Book Buzz: The Child

Imagine this scene in modern-day working-class London. An old apartment building is being dismantled to make way for new construction in a gentrified area. The demolition crew is hacking away at the debris, when suddenly, amidst the dust and rubble, a shocking discovery is made: the skeletal remains of a newborn baby, apparently buried years ago.

Thus begins The Child, Fiona Barton’s suspenseful psychodrama, whose protagonist is a woman in mid-life, a dogged investigative journalist who frets that her traditional reporting skills are becoming passé in the sensationalist world of new media.

The Child

The community is stunned and the case quickly becomes front page news. Dubbed the “Building Site Baby,” the infant’s identity becomes an obsession. What lead to the child’s demise? Why would an infant be buried underneath all the rubble, and whose child was it?

Whodunit, and whydunit?

Four women’s differing perspectives tell the story of The Child. At first we don’t see the connection, but as the plot unfolds,  we learn that each one holds a key to solving the mystery.

Book Buzz: The Child

Kate is the persistent but empathetic newspaper reporter used to getting her hands dirty in pursuit of the truth. She comes from the old school of journalism, and is dismayed to see layoffs of the old guard at her newspaper in favor of inexperienced young writers whose specialty is click bait-y headlines. The pressure of 24/7 online news goes against her grain and she stubbornly resists. At the same time, she worries that journalists of her ilk are disappearing like dinosaurs and she may be the next one to be let go.

Intrigued by the mystery of the Building Site Baby and begs her editor for the plum assignment. With support of the police detectives, she pursues the identity of residents of the building from years ago who might be able to help.

Then, there is Emma, a young married woman who works from home as an editor. She suffers from depression and anxiety, haunted by secrets of her childhood under the care of her single mom, Jude.

Narcissistic Jude raised Emma in an environment of instability and fear. When Emma turned 16, Jude abruptly threw her out of the house. Now that Emma is an adult, Jude would like to have a better relationship with her, but there is little trust, and their periodic interactions never go very well.

Finally, Angela, the wife and mother of two grown children whose infant daughter Alice was abducted decades ago from the hospital the day she was born. Her child was never found. Could this dead infant be her daughter? She prays that this is the case and she will finally have closure.

The short chapters keep the action going at a rapid pace, and gradually we come to see exactly how these women are connected and find out the identity of the Building Site Baby.

A lively, page-turning whodunit, The Child satisfied me as a good beach book and I particularly related to the personage of Kate, whose angst about competing with the younger generation in the workplace rang very true.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of The Child. Please leave a comment and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.


I received a copy of The Child from Berkley for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

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39 Thoughts on “Book Buzz: The Child

  1. It sounds thrilling and I love the way the author weaves in differing points of view to create the plot. Sounds like a wonderful summer page turner, Helene! Thanks for yet another wonderful book review. You’re a master!

  2. This looks like a great beach read — and I would love to win! Thanks for the review. 🙂

  3. Sounds like a good mystery. And I like to read things with multiple women protagonists as that is the type of novel (novels) I’m plotting.

  4. Sounds like a fascinating read.

  5. This sounds like a great book! I’m currently looking for a new mystery that’s a quick-ish read. I’ll give this a try.

  6. Lisa on June 27, 2017 at 3:05 pm said:

    Wow looks like a good mystery! Wish I had more time to read!

  7. Sounds very interesting!! I shall read it.

  8. Oohhhh. This looks like a great summer read! I could stand to lose myself in a book for a few days and this sounds like just the ticket!

  9. This sounds like a great read if not a little harrowing. I love to be kept guessing all the way through, one for me!

  10. YAY!! I am traveling in two days and NEED a book to fill the time. this sounds perfect…I am excited to see how each woman plays a role.

  11. That sounds like a good book! I love intriguing books like this! I am going to have to get this on my next airplane trip.

  12. Wow i love mystery stories. Oh my i would love to read this. So exciting!

  13. Sounds like a great read! I haven’t heard of it before but will definitely get myself a copy now

  14. Claudia Krusch on June 28, 2017 at 9:57 pm said:

    I have been hearing great reviews for this book. I will have to pick up a copy for this summer.

  15. I am not sure if I could read this book. I totally cannot deal with stories in which bad things happen to young children. You provide a great overview of the book.

  16. I am a fan of mystery and this does seem to have all the spices I like to read. Your review is lovely though. Quite detailed and would give anyone clear idea whether this book is for them or not.

  17. That definitely sounds like a page turner. I can relate to the 16 year old being thrown out and trying to make a happy life for her own kids while not repeating the mistakes her mother did. I think I’d read this book.

  18. Blair villanueva on June 29, 2017 at 12:01 pm said:

    This is an intetesting read! Amazon let’s do it, hope its available.

  19. This sounds like an intriguing mystery! Mysteries and thrillers are some of my favorites and the plot sounds unique – if not heartbreaking. Seems like it would hit you in the feels.

  20. This sounds like a good book to read in the summer. I’m going to check this one out. Thanks for sharing the review!

  21. While not my kind of book it sounds like you enjoyed it.

  22. That sounds like a really interesting read! I am a big fan of mysteries and always looking for new summer books to read, thank you 🙂

  23. I think this is the book one of my friends was telling me about the other day! Sounds like a great one!

  24. Awww, a new read is so nice. I love this recommendation. I’ll use it for my trip to Scotland in August.

  25. That sounds like a really great holiday read! I do love a good who dunnit!

  26. Oh i am not a fan of mysteries. I am fast in getting afraid in ghost or something sorry like this. lol! But i will recommend this to my niece she loves mystery.

  27. I am traveling next month and in need of something to read on the plane, so I think I’ll have to pick this up! Thanks for the info and recommendation!

  28. I’ve been looking for a new book. I might just have to check this one out!

  29. Ali Rost on July 1, 2017 at 8:15 pm said:

    You really got my attention with this review. Any story that presents the “truth” as an interpretation by individuals has such great insight, in my experience. Very Rashamon leaning.

    I’ll look into it!

  30. This sounds like an exciting thriller! I love a great thriller!

  31. What an interesting plot, it’s really exciting to find out who the child is and what happens in the end. I won’t be able to put this book down until I finish it!

  32. I’d like to find out more? I’d want to find out some additional information.

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