Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, thrust her into the minds of readers everywhere and introduced reporter Kate Waters. She returns with The Child, and it’s every bit as suspensful and well written, sure to please readers with its compelling story.

Journalist Kate is a seasoned print reporter trying to stay afloat in a 24 hr/online news world. She’s saddled with a trainee, Joe Jackson, just as a small article catches her eye when construction workers in Woolrich discover the remains of baby, long-buried and reduced to bones.

Besides Kate, the discovery affects two women: Angela, whose baby Alice was stolen from her hospital cot the night after being born; and Emma, a young woman whose secret has affected her entire life. Emma’s mother, Jude, raised Emma as a single mother and has a complicated relationship with her daughter.

Angela is convinced the bones are of her baby, Alice. Emma is convinced of something entirely different. Kate just wants to find the truth of the matter and the answer to her question: “Who would bury a baby?”Each woman, with Kate’s help, will find the answers they need to know.

Kate can’t let this story go, to the detriment at times of her own family life. She sets out to investigate the old neighbors who lived in that neighborhood, and uncovers tales of drugs, parties, illicit sex and more. She encourages Angela and is with the woman when her DNA is tested. And through a circuitous route, she eventually meet Emma and Jude.

Complicating matters is the way Kate must tread carefully between her job as a reporter to get the lead on the news, and the police investigation. Her detective contact is one she holds dear, and she must keep his confidence and that of the lead detective looking into the identity of the remains, while holding her editor at bay.

Each woman’s story is precisely told in this character-driven mystery, a taut thriller that explores the complex relationships we all hold with our families, our jobs, and our perceived identities. The suspense as the story unfolds will keep readers flipping pages to the satisfying denouement. Highly recommended.

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