Tuesday 26 February 2019

The Suspect by Fiona Barton @figbarton @TransworldBooks @ThomasssHill #TheSuspect

‘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 . .

The Suspect by Fiona Barton was published by Bantam Press / Transworld on 24 January 2019, and is the author's third novel.

I enjoyed both of this author's previous novels, but really think she's raised her own bar very high with The Suspect. It reads like a dream; the ultimate in twisting, engrossing, compelling story telling with characters who are realistically flawed and incredibly realistic.

Journalist Kate Waters takes a special interest in the case of missing teenage girls Alex O'Connor and Rosie Shaw. They travelled together to Thailand for a gap year that was supposed to be the adventure of a lifetime, but seems to have turned into something sinister and heart breaking for their families. Whilst Kate wants to look at what's happened from a journalist's point of view, she also has a personal interest. Her own son Jake has been in Thailand for a couple of years now and she constantly worries about him as he rarely calls home or lets her know what he's up to.

DI Bob Sparks is the investigating officer on the case, and he and Kate know and respect each other as they've both been around for a while. One of Fiona Barton's greatest skills  is her creation of character and relationships and for me; Bob is the star of The Suspect. His own personal life affects him, and the reader and the author shows an incredible insight and perception when creating him and his family.

Recently there's been lots of talk and debate about how Social Media can affect the mental health of young people; especially girls, and the author touches on this within her story. Whilst young Alex continues to post 'awesome' and 'amazing' photos on her Facebook profile, depicting the holiday of a lifetime; the reader is aware that things really are not so great. Through email correspondence with her best friend Alex tells the truth; she's increasingly unhappy; Rosie is running wild and Alex just wants to see the sights of Thailand.

The Suspect is a fascinating and well thought out story. The structure of the novel is refreshing; told in the voices of 'The Reporter', 'The Detective', 'The Mother', which adds a depth to the story through different points of view.

Wonderfully engaging characters populating a tangled, twisty story that kept me on tenterhooks throughout.  Excellent, and highly recommended

Fiona Barton's debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in 36 countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in Sussex and 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 . . .

Twitter: @figbarton
Author Page on Facebook

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