Bantam Press January 22nd 2019
When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.
Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.
This time its personal.
And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, it will become clear that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think.
Well, first things first, having read The Widow, The Child and now The Suspect, I must say I really do enjoy Fiona Barton’s writing. Although not a series, The Suspect sees the return of journalist Kate Waters and Detective Bob Sparks. As with the aforementioned books this book is written from different points of view, Kate – The Reporter, this is her story and as such her tale is told in the first person narrative. The Detective – Bob Sparks is told in the 3rd person. This is a book about 2 missing girls in Thailand, we learn their story via notes and emails by Alex (one of the girls), leading up to the events triggering the missing persons report. Finally there is the story of The Mother – Lesley O’Connor, parent of missing Alex.
The story is told through these different narratives and with a global investigation between Thailand and England. The plot is strong and I was gripped by the story, which unfolded as the investigations progressed. For Kate Walters, who readers’ familiar with The Widow and The Child will know as a tenacious and ambitious journalist, the boot is very much on the other foot. For it transpires that her son was involved with these girls and as the title suggests, he is now The Suspect.
As with any criminal investigation there was lots to piece together in this book, for Kate she is desperate to find her son and prove his innocent, for any parent however, this book inevitably makes you ask the question, ‘how well do I know my child’, as Kate discovers numerous things about her son she was previously unaware of. Hounded by a blood thirsty media, Kate finds herself isolated, knowing her friends; her colleagues are desperate for that next headline and will happily exploit their relationship with Kate to get it.
The plot leads the reader in different directions, Kate or the Police pursue a lead, a snippet of information is gained from Alex’s notes which casts suspicion. The characters in Thailand are undeniable shady in comparison to these 2 young, vulnerable girls who have set out on an amazing adventure that quickly goes terribly wrong. At times it is easy to become confused, but Fiona Barton neatly brings everything together to form a tight and tidy conclusion, tying up any loose ends.
A great read and as I understand it, a farewell to Kate Waters for now at least. If you haven’t read The Widow and The Child, well I think you should but these books are standalone fiction with 2 key characters appearing in each book, so you could start with The Suspect if you wanted, which is publishing this week.
What do you think, will you be reading The Suspect? Have you read The Widow or The Child? You can read my review of The Child here, I read The Widow long before I started this blog but trust me, it was terrific and incidentally it was my first Goldsboro Book of the Month purchase and it was beautiful, in its own slipcase! I was also lucky enough to meet Fiona Barton at the Transworld Crime Fiction Showcase, which you can read about here.
Thanks as always for stopping by on my little blog and taking the time to read this, until next time…