Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton

: The Suspect
Author: Fiona Barton
Pages: 416
Genre: Mystery
Source: Free ARC from Berkley

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Note: As stated under the Source (above), I received this book for free from Berkley via NetGalley & Edelweiss. I pride myself on writing fair and honest reviews.

Goodreads Summary

“When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft, and frantic with worry. What were the girls up to before they disappeared?

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, whom she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling.

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…”


Though I have the first book by this author in print, I haven’t yet read it. And when I requested this book, I had no idea that either of them was part of the same series, so…there you go. Fortunately, I don’t think it made much difference, at least not to my enjoyment of the story.

Definitely a slow burn, this one. The first half jumps between narrators, giving insight into what the girls were up to before they went missing, while simultaneously walking us through the parent’s feelings and actions as they try to find them. Honestly, I was a bit bored and even a smidge irritated. Fortunately, it picked up in the second half, when it was finally revealed what became of the girls, and the story started to unravel the who’s and the why’s. Thanks to the second half, I don’t regret having pushed through.

The characters were rather flat as was the mood. There just wasn’t enough character development to latch on to anyone in a significant way. The primary reason for this is there was so much going on, so many different background stories offered as a means to muddy the waters (all that motive!). However, I feel like there should at least have been some deeper connection to Kate and the Detective as I suspect they are the two characters that connect the series. 

And the ending! Just. No. Nuh uh. I can’t say for certain that I would have done differently because I’m not in that situation, and I can’t elaborate because *spoilers* but it didn’t sit well with me. Not even a little bit. 

Nutshell: Slow start, much better second half, minimal buy in, decent mystery, frustrating ending. 

15 Replies to “Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton”

    • DNF’ing is not an easy thing for me to do (so much guilt!), and the book usually has to be pretty terrible for me to walk away. Generally, the writing itself has to be so weak it’s annoying. Her technique and style are fine, and she’s a well-known author so I pushed through. I don’t feel like it was a waste of time, so…

      And thank you!

    • There was a lot of focus on backstory, plot building, and bouncing between perspectives. Perhaps it was more that the character building was insufficient. There was a lot of opportunity to generate empathy for all parties involved, to build up suspense for what was coming, but it didn’t really happen for me.

  1. Very thoughtful and complete review Myndi, I have read so many mixed reviews on this book, that I think every reader will have to decide for themself. I hope your next book was more enjoyable for you.

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