Fiona Barton's debut novel, The Widow. And her second book, The Child. And her just released third book, The Suspect? Yup, couldn't put it down as well!
Kate Waters is the reporter who investigated the crimes in the first two books. She's on the case again in The Suspect. (But each book can be read as a stand alone.) Like hundreds of other young people, Alex and Rosie decide to take a gap year trip to Thailand. One of them is quite dutiful in keeping in touch with her parents. When that communication stops, her parents immediately contact authorities. The bulletin crosses over Kate's desk and she sees a story. And it makes her think about her own son, Jake. He left to travel two years ago. She hasn't seen him since and his communiques are sketchy.
I was happy to see Kate return in this latest. She's clever, dogged and determined to get the story. This time, the story may have found her.... Kate is not above manipulation, but does have a conscience. We get to know Kate a bit better in this latest offering. Barton herself has a rich background as a journalist. Her plots and descriptions benefit greatly from this experience.
The Suspect is told from four points of view. E-mails from Alex slowly detail what is going on in Thailand. (These were so hard to read). From Kate in chapters headed The Reporter, from The Detective on the case, and from Alex's mom in The Mother. The depiction of the parents' angst was gut wrenching. Barton also explores the impact this crisis has on the marriages of the parents and the relationships between child and parent.
As a reader, we are privy to what's going on across the board. Barton deliciously ekes out the story - each new chapter reveals a little more. Cutting back and forth between characters only serves to heighten the tension and draw the reader in further. The 'whodunit' vacillates between a few choices, but as the book progressed, I had my suspect nailed down. Barton throws in a nice little twist at the end - one that was presented to the reader earlier on. that I didn't catch.
I quite enjoyed The Suspect and am looking forward to Barton's next book - and hopefully Kate's next story. Read an excerpt of The Suspect.
You can connect with Fiona Barton on her website, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.