Catfishing is a relatively new term for me, and for anyone else that is unsure of its meaning it basically means to pretend to be someone else on the internet for deceptive purposes. So when I was asked to read The Catfish by David Hatton, which is based on this theme, it sounded interesting and I was not disappointed. But the book does come with a warning from the author:
“This book tackles very emotional and disturbing subjects.
This story is for anyone.
But it won’t be for everyone.”
The Catfish, is a story of a paedophile hunter group, the good they do but also the consequences of their actions, the power of the internet and trial by media.
Rachel McCann has left the security of her corporate law job and started her own independent law practice. As a startup she doesn’t have many clients until the mother of an autistic teenager comes in with a case that other lawyers won’t touch – here son was catfished online by a paedophile hunter group known as The Predator Hunters.
But in a case where social media has already won over public opinion with little regard for all the facts or the concept of a fair trial and innocent until proven guilty, how far will Rachel be able to take it and get the outcome her clients wants?
David Hatton has written a very thought-provoking book. It starts with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962), “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” After reading this book, never has a quote been so apt.
The story is based around paedophile hunters, groups many of us will have seen or heard of on social networking sites or even seen reports in the print media or television news. The story starts with The Predator Hunters confronting a man who is a suspected paedophile, but it doesn’t go to plan and he dies. But is he guilty of the accusations?
The story then switches to the legal aspect of the right and wrongs of paedophile hunter groups – Are they a service the public wants? Do they operate within the law? Should they be allowed to exist? Should these groups be allowed to publish their “stings” on the internet before the criminal justice system is involved, effectively acting as judge and jury with a trial by media?
The Catfish has a very good plot, although some may find it hard to read due to the subject matter that will provoke very strong emotions.
The characters are excellent, all very different and interesting, especially with the lawyer and client having opposite views. The storyline is very up to date and relevant to the times we now live in, which does include mental illness, vulnerable people, lone predators and grooming gangs, abuse, racism, entrapment, vigilantism, social media, public opinion and social justice.
The trial by media aspect, whether by print or digital with social media being the fastest medium, is fascinating. We have all seen these kinds of groups on social media sites and all have our own views on their existence – but are they are good or bad thing?
David Hatton’s The Catfish is a controversial story that will have people talking. It is a fascinating read, dealing with a very emotional subject. With a cast of strong characters that the author has done an excellent job of showing their conflicting sides, it will keep you turning the page.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Whilst the subject matter is disturbing and emotional (it doesn’t go into detail of abuse) is has been approached very well from different sides. Whilst I found some bits of the story unnecessary, such as describing what people were wearing as it added nothing to the story. Overall it is an excellent thriller and a very fascinating book that I just couldn’t put down.
This book will leave you discussing the subjects of paedophile hunter groups, the part social media plays – or shouldn’t play, wrongful accusations, social justice and the right to a fair trial. A book that can achieve such strong emotion and debate is one that is definitely worth a read.
I will be looking out for other books by this author.
RRP: £10 (available in paperback and Kindle).