ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR: The Widow by Fiona Barton

Article published on October 27, 2015.

There is something irresistible about a buzz surrounding a new title and when I started seeing excitement building for #TheWidow from publisher Transworld on Twitter I knew I’d have to beg a copy.

After the phenomenal success of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins at the start of this year I couldn’t help but suspect they might have another hit on their hands…

Jean Taylor is the widow of the title – married to a monster, or so they said, but he’d always protested his innocence. Jean stood by her man as the public vitriol spilled forth and resisted all attempts by the press to betray him. But then Glen died and a little girl is still missing and suddenly Jean is alone and vulnerable. Journalist Kate Waters is convinced Jean knows more than she’s letting on and she is also convinced that she’s the one who can get her to talk. Determined to succeed where the police have failed, it starts to get personal. Where do you draw the line and how far is too far? DI Bob Sparkes tries to warn her but he is in too deep himself. Meanwhile, Jean is still trying to coming to terms with a relationship that wasn’t quite what she had hoped for.

This is a good all-round thriller and a confident debut novel, written by an experienced journalist in a straightforward way…which lends it an unnerving air of authenticity. If you’ve ever wondered about the emotional impact of criminal investigations into the most horrible of crimes on all the people involved, not just the accused, this is the book for you.

You will undoubtedly start to question the assumptions you make when you read that day’s lurid headlines. You may well start wondering whether the nice young couple down the road are as uncensurable as they seem.  It also throws up some interesting questions around instinct and procedure and the grey area between right and wrong – would be great for book clubs.

Uncomfortable at times but never graphic The Widow by Fiona Barton is a quick, compelling and deeply unsettling read. Watch out for it on 14th January – I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this goes straight to the top of the bestsellers charts.

Mel Mitchell


The Widow by Fiona Barton, published by Bantam Press on 14 January, 2016




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