Summer Reads – Reading in the Sun
Still writing a first draft, but made time out from scribbling for Summer Reads. Here is what I said on Good Reads about some of the books I read and enjoyed in the sun.
|The Child by Fiona Barton
I raved about Fiona Barton’s first novel The Widow, and this one is even better. We meet again London-based journalist Kate, this time on the trail of a human interest story, when the skeleton of a new-born baby is unearthed on a building site. She’s joined in the office by wet-behind-the-keypad trainee journalist Joe, who turns out to be an endearing character. I hope we meet him again in book three. Also making a reappearance is police detective Bob who was in charge of the case that Kate investigated in The Widow. He has a small part in The Child but is perhaps waiting in the wings for a leading role next time. Joining Kate as the other narrators are Angela, Emma and Jude, well-drawn characters with various sorrows, longings and secrets. There’s also an unnecessary chapter from the viewpoint of another character about three quarters of the way through.
Barton’s style is the straightforward, no-nonsense prose that one might expect from an experienced journalist. No overwriting in sight. And no car chases or damsels in distress. There’s more intrigue and suspense than in The Widow although Barton still signposts the likely twist at the half-way mark. Bravo for having a fifty-year old married mum Kate as the main protagonist. This was one of my favourite Summer Reads this year.
Two narrators: former best friends Edie and Heather. Two alternating timelines: Heather tells us what happened when they were 16/17 years old; Edie’s narrative is present day, fifteen years later. I had an inkling of how the two timelines might meet and I enjoyed the twisty journey. Vile though he was, I would have liked to see a more active role for Connor in the narratives. However, this toxic friendship theme made a refreshing change from the usual domestic noir of many psychological thrillers. I’ll definitely read another novel by Camilla Way.
Two solid lead characters and an intriguing plot. We see Lochlan come to terms with coping with two tiny children while fighting off interference from his wife’s meddling grandparents after she goes missing. Meanwhile, his narrative is interspersed with that of an unknown woman washed up on a Greek island.
At first I thought the writing on the Greek island was off key but once I twigged what might be happening, I realised the writing was in fact excellent.
The last chapter is unnecessary although I can see why the author included it.
This was a thoroughly decent first outing for private detective Roxane Weary who must surely become a series character. Coming to terms with the death of her police officer father, Roxane seeks solace in men, women and whisky while trying to track down a missing woman and get the man convicted of her murder off death row. Both Roxane and the case spiral out of control as her investigations take an unexpected turn. Author Kristen Lepionka gives us a clear plot, a well-defined lead character, fast pace and cracking dialogue (especially when Roxane is with her mother and brothers – some moments of humour here.)
I would give it three and a half stars. It would have been four but for a couple of clanking co-incidences and the fact that the key witness at the start of the novel fails to notice something which Roxane spots straightaway at the end. All in all, a good, quick, worthwhile book for Summer Reads. I’ll be looking out for the next one.