The Suspect by Fiona Barton |Blog Tour Review |#TheSuspect

The Suspect (Kate Waters #3)
Published by Bantam Press/Transworld
Available in ebook and paperback (24 January 2019)
384 pages
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher

About the Book

‘The police belonged to another world – the world they saw on the television or in the papers. Not theirs.’

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, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.

And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think . . . 

My Thoughts

Having read all three of Fiona Barton’s books featuring journalist Kate Waters, I think this is the best one yet. The books may feature characters from previous books, but although you would be missing out on some character development, all three can easily be read as standalones.

Back to The Suspect. Kate is again researching a story only this time she becomes part of it and finds herself on the other side of the press pack. Getting a taste of her own medicine you might think!

The story that Kate is looking into involves two teenage girls who have gone backpacking in Thailand and are reported missing. The alarm is raised when the girls fail to contact their families back home as arranged.

DI Bob Sparkes, whom we first met in The Widow, is again the investigating detective. However this time it is proving to be a frustrating process with the Thai police who seem to be particularly inept and uncooperative. His life isn’t made any easier by having to deal with some difficult times at home and he finds himself torn in two between the job and his family.

Kate, as ever, wants to the first with the news and makes contact with the families. She feels some sympathy for them as her own son Jake is currently travelling and she had her own worries for him as he hadn’t been in contact for some time and she has no idea where he is. The circumstances of his leaving were rather different though, whilst the two girls went off on their adventure excited about their travels, Jake had fallen out with his family and was keeping his distance.

Being a former journalist, Fiona Barton has really nailed the character of Kate Waters. She can be pushy and direct but also knows when to pull back. Here, we see her character more as a mother than as the hard-nosed journalist we know from the previous books and it’s a refreshing change. She finds out exactly what it’s like to have the press hounding you, following your every move, and waiting outside your door.

The concern of the families as they wait for news of their daughters really brought home the perils of backpacking and any parent reading this whose child is about to go travelling may have nightmares! The seedy side of Thailand is laid bare, and the story shows how easy it is for the unwary to be tricked and taken advantage of.

The short snappy chapters made this such an addictive read. Told by chapters headed ‘The Reporter’, ‘The Detective’ and ‘The Mother’ there are also emails from Alex, one of the girls, to a friend back home, giving the true picture as opposed to the ‘I’m having a wonderful time’ status’ that she posts on Facebook.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. An intriguing and intelligent plot which is well structured; all the separately narrated chapters pull the story together seamlessly and move it forward whilst the brisk pace meant that I never lost interest. Definitely recommended.

My thanks to the publisher for the copy to review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour.

About the Author

Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.

Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.

While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .

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