Book Review: The Widow, by Fiona Barton

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_widowFiona Barton brings her skills as a journalist into her storytelling, gripping the reader with every turn of the page.

After over 2 years in the limelight of a police investigation, her husband Glen Taylor is dead. He has been knocked over by a bus. On the surface, Jean Taylor appears to be the perfect grieving widow; turning on tears at the appropriate moment and answering questions from the police in way that almost seems rehearsed.

Glen Taylor had been accused of being involved in the disappearance of Bella Elliot, a little girl. Her mother Dawn had been inside doing household chores when Bella ran outside, following her cat into the small front garden. When Dawn went to call her a few minutes later, there was no trace. How could she just disappear into thin air?

A distressed Dawn rang 999 to report her daughter missing. Detective Inspector Bob Sparkes headed up the investigation into her disappearance. The Police rapidly came to the conclusion that this is no simple abduction. Glen Taylor’s name entered the investigation when a neighbour of Dawn’s noted down a blue van similar to Taylor’s van in the area at about the time of Bella’s disappearance.

As the investigation continues into Glen and Jean Taylor’s background, discrepancies appear. Their computer is seized by the Police so that forensics can do a search of the hard drive.

I found this a hard book to put down and as I read each chapter I was spurred on to find out the who and why regarding Bella Elliot’s disappearance and possible death. The ending was a bit of a surprise, but a welcome one, as it wrapped the story up quite neatly.

Reviewed by Christine Frayling

The Widow
by Fiona Barton
Published by Bantam Press
ISBN 9780593076224

Book Review: The Method, by Shannon Kirk

Available in bookshops nationwide.

cv_the_methodShannon Kirk’s novel won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for best suspense, and the novel is now under option for a major motion film. Previously released in the US under the title Method 15/33, this is one heck of a good read.

FBI Special Agent Roger Liu is allocated the case (# 332578) of a missing pregnant teen, Dorothy Salucci. His partner and he follow leads and interview the parents and the young father. Liu has a personal need to focus on child abduction cases, his unusual partner understands, and as their sometimes unorthodox methods get results they’re left to get on with it.

But for most of the thriller, we are in the head of Dorothy, the victim. Far from hapless, with her habits, abilities, and how she processes her situation, she is a fascinating character. She has a method and uses it to cope, to learn, to devise her own getaway plans and plot her later revenge.

Does she get away? That would be telling, but certainly not before Liu uncovers a surprise or two. Not before our victim discovers there is more than one perpetrator involved. And not before being forced to face a gruesome foresight of her future. Through all this, we don’t see the real picture, which is a tragic reveal.

This is a thriller that is chilling right to the end.

Reviewed by Lynne McAnulty-Street

The Method
by Shannon Kirk
Published by Sphere
ISBN: 9780751564310

Published in the US as Method 15/33 by Oceanview Publishing, Florida.