved the voice and character of the tough-girl Olympic runner. This novel grabbed me from page one and pulled me unwillingly close to the conclusion - I wanted it to stay longer but I also wanted to know! The plot provided adequate foreshadowing, but not enough to spoil an ending that took my breath away.

This was my second Robotham. I'm reading the books out of order, by availability at my public library.

A "brown" female London police officer -- of Indian Sikkh extraction -- is front and center in this tale, though she's aided at times by Vincent Ruiz and Joe O'Loughlin.

Interesting plot -- seamy industries in Amsterdam, human trafficking, falsification of birth records for the sake of private adoptions are some of the book's concepts. But th...more
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Born in Australia in November 1960, Michael Robotham grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

For the next fourteen years he worked for newspapers in Australia, Europe, Africa and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first p...more
More about Michael Robotham...
Say You're Sorry (Joseph O'Loughlin #6) Suspect (Joseph O'Loughlin, #1) Shatter (Joseph O'Loughlin, #3) Bleed for Me (Joseph O'Loughlin, #4) Lost (Joseph O'Loughlin, #2)

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“Friendship is a difficult thing to define. Oscar here is my oldest friend. How would you define friendship, Oscar?"
Oscar grunts slightly, as though the answer is obvious.
"Friendship is about choice and chemistry. It cannot be defined."
"But surely there's something more to it than that."
"It is a willingness to overlook faults and to accept them. I would let a friend hurt me without striking back," he says, smiling. "But only once."
De Souza laughs. "Bravo, Oscar, I can always rely on you to distill an argument down to its purest form. What do you think, Dayel?"
The Indian rocks his head from side to side, proud that he has been asked to speak next.
"Friendship is different for each person and it changes throughout our lives. At age six it is about holding hands with your best friend. At sixteen it is about the adventure ahead. At sixty it is about reminiscing." He holds up a finger. "You cannot define it with any one word, although honesty is perhaps the closest word-"
"No, not honesty," Farhad interrupts. "On the contrary, we often have to protect our friends from what we truly think. It is like an unspoken agreement. We ignore each other's faults and keep our confidences. Friendship isn't about being honest. The truth is too sharp a weapon to wield around someone we trust and respect. Friendship is about self-awareness. We see ourselves through the eyes of our friends. They are like a mirror that allows us to judge how we are traveling."
De Souza clears his throat now. I wonder if he is aware of the awe that he inspires in others. I suspect he is too intelligent and too human to do otherwise.
"Friendship cannot be defined," he says sternly. "The moment we begin to give reasons for being friends with someone we begin to undermine the magic of the relationship. Nobody wants to know that they are loved for their money or their generosity or their beauty or their wit. Choose one motive and it allows a person to say, 'is that the only reason?'"
The others laugh. De Souza joins in with them. This is a performance.
He continues: "Trying to explain why we form particular friendships is like trying to tell someone why we like a certain kind of music or a particular food. We just do.”
“One of the strange things about friendship is that time together isn't cancelled out by time apart. One doesn't erase the other or balance it on some invisible scale. You can spend a few hours with someone and they will change your life, or you can spend a lifetime with a person and remain unchanged.” 17 likes
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