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The Widow by Fiona Barton

A loving husband or a heartless killer...she'd know, wouldn't she? 

The first book I reviewed in 2015 was The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. With sparkling symmetry 2016 is starting off in an electrifying way, with an exciting debut thriller. The Widow by Fiona Barton has also been compared to Gone Girl. 

Jean Taylor has just lost her husband Glen, who had hints of a dark past, suspected of committing a horrendous crime that has yet to be proven. The media has been all over this case for years, trying to get to the bottom of things, and constantly pestering the couple for an interview. Jean and Glen have been forced to rely on each other and keep to themselves, desperately trying to shake off the harassing reporters and accusing glares of neighbours and the public. 

But Jean has stayed mum all these years. The good wife standing by her husband, keeping his secrets. It's us against them, Glen would tell her. The media are like children, easily distracted. But, will the papers leave them alone and move on to the next thing? 

Now the "grieving" widow has an opportunity to tell the truth. The truth is what everyone wants. But what is the truth? And, how much is Jean willing to disclose. Will a confession in under the spotlight of public opinion liberate her from the shadows? 

Reporter Kate Waters is great at what she does. Slowing earning the confidence of the victims and getting them to talk. But is she playing Jean Taylor, or is Jean playing her. For a moment Jean is happy to have Kate Waters take charge of things. Jean hasn't had to "take charge" for years; Glen always told her what to do. Now Kate's saying that she'll sort it all out for her, and all Jean has to do is tell Kate about her life. Jean knows though that she doesn't really want to know about her. She really wants to know the truth about Glen. 

Told from alternating perspectives, and alternating timelines, The Widow holds the story together with the precision of a pencil. Fiona Barton is no doubt a new talent who will be watched for in the upcoming years despite a sense that the tone and tenor of plot lines appear eerily familiar. 

The Widow is a spellbinding thriller that keeps you on your toes from start to finish. It's dark and you're constantly kept guessing. The verdict? Fiona Barton is one of 2016's finest debut authors to watch out for. 


Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle)