The Widow by Fiona Barton
Mystery > Crime
I read Barton’s second novel, The Child, first, (I received an advance copy—it’ll be out June of this year) and I liked that one a little more—I think in part because we got a closer perspective of reporter Kate’s point of view, and in both novels, she was the character I identified with the most. She has two kids, but she didn’t define herself by her children like the other characters did.
In this book, we start from the widow’s perspective. Jean Taylor’s husband has just been killed after being hit by a bus. He’s notorious because he was the main suspect in the child abduction of a two-and-a-half-year old girl. He was let go because the judge threw out some evidence.
Detective Inspector Sparkes became extremely close to this case, and it gnaws at him even after he’s told to drop it, although other “coppers” can still work on it—evidently Glen Taylor can be retried if the cops come up with new evidence—if I understand correctly, the laws are different in England.
The narratives are told from multiple perspectives. Jean “the widow” of the title is told in first person, and Kate, DI Sparkes, and the mother of the missing girl in third person. The story also bounces back and forth in time, from the present day of 2010 back to when the girl first went missing three years earlier. I read this on my Kindle, so if I ever put the book down in the middle of a chapter, it could get confusing for a moment where I was (and I read the book over the course of 24 hours). I could look at the Table of Contents, but it only said “Chapter One” Not “Chapter One – The Widow – Wednesday, June 9, 2010.”
The story is fast-paced (obviously, if I read it so quickly!) I enjoyed it.