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The Suspect

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A 3.5-star rating. A good book, but not as action-packed as I would have liked. I couldn't relate much to the characters, maybe because I haven't read the two previous books in the Kate Waters series.

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Lately, I seem to be stuck in "three-star land." Another book that kept my interest but fizzled in the end. There was one surprise reveal, but other than that, not much in the way of anything that grabs you by the seat of the pants. Might make for a good tv movie.

Thanks NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review.

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This is a scary depiction of something that could very well happen in today's society. It is hard to believe that parents would let their teenage daughters backpack through Thailand but gap year adventures are becoming popular. I enjoyed the mystery and was able to figure out some things. Recommended!

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The Suspect
Fiona Barton

What it's all about...

Alex has planned a trip to Thailand with her best friend Mags for quite a long time. At the last minute Mags can’t go and Rosie steps in. Rosie is not a close friend of Alex and while they are at the first stop on their trip she shows a side of herself that is not pleasing to Alex. Rosie wants to party, drink, take drugs and sleep with boys that she just meets. When the parents of the girls don’t hear from them for days...worry and panic set in and the parents go to Thailand to see what has happened to their daughters. Kate is a reporter with an interest in this case. Her son is in Thailand, too, and she wants to follow the parents to get the story of the missing girls and also try to find her son. When it’s determined that her son...Jake... is in the same place as Alex and Rosie...Kate is even more determined to find any connection between her son and the missing girls.

My thoughts after reading this book...

I loved the fast pace and intensity of this book but I love all of this author’s books. Horrible living conditions and an over abundance of drugs and alcohol defined the girls’ stay in Thailand. Their dream trip was rapidly falling apart. Alex and Rosie are not even getting along. Their relationship worsens when Alex sees Rosie stealing money from her backpack.

What I loved best...

Kate was a reporter on a mission. She wanted to find out what happened to Alex and Rosie but at the same time she had to figure out her son’s involvement. What happened on this trip is a puzzle slowly being unraveled. And the puzzle continues to get more and more tangled with Jake’s involvement.

What potential readers might want to know...

Readers who love complex super charged mysteries will love this book.

I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley. It was my choice to read and review it.

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I did not realize that The Suspect was the third installment within a series. It can be read as a stand alone book, but perhaps if I had read the first books I would have felt more connected to the characters. Overall, the story was a slow burn, well developed mystery. The concept of losing touch with your child while he or she is vacationing on a “gap year” in a foreign country is frightening. The book did not disappoint and kept me turning the page. If you enjoy unraveling a story layer by layer then pick this one up!

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I am a huge fan of Fiona Barton but this book did not live up to her other books. I’m not sure why this one didn’t draw me in as easily but I suspect it was due to the number of characters telling the story as well as the timeline constantly shifting. Since I was reading on my kindle it made it hard to look back which I frequently felt the need to do to clear up confusion.

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This story opens with the worried mothers of two young English girls on their gap year holiday in Thailand. Rosie and Alex are 17, mere acquaintances, and traveling abroad on their own for the first time. They have agreed to contact their parents every few days and when weeks go by without contact, the parents grow concerned. Local reporter Kate Waters decides to investigate the story. She has ulterior motives however. Her own son Jake, has been traveling abroad for the last two years, barely keeping in touch with his family. Last she heard he was in Phuket, so Kate is hoping to investigate the girls’ disappearance while also searching for signs of her son. She becomes close to the girls’ parents but things become complicated and awkward when Jake becomes a suspect in this complicated story.

This was a good story, taking many turns, and you aren’t sure who is really malicious. Kate also has a hard time with the conflict of interest as a mother and remaining an objective reporter. This was a good thriller that I would recommend to fans of the genre.

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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What a great way to ring in the New Year! My first book of the year The Suspect was a win! I read this as a group read with my fellow Traveling Sisters. As a whole everyone really enjoyed it.

This was a slow burn for me that increased with intensity which each page. I found that a little before the halfway point I could not put it down. I think one thing that made it so interesting was that you can easily imagine this whole scenario actually happening.

