I have an App on my phone called Libby, my link to ebooks on my library system. I often browse and intermittently find books, but sometimes Libby magically produces an ebook I’d forgotten I ordered. Fiona Barton’s The Suspect caught my eye when it was first published in January. By now, most of you have probably read it but no spoilers here just in case.
Every parent’s nightmare may be having their teen age girls go backpacking in Thailand on their own, and when the two young girls in Barton’s story, Alex and Rosie, suddenly disappear, their parents are notably frantic. The story connects the lives of the families with both a newspaper reporter, Kate Waters, whose son is also in Thailand working through a break from law school, and with the detective on the case.
Barton informs the reader about how the girls are coping by intermittently backtracking to them in Thailand. The reader knows more than the parents but it isn’t long before all the characters serendipitously come together. Comically, the police and reporters are sometime tripping over one another, but Kate Waters is Barton’s star investigative reporter, always a step ahead.
Murder is the focus, with the pursuit of the suspected killers. The book is a fast read and a fun whodunit, with notable asides on social media, international law, and parental responsibility. The ending pulls the plot together, with a surprise smoking gun.
The Suspect is Barton’s third book in the Kate Water series which began with The Widow in 2016, but you don’t have to have read the first two to enjoy Kate’s detective skills. Have you read it yet?