Book Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton (Kate Waters #3)


Book Title and Author: The Suspect by Fiona Barton
Series: Kate Waters #3
Publication Date and Publisher: January 22, 2019 by Berkley Publishing
Genre: Fiction,
Pages: 416 pages
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Date Read: December 11, 2018 (e-arc)

3 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

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… 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed Fiona Barton’s previous book The Child, which I listened to on audiobook (it’s fabulous on audio, by the way), so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest novel The Suspect, especially after I realized spirited journalist Kate Waters, who I liked immensely from The Child, was making another starring role appearance. If you’ve read Barton’s first book The Widow, which I haven’t btw, and The Child, you’ll know that Kate is one of the recurring characters in Barton’s novels, along with DI Bob Sparkes, although the books don’t read as one continuous series, so there’s no worry about reading them in order.

I found the premise of The Suspect to be one that really drew my interest. Two eighteen-year-old girls, Alex and Rosie, go traveling to Thailand on what is meant to be a fun-filled back-packing trip only to suddenly go missing after a few weeks. Talk about every parent’s worst nightmare! It’s a nightmare that will have you turning pages to solve the mystery behind their disappearance!

The story of the girl’s disappearance is one that notably arouses Kate’s interest, especially since her oldest son Jake, who isn’t much older than the two girls, headed to Thailand two years ago and has barely been heard from since, so she decides to begin investigating in the hopes she can discover what happened to the two teenagers. Maybe if Kate can help find out what occurred to Alex and Rosie while she’s in Thailand, she can find Jake…little does Kate know what she’ll find in her search for the truth!

This is a slow-burning suspense, which many of my favorite suspense novels are, and although it kept me turning pages to see how everything was going to play out, I felt this one dragged at times, especially after I figured out two big plot twists in the book. So by the “shocking” end, I was conflicted–I had enjoyed some parts of the book, while others not so much.

I also felt that there was a serious lack of connection with the characters that just couldn’t be saved by an intriguing setting or interesting plot, and I can stand almost anything but a lack of well-developed characters and for me, most of the characters were stereotypical this time around, with the exception for DI Sparkes. Even Kate who I enjoyed in The Child felt stereotypical as did the bereaved parents and the almost vicious journalists who were trying to get their stories.

I really felt this had the potential to be an amazing thriller and as I said, it did have its enjoyable moments, but I can’t find myself feeling it to be more than just an average read, one that I’ll easily forget. I know others have loved it so definitely read it for yourself instead of taking my word for it. I do recommend it if you’re a fan of Barton’s previous books.

**Thank you Edelweiss and Berkley Publishing for an ARC to read and review in exchange for my fair and honest opinion.**

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24 thoughts on “Book Review: The Suspect by Fiona Barton (Kate Waters #3)

    1. Thanks Berit! I’ll be interested in what you think. I’ve read mixed reviews but mostly positive so I hope you enjoy it. The storyline is good, I think figuring out who did what so early (and so obviously) killed my mood. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cathy. It was. I definitely enjoyed moments but it just didn’t work as a whole. I almost wonder if the audio book would have been better since that’s how I enjoyed her previous.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I listened to The Widow and believe this author’s style is to get you to think about the human condition. At first I was ready to rate it about a 3 but the more days that elapsed, the more I realized how much that book had affected my thinking. A lot of what you describe here fits that first book. Stephanie, your review is excellent, thoughtful and truly plugged into writer and story. Believe me, I understand your conflict and I’m prepared to listen to this book (I will always listen to her stories) without waiting for the big moments.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if listening to it would have made a difference. The Child was excellent on audio, I gave it 4 stars, with an ensemble cast for the voices and it gave life to the storyline. I understand what you mean about her getting you to think about the human condition because she does in this book as you’re left with an enormous, shocking ethical issue at the end that causes you to question many things. I did enjoy that part just not the feeling that something was missing while I was reading or the disconnect. Figuring out the whodunit early on didn’t help either. I’ll read her again…maybe listen next time. I hope you enjoy it. I think you will. And thank you for your kind words about my review.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After reading this one and comparing it to the audio, I believe you. I think the narrators give her characters the connection with the reader that’s missing between the pages of the book. I may get a copy of the audio and see how it changes the experience.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jen! It’s okay. I enjoyed it more than I disliked it or I’d have rated it a 2. So there’s that! You’ll probably like it more than I did. I seem to be an outlier for this one. Enjoy it! Happy weekend to you too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Laurel! You’ll probably enjoy with some pre warning. I find she’s good at writing her mysteries but less her characters, but I’ll read her again. It was still an interesting read. Enjoy!


    1. Characterization is my favorite part of a book; if it’s lacking, then I’m probably going to take a star off. I think a lot comes from being a Literature professor for 18 years. I focus on character analysis constantly when teaching creative writing classes or Interpreting literature classes, so it’s second nature for me to analyze characters when I’m reading. Yes, it definitely helps, but I can understand that it’s not a must for you or maybe someone else. I think everyone has something that they look at when reading. I hope you enjoy this one…I know you’re looking forward to it! 💕

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mackey! I love well-developed characters! I’m glad you agree with me. I really wanted to love this one, but it just didn’t work. I’m glad someone understands where I’m coming from; it seems that I’m an outlier with this one.


    1. Yes, I just can’t love a book without well-developed characters plus this one had plot holes and the “villain” was clearly revealed way too early, so that killed it for me. There’s a lot of mixed reviews on this one–people love it or they don’t!

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