Two young girls go missing in Thailand after they embark on an adventure of a lifetime. Wanting to experience the world before tying themselves down to college. Alex and Rosie set off for a experience they should remember for a lifetime. Except things were not exactly going as planned. The girls lose contact with their parents, will they ever be heard from again?

I tell you what, if I had a child traveling in another country while reading this book, I would be having a bit of a breakdown right about now. It was so realistic, it drew me right in. There were several twists that caught me off guard and had me frantically trying to contact my fellow Traveling Sisters for a "freak out" moment.

This was my first Fiona Barton book and it was a winner for me! I found it to be a page turner and suspenseful right up until the end. I can see more of her books in my future for sure.

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Fiona Barton burst onto the scene with her 2016 debut, The Widow, a novel I devoured one blistery, snowy day. Fast-forward three years, and Fiona now has just as many book under her belt. I’ll admit I was a little disappointed with her sophomore release, The Child, though it could have been a combination of multiple factors: I had overly high expectations, I listened on audio, or it could have been that I read it during the summer. For whatever reason, The Child didn’t live up to my hopes (though now I’m thinking I might need to give it a second try).

That said, when I was approached to take part in the blog tour for The Suspect, I pounced. I wanted to relive that blizzard of a day when I first discovered The Widow.

Two eighteen-year-old girls suddenly go missing in Thailand and their families are suddenly in the spotlight. Why didn’t the girls call home the night they said they would? Where could they have possibly gone? Why isn’t anyone from their hostel talking? Journalist Kate Waters wants this story – and not just because it’s gained international attention. This is a story that hits close to home for her: two years ago her own son ventured off on a global adventure and she’s heard from him only a handful of times since he left.

As the case slowly unfolds, it becomes clear Alex’s and Rosie’s parents didn’t know their daughters as well as they once thought…and Kate’s worries are closer at hand than she imagined.

Told in four perspectives: Alex, the mother, the reporter, and the detective, The Suspect wastes no time jumping right into the action. The fast pace had me instantly engaged and flipping pages; I needed to know what Alex was thinking, how her mother was reacting, what was going on inside Kate’s head as she dug deeper into the mystery.

A hostel fire and a shady owner, a nasty divorce and remarriage, a cancer diagnosis, there were several other storylines at play here and normally I could have done without them in order to get to the meat of the story. Much to my surprise, everything here worked. I was intrigued by the bad relationships and grim prognoses just as much as I was by the fate of the two girls.

There are a few tidy bows and sitcom-y reveals, but overall I was thoroughly invested in The Suspect! I’m not one to post spoilers – especially for mystery novels – but this was one I didn’t want to put down and I dove into it at just the right time: a snowy weekend. There’s nothing like reading a mystery on a cold winter day, is there? I do recommend this one and look forward to Fiona’s next! Newcomers, feel free to jump into this one; while all three novels are part of a larger series, each can easily be read as a standalone.

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A trip that was to be so fun, a friend couldn't go, another offered - A nightmare begins -
I was given this book from NetGalley for an honest review -
Kate, a reporter whose son is also missing wants first dibs on the story of the two girls missing .
As she discovers more she uncovers that her son was there also - was he involved? what happened? and where are the girls?
Once again I found the ending to be a shocker!

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I just couldn't get into The Suspect like I did the previous two books of Fiona Barton's. ,

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The third installment in Fiona Barton’s Kate Waters series is a solid, engrossing read. Should be noted that this book can be read as a stand-alone.
Alexandra O’Connor and Rosie Shaw are eighteen years old and backpacking in Thailand. But after no contact with their families, they are reported missing. As is usually the case, the police aren’t too concerned as they are adults.
Journalist Kate waters hears of the missing teens, and decides to write a story and take an interest in the disappearance. It hits close to home for her, as she has not heard from her own son in over 2 years.
Told in different points of view, The Suspect is a good, suspenseful, well crafted story.

