Review: The Child by Fiona Barton

Genre: Thriller

Rating: 1.0/5.0 stars

Main takeaway: a slow-burning, not-so-thrilling “thriller” with predictable plot twists


The Child by Fiona Barton was recommended to me from my favorite book blog. I’d never heard of the book before, but once I saw it on the blog I looked more into it and found that it was also previously a Book of the Month choice. Because of these two factors, I had high expectations for this so-called thriller and immediately ran off to the library to check it out.

Set in modern-day London, The Child follows the stories of three women after the discovery of a baby’s skeleton in a construction site: Angela, a mother still grieving over the kidnapping of her child 40 years later; Emma, a woman who seems to be hiding a connection to the crime; and Kate, a reporter gunning for her next big story. As Kate investigates the mystery of the construction-site-baby, her life becomes deeply ingrained in both Angela’s and Emma’s past and present. Consequently, Kate discovers the secrets of this mystery run deeper than she could have imagined.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting from this book, but I was thoroughly disappointed.

For a thriller, not much happened in this book. The pacing was incredibly slow, and the majority of the text was dialogue. It took about 80% of the book for the reader to understand why Emma was even included as a character in the book, which was incredibly frustrating. There was no action, there was nothing thrilling about this book, especially since about halfway through you can easily guess what the ending will be. The premise of this book – a body decades old and a cold case coming back into light – is enticing and has so much potential. But the execution, in my opinion, was butchered. If you’re looking for an exciting, edge-of-your-seat thriller that keeps you guessing, that builds the suspense and keeps the pages turning like wildfire, The Child by Fiona Barton is NOT for you. My only consolation is that I checked this out of the library, instead of spending money to buy it.


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