The Child by Fiona Barton


the child

Book Review:  The Child by Fiona Barton

The Child is written in the first person point of view of four characters who are all affected when a child’s skeleton is found on a demolition site.

There is Kate, a journalist whose interest was sparked by the story when it was originally reported, prompting her to dig a little further into the investigation.  I enjoyed reading the way Kate went about [basically solving the mystery] garnering enough information to write her piece. The demise of the real journalist in the world of ‘social media reporters’ which accompanied Kate’s storyline was fantastic, as depressing as it was.

Emma was also an interesting character. Obviously suffering from depression and anxiety, I was always unsure whether or not she was a reliable narrator.

Emma’s mother, Jude, and Angela, a woman who might or might not be the mother of the child, were the other two narrators. I didn’t find I connected with either of these characters as much, and I thought the book could have easily been told using only Kate and Emma’s point of views.

The book uses extremely short chapters. Although this makes for an easy read, this frustrated me at times. For example, Emma might have been narrating before a chapter ended abruptly. I would then read on to find Emma was narrating the next chapter and she would recap information I’d already read previously. In these cases, I couldn’t understand why the chapters could simply not have carried on until there was a clear cliffhanger or a change of perspective.

I wouldn’t say the mystery/thriller is very creepy. There are moments when you might feel unsettled, but overall it’s rather tame compared to some other thrillers on the market.

The obligatory twist towards the end was satisfying, although I did see it coming for quite some time. Barton also spiralled into the ‘recap and info dump’ writing trap after she revealed the twist. I’m not sure why authors feel the need to finish their books this way…

I’d recommend reading the book just to get to know the Kate character, however. Although standalone, at times I wished I had read the first book in Barton’s series, The Widow, beforehand.  There are a few references made by Kate which I was intrigued by, especially during her interaction with the police. And I would definitely consider another book starring Kate should Barton release one.

3 and a half out of 5


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