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The Suspect by Fiona Barton is a 2019 Berkley publication.

Two young ladies, casual friends with one another, travel to Thailand together. It was supposed to be the trip of their lives, but once they arrived, things went horribly awry. After failing to contact their families for a while, their parents sound the alarm, bringing the case into the spotlight.

Kate is instantly intrigued by the story and pursues it with her usual gusto. She then discovers her own son, who hasn’t touched base with his family for a long time, is also in Thailand. This gives her even more of an incentive to travel to Thailand, hoping to contact her long lost son, as well as discover what became of the two missing girls.

One thing that really threw me off course was the cohesiveness of the story itself. It didn’t gel and seemed to meander as though the author wasn’t quite sure in which direction she wished to travel. As a result, the story didn’t grab me, didn’t entice me to keep turning pages, or keep me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next.

The characters were tepid, and not all that interesting, except when they got on my nerves. I really didn’t care for any of them. The adults behaved like spoiled children half the time, and their offspring proudly carried on the tradition.

The conclusion was very weak, in my opinion. Kate’s dilemma and her flimsy rationalizations nearly made my eyes roll back in my head. But I can’t really expound on that without giving anything away.

Overall, I finished this one mainly to see how things would turn out, and although I did get my answers, they left me feeling more exasperated than satisfied.
2 stars

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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I read the description of this book I was intrigued by it and I wanted to read it and find out what happened to the girls, and where was Kate’s son. I was not disappointed. The book had two good mysteries going on and eventually they intertwined and I was like whoa and then was even more intrigued to see where it was going to go from there.

The plot of the book was well done, the book was told in multiple perspectives which worked well for this story because you were getting different views of all the people involved and their side of the story. That way you are seeing what the people trying to discover what happened are feeling and then you see the perspective of the people it is happening to. The story flowed nicely and there were good twists that had you guessing how the story was going to play out.

The characters were pretty well developed, I don’t think I particularly liked anyone in the sense that I wanted to see what happened, but they all had some flaws where I was like well this is your doing so…But, you get a background on each of the characters and you know how that relates to what is going on in the story and the way the ending plays out.

The ending had a good twist that you don’t quite suspect is coming, but have a feeling that there is more to the story than what really happened and then bam you know. I won’t say what because I don’t want to give it away. The Suspect was definitely a fun and entertaining read. I would recommend it.

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This is my first Fiona Barton book and I didn't realize there were two more before this one, however I didn't feel like I came late to the party and didn't understand what was going on. There was just enough backstory for me to understand the dynamics. This one took me a minute to get invested because the beginning chapters were short and choppy introducing all the key players. At first we meet the reporter, Kate, whose son is estranged and doesn't call much. Then we meet the mother Lesley who, along with her husband Malcolm, is quite worried about their daughter whose on her gap year travels and hasn't checked in with them at the scheduled time. Next up is Inspector Bob Sparkes, who is having his own family troubles. All our main characters converge when the daughter on holiday gets in trouble in Thailand. What happens next is a mystery with quite a few twists that I honestly didn't see coming. I thought I had it all figured out and then the story turned on me so I had to reevaluate. All in all I was pleasantly surprised with this one.

I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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When two girls go missing on a trip to Thailand, not only the police but journalist Kate Waters, whose son is also in Thailand, begin to investigate. This book starts out very engaging and mysterious, but kind of drags as it goes on. Although this book works fine as a standalone, the reporter and inspector are characters from Barton's other books and it helps to have their history.

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The first hint of trouble comes with an absence. There's no email in Lesley O'Connor's inbox when she looks for a missive from her 18-year-old daughter, Alex. It's alarming because Alex was meant to be contacting her parents to find out her A Level results. It's even more worrisome because Alex and a friend, Rosie Shaw, are supposed to be enjoying an adventure in Thailand. They contact the police to report that the last time they had heard from Alex was when she said she was in Bangkok. Both sets of parents meet with Detectives Bob Sparkes and Zara Salmond to ask for help in contacting the British Embassy in Thailand and reporter Kate Walker soon gets involved in trying to find out what's become of the missing girls. But Kate has her own private concerns -- her own son, Jake, hasn't phoned home much since he bunked off to Phuket after leaving his university studies over 2 years ago. Something is truly amiss in Thailand and this mystery must be solved as worries for the teenagers mount. NO SPOILERS.

