Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Child: A Novel by Fiona Barton

The Child: A Novel. Fiona Barton. Berkley. June 2017. 384 pp.  ISBN#:

Kate Waters decides to diversify from her boring journalistic ventures into something she can sink her teeth into.  During excavation of a building site, the skeleton of an infant of indeterminate age is found.  It’s a backstory of no particular attention due to the fact that the newspapers are paying more attention to the shenanigans around the upcoming Olympics in London, England. For some unexplained reason, however, Kate sticks to the story and begins to explore the neighborhood around where the child was found!

This story is told from four different points of view: Kate’s version as already described; a woman named Angela whose infant daughter was stolen from her hospital room when she went into the bathroom to take a shower; a woman named Emma whose dark secret has left her in a severe depression with anxiety that she finds impossible to handle even with medication; and Emma’s mother Jude, a self-centered woman whose lack of connection with her daughter leaves the reader thinking and feeling there’s more than meets the eye here. 

The story moves rather slowly in the middle of the book but then accelerates to roller coaster speed with a telephone call from Emma.  Her revealed secret to Kate is so stunning to Kate that she can barely handle it.  From there, the confusion rises as Angela’s obsession leads her to believe the dead child is her own and not Emma’s.  The reader will be amazed at the way this mystery unfolds and Fiona Barton is superb at plotting with sensitive time and interesting facts.  This could be anyone’s story but the way the lives of these three women interact is absolutely astonishing.  Kate Waters has not only a journalistic eye and ear but a sensitive soul that enables anyone she interviews to open up and expose supposedly insignificant facts.

This is fine, fine mystery or crime fiction reading and highly recommended to readers of all ages!

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