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The Suspect - February book club

(74 Posts)
annsixty Fri 01-Feb-19 10:35:47

Thank you, I have just received a copy of this month's book and it looks just my "cup of tea".
I can't wait to start it.

Greenfinch Fri 01-Feb-19 10:52:41

Mine arrived yesterday.Many thanks. I am reading it now as conditions are dreadful in my part of Berkshire.Even the rubbish collection has been suspended.😥

matson Fri 01-Feb-19 13:24:25

Thank you for The Suspect, looking forward to reading it.

Grannyjacq1 Fri 01-Feb-19 14:16:27

Have just received my copy and have read the first 3 chapters while I had my morning cuppa. Can't wait to carry on reading - I'm already gripped.

Jishere Fri 01-Feb-19 18:25:32

Just recieved my copy thank you very much. Look forward to reading it.

blueberry1 Sat 02-Feb-19 11:31:00

Received my copy this morning,thank you.Will be starting on it tomorrow,after I have finished my current book tonight.

LadyGracie Sat 02-Feb-19 12:37:19

I received my copy yesterday. Thank you, I look forward to reading it.

daffodil07 Sat 02-Feb-19 12:58:56

Received my copy yesterday, many thanks. Like Grannyjacq1 I read the first 3 chapters and am hooked, a definite page turner.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Sat 02-Feb-19 15:50:49

You beat us to it! Glad the copies are making it through the snow. It's a great read. Do leave your questions and comments for the author on this thread and we will send them over to her at the end of the month

emmasnan Sat 02-Feb-19 18:47:05

Received my copy today. Thank you, looking forward to reading it.

Maggiemaybe Sat 02-Feb-19 18:50:37

I've got my copy thank you. I'm very much looking forward to reading it, just as soon as I find out who Jo Nesbo's Snowman is.....

Sar53 Sat 02-Feb-19 19:25:59

I received my copy today. Thank you.

Harris27 Sat 02-Feb-19 19:31:38

Ireceived mine on Friday thanks will start it this weekend and get back to you.

obag Sun 03-Feb-19 09:58:38

Received my copy on Friday will start it tomorrow.

Jishere Mon 04-Feb-19 13:33:12

I would like to know if the author has been to Thailand and is this anyway based on actual events?

On a personal note I am enjoying the small chapters although Fiona writes in a simplistic way and I can't feel the real distress of the characters. Her character's do alot of thinking which at times are another way of telling the story but can be a bit out of place for the reader. i.e When Kate first meets Jenny she thinks. But u don't seem keen on the idea, I wonder why. P.35. I mean there is no indication of the women's distress in the writing before except what the reader knows her daughter is missing! So why would she be keen to be there?
For me it was obvious that Kate's son was the boy in hospital.

But all said and done of course this has left me wanting to read part two because I want to know what will happen.

Mapleleaf Tue 05-Feb-19 18:51:14

My copy arrived last week, and I'm looking forward to starting it. I've just got to finish the book I'm reading at the moment, though.

bernie777 Wed 06-Feb-19 16:30:01

Thanks for the book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's well written and the level of suspense kept me reading late into the night. Though I suspected the ending it didn't really matter as I was so absorbed in the tale. I'll certainly keep my eyes open for anything else she's written.

GrannyBear Wed 06-Feb-19 21:50:15

‘The Suspect’ is largely set in Thailand and addresses some of the issues which arise when two teenage girls ‘go missing’ from a Backpackers Hostel.

The structure of the book is interesting as the story is told through the voices of one of the Girls (Alex O’Connor), her Mother (Lesley O’Connor), the Detective assigned to the case (DI Bob Sparkes) and a Fleet Street Reporter (Kate Waters). The narrative switches between voices and timelines with each of the main characters being deeply involved in on-going events in very personal, and different, ways.

The style of writing, where the story unfolds through different voices on different timelines, generally does not appeal to me, but in this instance I feel this approach really works. It helps build the plot layer by layer and, for me, draws the reader into engaging with not only the girls and their families as they wrestle with tragic events, but also with how these events impact on the personal, as well as the professional, lives of the Detective and the Reporter. The narratives from all four perspectives rapidly become equally engrossing.

The story switches between the UK and Thailand. There are interesting insights into the Thai way of life, both the unspoken ‘sleazy’ side as portrayed by the ready availability of alcohol, drugs and sex and the public ‘smiley’ side as portrayed by the Thai police in dealing with the aftermath of events. There are a few unexpected twists in the plot although the ending is (almost) predictable.

The ending raises interesting, and important, moral questions and I would be interested to see how the outcomes affect Kate Waters in the longer term. Hence, one of my questions for Fiona is whether indeed she has plans for another novel featuring Kate and/or DI Sparkes? I have not read either of the earlier books (‘The Child’; ‘The Widow’) but I would be interested in finding out more of the backstory to these characters, so I will try and read them sometime in the near future!