What a great story! Told in alternating points of view, the reader hears the voices of Alex, Kate, Bob, and Lesley who describe events in detail as they happen. The shifts in perspective were easy to follow and lent a great deal of tension and suspense to the evolving tale. You can feel the parents' anguish intensify as it all unfolds and you can imagine the frustration experienced by the police and by Kate as they try to find out information from officials on foreign soil. The writing was excellent and I had difficulty in putting the book down as more and worse is revealed. I definitely liked the style in which this was told and just sat quietly as I tried to take it all in after I turned the last page.

I had read the first book in the Kate Waters series and do have the second (which I'll definitely go back to), but I wanted to read this by publication day as I was grateful to NetGalley and Berkley for the e-book ARC to review. This is definitely a book I can recommend as I understand all too well that "protecting our children changes who we are. Who we seem to be."

And lastly, call me overprotective and whatever, but I can honestly say that there's no way on earth I'd let my 18-year-old daughter go off backpacking in Thailand with a girlfriend. Oh yes, I know that bad stuff can happen anywhere -- even in your own backyard -- but it just seems way too risky of a venture.

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I was quite impressed with the latest mystery by Fiona Barton. She skillfully weaves a suspenseful story while managing to include the humanity of loss and the fear of every parent.
Each portion of the story is revealed at deliberate intervals so that the reader isn't frustrated by wondering about elements for too long. And the twists keep coming until the very end, so that even when you think you know everything, you really don't.
I like the chapters from alternating points of view, so that the reader is kept just a bit more informed than the different parties involved, but only just slightly. I much prefer this to the other way around (where the reader is totally in the dark and the characters know everything).
I will definitely read more books by Barton in the future, I appreciate how she furthers the stories of the main characters, but doesn't get bogged down on side tangents so much that she neglects the main plot.

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This is my third Barton book and in looking back, it seems I rated every single one the exact same way. And look, everyone has their own way of thinking about ratings but I do not consider a 3 star rating bad like some people. And this has been my consistent rating for Barton... and I still need to read everything she writes!

She has a way of keeping you addicted to the pages. She writes in a way that keeps the story flowing. Different perspectives: in this case, one of the teenage girls who is missing, a mother/reporter whose son has been a mystery to her and the detectives on the case. These all intertwine... though I'm not sure the storyline of one was entirely necessary to keep the story full.

The thing with Barton is that she gives us this little bit of a mystery, the suspense through the story and it's all done at the same pacing. There's never any real BIG reveal or a throat punch twist. I think those who love these types of stories should absolutely pick up all 3 of Barton's books. There also seems to always still be some type of dangling mystery still to keep your mind moving as you turn that last page.

I do enjoy her novels. I close the book with this kind of …. but but but… but in a good way. I think I prefer those novels that while aren't always tidy, also gives me more of a roller coaster in the feelings department. I'll certainly still be keeping my eye out for whatever Barton comes out with next, because she definitely does entertain.

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The Suspect is another winner from author Fiona Barton. This book literally had my attention at page one. The story of two missing English girls in Thailand is told from several perspectives – the mother of one of the girls, a reporter who becomes personally involved in the disappearance, an English detective and one of the missing girls. As the story progresses it becomes apparent that there are secrets and lies that will be uncovered before the truth is determined.

Once again, Fiona Barton weaves a fascinating tale, interspersing the disappearance and subsequent investigation with details concerning the private lives of the various players. It also has some unexpected jolts and twists that will keep a reader totally engaged and focused.

As with the other books by this author, I thoroughly enjoyed The Suspect. I am already looking forward to the next book by the incomparable Ms Barton.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

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