As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?
As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.
But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn house by house into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women and torn between what she can and cannot tell.
The Child by Fiona Barton
Publication Date: June 27, 2017 by Berkley Books
Beer Pairing: Harpoon Citra Sea IPA
I’m a bit conflicted about my feelings regarding this book. Perhaps this is partly because of my expectations going into it (I absolutely LOVED Barton’s debut novel, The Widow). Much like The Widow, I enjoyed Barton’s writing style and her complicated, female characters. I think what was different about The Child is that while the chapters transitioned quickly between different points of view, the book as a whole moved at a much slower pace.
While I appreciate Barton’s storytelling and ability to slowly reveal all the hidden layers beneath what “seems” to be a simple crime investigation, I enjoy her characterization the most. All of the women in The Child are complicated individuals and Barton is skillful in both character development and deception – even when I thought I understood a character’s motives, Barton manages to instill enough doubt to make the reader question what is really true.
Dangerous to think you know too much, sometimes, because who really knows someone else? You can scratch the skin, but you never get to the meat of someone else. Into their bones.
While not as fast-paced as her first novel, The Child is a smart, suspenseful crime thriller and I’m excited to see what Fiona Barton writes next!