The Guilty Party

First published 2019 (HQ)

On a night out, four friends lose each other in the crowd and witness a stranger in trouble. One by one they each decide to do nothing to help. Later, a body washes up on the banks of the Thames, and the group knows they have blood on their hands. But why did they each refuse to step in? What were they hiding? And who is really responsible?

Is it possible the victim wasn’t really a stranger at all?


I’m going to take you back to the summer’s evening near the end of my friendship with Anna, Bo and Dex. Until that day, the eve of my thirty-second birthday, we had been indivisible; our bond the kind that lasts a lifetime. Afterwards, when everything began to fall apart, I came to understand that our friendship had always carried the seeds of rottenness and destruction, and that the life we shared was anything but normal.  Why did I fail to acknowledge the truth for so long? Was it loneliness or was I in love with the idea of a friendship that I could not bear to let go? Perhaps I was simply a coward? One day it might become clearer to me. Perhaps it will become clear to you, once I have taken you back there, and when I’m done with the story, when everything has been explained and the secrets are finally out, I will ask what you would have done. Because that’s what I really want to know.

What would you have done?


Ann Cleeves

“Dark, thrilling and impossible to predict”
Erin Kelly

“Compelling and wonderfully character-driven, it’s a brilliant read”
BA Paris

“A deftly plotted novel of unraveling friendships and dark secrets”
Liz Nugent

“Morally complex and utterly captivating”
Imran Mahmood

“Dark and immersive. I loved it.”
Harriet Tyce

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