Montag, 10. Juli 2017

[Thoughts on books] Fiona Barton - The Child

When journalist Kate Waters finds the paragraph in an evening newspaper that the long buried body of a baby was discovered at a construction side it seems to be the story to get her career back on track. Quickly she finds some people who lived in those houses and also a hint who the baby could have been. Forty years ago, newborn Alice was kidnapped from the hospital and since then her mother Angela desperately wants to find her. But the story will uncover much more than it seems on the first look ...

I must admit that I am not a huge fan of the book, though I really enjoyed reading it. It is a nice psychological study rather than a thriller, and Fiona Barton has a very enjoyable style of writing. The words flow like a long, quiet river and I liked the three perspectives from which the story is being told. Kate is not a hard-boiled investigative reporter but nevertheless has her ways to find out things and clearly knows how to handle a situation to get what she wants. She is likeable and still sometimes you have to frown about her actions. Unfortunately the other two woman are not described with half as much detail. For Angela I would have wanted to read much more about her reactions on the discoveries. I also would have liked to look back on the happenings around Alice's kidnapping instead of being told about it from today's perspective. The same is true for Emma who I find not well characterized. Until the very end I had problems to imagine how old she actually was, somehow I couldn't follow up the timeline which is just shown in short mentions in an interview.

This was, in general, the weakest point of the book. Instead of really showing me incidents Barton just let people talk about them. To me as a reader it didn't help to find a real connection to the people, as I said especially Emma was even in the end a faint and distant character and I couldn't develop any image of her. This "keeping the reader in one time" is also the reason why I figured out the end-twist quite early. The book offers a few very nice plot twists, but since it is told in a rather straight forward manner it was easy to come up with the only possible solution, which I just couldn't believe to be true because, as I said, I had some problems to imagine the age of some of the people.

All in all, I would not tell you to leave the book on the shelf. You can read it an enjoy a few nice hours. But probably just wait for the paperback edition or until you find it in your local library. :-)

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