New to me, this is book three in the Kate Waters series. Kate is a reporter, keen to get in on the ground floor in any story she investigates.
Told from the perspective of three people; the mother, the reporter and the detective, and with emails home to a friend, the story centres around the disappearance of two girls, Alex and Rosie, on a gap year in Thailand.
The arrangements are that that contact their parents each week, but when nobody hears from them for a couple of weeks, Alex’s mother Lesley becomes increasingly worried and contacts the local police.
Enter Kate Waters. She interviews the mother, features the girls in an article and connects with her friend DI Bob Sparks as he tries to get some sense from the Thai police. But there is a surprise in store for Kate as her son, who is also in Thailand, turns up as a possible suspect.
The description of the girls’ time in Thailand with things spiralling out of control to disaster, the parents’ angst as they were looking/waiting for some answers and the personal happenings of both the reporter and the detective, all make this book on the “unputdownable” list and I couldn’t stop listening to it. Yes, another one to which I listened rather than read.
. Because the story was steeped in realism, and as it is every parents’ nightmare, it’s a story that will stay with me for a long time. I can’t wait to read/listen to another book in this series
The Suspect was my first book by Fiona Barton, and I’m hooked! I really enjoyed the story, the characters and the way the author managed to engage not only my interest, but also my emotional connection to events playing out on the pages.
The Suspect tackles one of a parent’s worst nightmares: for two families, it means the death of their teenage daughters in tragic circumstances whilst on an overseas trip to Thailand. For another, it means facing up to the fact that their son could be linked to the girls’ final moments. How well do we really know our children? This is a theme that dominates this latest offering by Barton, who doesn’t shy away from addressing some dark and scary premises that made me shudder! Like Alex and Rosie, I packed my bags and went travelling in my gap year between school and university, hitchhiking with barely a thought to any potential dangers out there. It wasn’t until my own children embarked on their own independent travel that I visualised all the disasters that could befall them, from minor catastrophes like lost luggage to missed planes, illness or accidents in faraway lands. The helpless feeling of not being able to protect your children is beautifully portrayed here, in the tragic aftermath of the two girls’ deaths, when their parents have to travel to Thailand to claim their daughters’ bodies, looking for answers how they died – all of which was not easy reading.
Barton uses several POVs to tell the story, which worked very well for me here. One (heartbreaking) aspect is told through the eyes of Lesley, Alex’s mother, who has just found out that her daughter has died in a fire in a Bangkok hostel. We also hear from Kate, a journalist covering the story, and DI Sparkes, the detective sent to investigate. One thread, which starts when the girls first set off for Thailand, tells of the events leading up to the girls’ deaths, containing some of Alex’s reflections and emails to her best friend. I found the dynamics between Alex and Rosie particularly interesting, as they reflected some of my own experiences of backpacking in my youth, when you first discover that your travel companion may not be as compatible as you originally thought. I will not go any further into the story for fear of giving something away, other than to say that journalist Kate soon finds herself drawn into the story in a very personal manner that will also push a lot of buttons for parent readers.
Barton vividly evokes not only the atmosphere of the Bangkok hotel the girls find themselves stranded in, but also of the nightmare of parents trying to find answers to their questions in a foreign country and a culture very different to their own. I found all her characters authentic and believable, and particularly enjoyed Kate, who I discovered has featured in two previous novels (which I will certainly read now). Whilst some aspects of the mystery did not come as a total surprise, the final reveal still packed some punch and gave a lot of food for thought. I read this book as a group read and found that it made for a great discussion and further enhanced my reading experience. Even though this is part 3 of a series featuring Kate Waters and DI Sparkes, it can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. Highly recommended to lovers of mysteries, and those looking for a new book club read that will raise some great talking points.
The Suspect by Fiona Barton sees the return of Kate Waters, journalist. In my opinion, this is the best of the series so far. This book had my absolutely hooked and always wanted more. I found the story to be original and not at all predictable unlike some of the books I have read recently. Told in alternate perspectives the story builds, and twists, keeping the reader guessing all the way. Fantastic book!
Kate comes across the story of 2 18 year old girls who have gone missing on their gap year travelling in Thailand. She is desperate to help the families, especially as her own teenage son has been gone for 2 years travelling with very little contact. When the girls fail to call to hear their exam results things ramp up in the police investigation and the story. We learn the girls story through emails that Alex has sent home to her BFF. This story is remarkably different to the wonderful story that has been shared on social media. When events take a turn for the worst the truth starts to come out, and becomes personal for many involved.
An absolute pleasure to read and review this book. Big thank you to Random House UK, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press and Netgalley for my advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.* What a book! I was hooked from the very first page and found myself heavily invested in the characters. This is the third book in the Kate Water series, following the excellent publications 'The Widow' and 'The Child'. I must say, the books are getting better and better. The book centres around two young British girls, Alex and Rosie, who are on the trip of a lifetime during their gap year in Thailand. Something goes wrong, however, and their friends and family do not hear them for days. Journalist Kate Waters starts to investigate the story, only to find herself and her family becoming the story. A brilliant insight into family relations, the power of the media and the dangers and temptations of youth. I tore through this book and am keen to read whatever Fiona Barton publishes next.
Thankyou to NetGalley, the publishers and the author, Fiona Barton, for the opportunity to read a digital copy of The Suspect in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. I thought this book offered a really good, suspenseful read. I enjoyed it. The storyline was well written and the characters thoroughly engaging. I was hooked, which is something you want from a thriller. Well worth a read.
The Suspect. What an engaging slow burn crime mystery. The plot revolved around two eighteen year old girls taking a gap year holiday in Thailand and they go missing. Every parents nightmare. This was very much a detective/who done it mystery, my very favourite read!
The narrative went between four different characters, with a predominant character being the journalist, Kate Waters. I loved Barton’s writing style, as she intertwined the narratives seamlessly, leading to the perfect unraveling of the story. This is a stand alone read, despite the fact it is book #3 of the Kate Waters series.
I thoroughly enjoyed Kate's character and was hooked by the narrative of the missing girl, which led to some big clues, admittedly still leaving me guessing for a while. Another aspect of the story that drew me in, aside from the police procedural, was the social media aspect, along with the sporadic emails (again clues!). I really enjoyed the beginning of this story and towards the end just couldn't put it down.
I’ll definitely be heading off to look at Barton’s first two in this series.