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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Taut Crime Thriller a Pulse-Pounding Page-Turner

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for The Suspect, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from earlier Kate Waters books.  Even though this installment is labeled a standalone, I still recommend reading books in a series in order.

As a journalist who's used to covering hard news, Kate Waters is an expert at maintaining objectivity.  She observes what's happening, cajoles victims into telling her their stories, writes up her pieces, and sends them across the wires.  She's not a cold-hearted monster; she's just doing her job.

When Kate hears the news that two 18-year-old British girls have disappeared while on a backpacking trip in Thailand, she's immediately on alert.  It's not only because it's been a slow news week, but also because her own son—24-year-old Jake—has been in the Asian country for the past two years, almost incommunicado with his worried parents.  If she's sent on location for the newspaper, she can help find the missing girls and check on Jake at the same time.

Kate is shocked to discover that something very sinister has gone down in Thailand.  And that Jake may be tangled up in it.  Frantic with worry, Kate flies to Thailand determined to find not two missing young adults, but three ...

While there's nothing super unique or original about The Suspect, a taut thriller by Fiona Barton, the novel is still a pulse-pounding page-turner.  I read it fast and furious, anxious to know what would happen next.  I guessed most of the twists, but still, the story's compelling enough that I kept reading.  Way later than I should have, as a matter of fact.  In addition to a fast-paced plot, the novel features sympathetic characters (the adult protagonists anyway—the kids are selfish, shallow brats) and capable prose.  Like I said, there's nothing shout-it-from-the-rooftops amazing here, but I'm definitely up for reading more from Barton.  If you like British crime thrillers, give this newcomer a try.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Tana French, Sharon Bolton, Jane Casey, Paula Hawkins, Ruth Ware, etc.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, mild sexual content, depictions of illegal drug use and underage drinking, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Suspect from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!


  1. I actually DNFed The Widow from her but have seen good reviews for this one. Maybe I'll check it out. Great review!

  2. I read her first two books (well listened) and really enjoyed them both. I know what you mean about them not being unique but for me they've worked so I'm definitely adding this one to my TBR.

  3. If something is a page turner and keeps you up later than your usual bedtime, that's a good sign. :-)

  4. I’m a fan. I enjoyed The Widow and this one. Like you said, nothing earth-shattering here, but entertaining.


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