I would also like to ask Fiona about her personal involvement with Thailand. Have you visited there? Lived there? And in particular, where did you get your inspiration for the way you portrayed the Thai police and their handling of the ‘missing persons’? Many thanks.

Nanabanana1 Wed 06-Feb-19 22:10:29

Hi All
How do I join the book club please.

Maggiemaybe Thu 07-Feb-19 20:01:14

Hi, Nanabanana1. Gransnet HQ gives away 50 free copies of a newly published book every month, for which there is a free draw that normally opens midway through the previous month on here: You just need to enter your details on the form provided for a chance of winning one. If you are lucky enough the book is posted out to you and you then come onto the thread for that month and give your review of it. The best way to make sure you don't miss out on the draw (which is only open for a few days) is to sign up for the GN daily newsletter email, which will let you know when it is open for applications.

Grannyjacq1 Sat 09-Feb-19 10:59:36

I enjoyed reading this novel and found it gripping – difficult to put down at times. The short chapters and the different dates/points of view given helped the reader to navigate their way through the absorbing plot. The story line is topical, with students going missing when travelling abroad rarely being out of the headlines. I’m pleased that when my son and his partner went travelling in Asia some years ago, it was pre-mobile phones and social media , so we just had to assume they were OK unless we heard otherwise. No news was good news. I think I would have been very worried if I had been reading ‘The Suspect’ today, with a son/daughter ‘travelling’ abroad.
I liked the idea of the journalist becoming a ‘victim’ of the press herself – experiencing what it is like to be on the other side of the fence. I think one of the main issues of the book was the fact that Kate and her husband seemed to be very inadequate parents in some ways, with little knowledge of their son Jake. Maybe this is very typical nowadays? I also appreciated the final twist at the end. Who wouldn’t want to give their child a second chance? A real moral dilemma.
On the critical side, I felt that Fiona Barton could have done more to make the settings more evocative. I get the feeling that she is still a journalist/reporter rather than a novelist. From her settings, I couldn’t really picture the atmosphere in Thailand. It was the same with the characters – I felt I couldn’t visualise them, and needed more descriptive detail. That’s probably just me. And some of the dialogue seemed a little unnatural – though many of the conversations did take place in unnatural environments – interviews with police, reporters etc. Deliberately restrained perhaps. But overall a good read.
Questions to ask Fiona: Have you actually spent much time in Thailand? Are we supposed to admire Kate Waters?
I haven't read any of Fiona's previous novels, but would like to do so. Thanks for involving me with the Gransnet Bookclub and enticing me to read the sort of book that I probably wouldn't choose of my own accord.

matson Sat 09-Feb-19 15:55:18

A well written, and presented novel. The chapters were short and concise so following the story was easy , sadly the content was bland and predictable, not much thrill in this thriller for me.

Gransey Sat 09-Feb-19 16:25:20

Thank you for my free book, I read it in less than a day.
I can understand why the author writes as a reporter as she formerly was one and reported crimes too. She is writing what she knows.
At first glance the book looks impressive, by a "best selling" author (New York and Sunday Times no less) with cover comments from Stephen King and Lee Child.
I wanted to like this story, my own daughter went off to Thailand as a beginning to her Gap year. Although she was 25 and far more sensible she too had to contend with a partygoing friend.
The novel didn't thrill me, I found it predictable, never a real sense of danger and not what I would call "a page turner". In fact the formula of going back and forward in time and using different characters to tell their version of the story is, I feel, very typical of many of the cheap Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited books that are so common? I wonder why we seem to be so fond of crime, thrillers and murder?
I can't say I didn't enjoy this novel at all, I was just disappointed, I had hoped for more.
I hope giving negative feedback will not preclude me from receiving free books in the future?

rocketstop Sun 10-Feb-19 18:29:20

I thought the book was a good read and well researched.
I don't want to include any spoilers here so I won't refer directly to what happens, but I did like the way the suspicion shifted back and forth between the characters. I felt that the author managed to create quite a nasty undercurrent running through the whole book which ramped up the tension. I must say though, I did expect Mama to be an old Ladyboy, I was quite disappointed we didn't find out more about her life and how she came to have the hostel.
Fiona, did you have to kind of shut yourself off from what parents of prospective gap year kids might think if they read this book? All the time I was reading it I thought 'My God, if I still had teenage kids and they were going away I think I would have freaked out and chained them to me' !!
I think maybe other reviewers found it not pacy enough, but I think the pace was just right, it is just like ordinary life...Until it goes wrong ! I enjoyed the book.

annsixty Sun 10-Feb-19 20:58:32

I was expecting to enjoy the book more than I did.
It was a good read but
I do not really like books that go back and forward particularly but accept that sometimes it is necessary to tell the story and perhaps build the tension.
If I had a child or a grandchild proposing to take a gap year I think I would do everything in my power to dissuade them.
I thought I would feel drawn to a visit to Thailand, actually I didn't.
Is another book in the pipeline?
Will it tell more about Kate and the detective?
Were they featured in earlier novels or not as I haven't read her previous work.