Pinterest tracking pixel
If you are having difficulty navigating this website please contact us at accessibility@bookofthemonth.com or 1-833-959-2686.
Oops! The page didn’t load right. Please refresh and try again.
The Child by Fiona Barton
Thriller

The Child

by Fiona Barton

Quick take

"Because readers see the mystery through the eyes of Kate, a reporter, it’s easy to feel as though you are a part of the investigation, too."

Why I love it

Cristina Arreola
BOTM Judge

Is there any explanation for why summer is the perfect season to indulge in what I—somewhat affectionately—like to call "murder books"? You know exactly what kind of book I’m talking about: that special brand of addictive thriller that features a female lead—maybe a journalist, maybe a detective, maybe just a woman with a troubled past—who finds herself knee-deep in some sort of mystery—maybe involving a murder, maybe involving a kidnapping, and almost certainly involving the aforementioned troubled past. I don’t know why I love to read them in the hazy, languid days of summer, but I do. Perhaps it’s because the long days and fevered air makes it feel as though nothing bad, and everything bad, can happen.

In The Child, Fiona Barton delivers an exquisite version of "murder book." The story once again follows Kate Waters, who you may recognize from Barton’s debut, The Widow. Kate is an intrepid, tenacious journalist who could be described as a British Olivia Benson, if Law & Order ever launched a spinoff in London. Fueled by equal parts ambition, curiosity, and genuine empathy for the victims, Waters digs into the strange case of a dead baby, whose skeleton was recently unearthed by construction workers in a gentrifying neighborhood of London. The baby has been dead for decades, but Kate is determined to discover who she is and how she died. But with no solid leads, Kate is forced to pose the following question to her newspaper’s readers: "Who Is The Building Site Baby?"

As Kate dives further into the case, she unearths some troubling truths—and realizes there’s more at play to this mystery than the bones of a child. What she discovers is a tragedy that could completely upend the lives of three different women: Angela, the mother of a daughter named Alice, who went missing hours after her birth and was never found; Emma, a mysterious, troubled freelance editor who could have information about the identity of the baby; and Jude, Emma’s mother.

Because readers see the mystery through the eyes of Kate, a reporter, it’s easy to feel as though you are a part of the investigation, too. I jotted down clues along the way—as Kate discovered them—and found that, by the end, I had figured it out. That doesn’t lessen the satisfaction of the reading experience, however. The Child proves that a good mystery is as much about the investigation as the resolution.

Read less

Preview

Member thoughts

All (2788)
All (2788)
Love (1347)
Like (1308)
Dislike (133)
2896 ratings
  • 47% Love
  • 45% Like
  • 5% Dislike
  • Union Grove, WI

    Well written page turner. Loved this book. ######################################################÷######################################################################################################

  • Amherst, MA

    Much better than Barton's The Widow, this is an excellently plotted and paced thriller. The Child has human characters and packs an emotional punch. Contains great details of investigative journalism.

  • Antioch, CA

    I loved this book! I couldn't put it down, I just had to know who the Building Site Baby was. The style of writing is imaginative yet easy to follow, especially with so many characters and timelines.

  • Jasper, GA

    Amazing! This book is spine tingling and thought provoking! I loved the different perspectives in the story and the unique traits of each character. This book will keep you on the edge of your seat!!!

  • Charlotte, NC

    From start to finish I could not stop reading. Trying to see how these 3 woman's lives were weaved together. Every time I thought I knew I was surprised again. It was like reading a Law&Order Episode.

  • Dallas, TX

    A slow burn of a thriller but is very well done. It took a couple of turns that I didn't think were going anywhere but it all wraps up nicely with a shocker of an ending was brilliant. Loved this one!

  • HOUSTON, TX

    This book had me from the get-go. I was invested in the emotional journey of the characters. It kept me guessing how they would come together. While I did figure it out half way through, I enjoyed it.

  • Kansas City, MO

    I've read a lot of murder mystery books, especially ones set in England, so I was cautious, but I was hooked pretty quickly. It keeps you guessing until the end! I love how all loose ends were tied up

  • Pendleton, IN

    After a slow start, this book really took off. Lots of characters that made me a bit confused at times. Had to keep guessing who the "building site baby" could be. Story really took off. Great ending!

  • Reno, NV

    This book. It broke my heart, then it repaired it. I was so close to figuring it out, on the edge, she did such a good job writing it, that it left you incapable of guessing until the very last page

  • Rankin, PA

    This book was incredible. Loved the various viewpoints and how they all came together at the end. I found myself saying “no f-ing way” as the story unraveled and I felt a satisfaction at the end.

  • Southfield, MI

    Wow! A great read! A 40 yr old missing child mystery is solved, after many twists and turns, sleazy men, hidden teen pregnancy .... all uncovered by a tenacious female reporter pursuing "a big story".

  • Grandview, OH

    Not quite sure the timeline worked out logically in this, but in the end the twist was good. Not one I saw coming until right before and I liked it. Recommended it to friends for a good mystery book.

  • Las Vegas, NV

    You think you know who the building site baby is...and you dont have any idea the twists and turns this story will take by the end. Amazing character development. And plot twists you wont see coming.

  • Baltimore, MD

    I could NOT put this book down once I started it. The story is fast paced & the mystery will leave you shocked at the end (& I don't usually like mysteries!) Definitely recommend this to any GG fans!

  • Las vegas, NV

    I haven't had a book that brought me to tears in awhile. The ending had me in tears. Just the right amount of twists. Perfect character development. A great read if you love twists and strong leads.

  • Syracuse, NY

    Loved how it gave insights into the other parts of the characters lives. It made them more dimensional and more enjoyable to read. Didn't expect to like this since I'm not a mystery person but I did!

  • Brockton, MA

    This book was amazing! I could not put it down! Every time I thought I had it figured out there were more secrets uncovered. I had no idea the book would end like that! I highly recommend this book!

  • Conhohocken, PA

    I really like the way the narrative is structured, with its many voices--all stakeholders in the outcome--compellingly driving the plot. All of the characters are drawn with compassion and depth.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This book had me at the edge of my seat. Even though it started getting obvious who kidnapped the child towards the end, I still couldn't wrap my brain around it. This was an amazing recommendation!

Thriller
  • The Maidens
  • Not a Happy Family
  • Razorblade Tears
  • The Last Thing He Told Me
  • The Wife Upstairs
  • Too Good to Be True
  • The Push
  • The Last Flight
  • 56 Days
  • The Damage
  • Rock Paper Scissors
  • Survive the Night
  • The Woman in the Window
  • The Hunting Party
  • The Silent Patient
  • Goodnight Beautiful
  • Winter Counts
  • The Hunting Wives
  • Pretty Little Wife
  • The Guest List
  • Invisible Girl
  • Girl A
  • Behind Her Eyes
  • The Girl in the Mirror
  • The Night Swim
  • Before She Knew Him
  • Then She Was Gone
  • You Are Not Alone
  • Sharp Objects
  • The Family Upstairs
  • The Wife Between Us
  • Into the Water
  • Gone Girl
  • Dark Places
  • The Alienist
  • Since We Fell
  • The Blinds
  • Cross Her Heart
  • The Chestnut Man
  • The Winter Sister
  • The Other Woman
  • Necessary People