This is the third of Fiona Barton’s novels featuring a crime reporter named Kate Waters. Once again, she teams up with Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes to solve a case. This time, however, it hits close to home. Waters starts by looking into the disappearance of two British girls on holiday in Thailand. But soon she learns her own missing son may be involved.
“Everyone wants to know the truth. Except those who don’t. Those who stand to lose by it.”
I enjoyed this book, which I listened to on audio (I did the same for the other two in the series). Waters is an interesting character — she’s a little older, a little more weary than your average eager journalist who’s solving a crime that the cops can’t figure out. She has kind of a crappy marriage, her “golden child” son disappeared from college to bar-tend overseas, the business she’s been in for years is slowly dying. But she has a tenacity and a perspective that makes her very effective, and her working relationship with Sparks continues to evolve throughout the series. I’m not sure if Barton will ever introduce romance there, but they definitely have a chemistry that leads to results.
Barton also takes the time to introduce us to the families of the two missing girls, which does an excellent job of showing how awful the media can be — and we see it from the perspective of a member of the media. Waters slips in to these families, getting them to side with her against the other journalists, even though they’re all hungry for the same information. It gives her character a lot of depth, because we can see how she has to do some unpalatable things to get the story, knows that they’re not quite above board, and does them anyway. This extra dimension to a character elevates the story — the actual whodunit aspect of the book isn’t anything amazing but the investigator really is.