Book Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

We were first introduced to Kate Waters in Fiona Barton’s excellent debut novel, The Widow, but I’m always a bit concerned when it comes to a second book, especially if I loved the first one. So often, book 2 just doesn’t hold up to the hype. Happily, that’s not the case with The Child. The main characters are back, as is Barton’s signature multi-POV style, as she tells the story of the skeleton of a baby found at a construction site.
Told from the perspective of four women and covering a timeline of several decades, the protagonist is Kate Waters, a journalist fighting to keep her newspaper job by looking for the next big story. Her boss isn’t convinced that a long-dead baby is the ticket (“Madonna’s veiny hands,” he tells her, “that’s all people want to read today. Celebrity news.”) Undeterred, Kate follows lead after tenuous lead, all the while training a recent grad, Joe Jackson, in “old fashioned reporting.”
As a mystery writer, I’m often disappointed when I see the ending coming midway through, or worse, feeling cheated at the end when the clues are unfair. Barton plays fair, and the ending comes as a satisfying surprise.
Fiona Barton is reportedly at work on her third book. I, for one, can’t wait to read it. Five stars.

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