Book Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

Suspect by Fiona Barton

The Suspect is the third Fiona Barton book in the Kate Waters mystery series. I haven’t read the first two books, but I was confident that I could follow the story nevertheless.

Kate Waters is a journalist whose son went missing some two years ago in Thailand. So when she hears of a new case involving two missing girls in Thailand, she jumps to the offer to start investigating the case.

Alex, Lesley’s daughter, went with her friend, Rosia, to Thailand during summer vacation a few weeks ago. Initially, she kept contacting her folks but lately nothing. Especially strange is that she should have called to find out about her admission to college, as that was her main dream. But, nothing.

The main investigator in the case is Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes, who apparently was also present in the previous two books in the series. When things turn dire for the missing girls, Kate decides that it’s time she takes things more personal. Little does she know that she will eventually wish she never got involved in the story at all.

Like I mentioned before, I haven’t read the two previous books, so I didn’t know anything about Kate Waters except she was a journalist. It was interesting to learn more about her and her own demons she was fighting all the time. Her son has been gone for two years, so she hasn’t seen him all this time, although he does call briefly every now and then. So when the new case with the missing girls comes her way, she can’t stay away from it, especially since there seems to be a connection between her son and the girls – Thailand. So that’s where she heads to next, hoping that in the process she gets to meet her son as well.

The book is told from multiple people’s points of view. You have the girls, then the detective, then Kate, and even one of the two mothers. You can feel the mother’s love for their children, and you can’t help but wondering whether mothers actually do know their children at all – how much of their lives are kept secret from the parents’ prying eyes?

The story was well written, although it’s a bit slower going than my usual reads. It really took its time to build up the suspense. It didn’t really grab me in the way an edge-of-your-seat story takes you to another world. I could easily put the book aside and pick it up whenever. I was not rushing to start reading again. Still, it was a good read. I can’t stop thinking that I might have felt closer to Kate and the other main characters had I read her two previous books in the series. I just couldn’t feel anything special for Kate at all. I couldn’t root for her. In fact, I couldn’t connect to any of the characters, if I think about it.

The end, after the rather lazy start, really took off, and my questions were answered to satisfaction.

It was not one of my best reads of the year, but it was a solid 3.5-star crime mystery novel. However, if you do pick it up to read, do yourself a favor and start reading the series from the first book

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