The Widow by Fiona Barton
Jean Taylor always felt like an average girl, not one to stand out from a crowd but when Glen chose to marry her above everyone else she felt like a princess. He had his quirks, the conversation always leads back to him and he didn’t like her dressing up and making too much of a show of herself but he was driven to make more of himself and she loved how smart and handsome he was.
When he lost his job at the bank, some sort of mix up he said, she knew not to ask too many questions, he ‘d bounce back and it gave him the chance to start his own business like he always talked about. But when Glen gets work as a driver and they find out he’s unable to have children they start to drift apart. She begins to see the cracks and he spends more time on the computer.
When the police turn up on their doorstep accusing him of kidnapping a little girl, Jean starts to learn more and more about her ‘perfect’ husband. He’s certainly not the man she thought he was but she’d know if she was married to some who would take a child, wouldn’t she?
The Widow is a brilliantly twisty tale of two halves, the uncovering of Glen’s sins and the actions Jean takes as she slowly learns more and more of her husband’s secrets. The straight crime story of the abduction is gripping in itself but it’s the added layers of Jean’s change in character and the main detective on the case that make it unmissable reading. Alternating between The Widow, The Reporter, The Detective, The Mother (of the kidnapped child) and different time frames throughout the novel could feel jumpy in less masterful hands but Fiona Barton builds such clear characters from the start that it works beautifully (it is absolutely no surprise to see that it has already been optioned for TV). She feeds you the perfect sized nuggets of information from different viewpoints to leave you dying to read the next chapter.
If you’re looking for 2016’s breakthrough crime novel, The Widow is it! Fast, gripping and ultimately devastating this is one not to miss.
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