The Source by Sarah Sultoon

I’m always so impressed by the quality of books published by Orenda and it’s far too long since I have featured one here on Linda’s Book Bag. Consequently, I am delighted to share my review of the thriller The Source by Sarah Sultoon today to help close the Random Things Tours blog tour. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to participate.

Released by Orenda Books on 15th April 2021, The Source is available in all the usual places including directly from the publisher.

The Source

One last chance to reveal the truth…

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

A riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, The Source is also a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.

My Review of The Source

Marie is chasing a newsworthy story.

My word I enjoyed The Source. It’s cleverly crafted and plotted so that the reader is ensnared from the very beginning. The different timelines and the characters of Carly and Marie are brought together in a manner that urges the reader on, so that it is impossible not to devour this narrative as quickly as possible. Sarah Sultoon has a deft ability to give just enough detail in her descriptions to make her story vivid without slowing the pace for a second. I thought her writing style was excellent.

The Source deals with unpalatable themes of abuse and sex trafficking, but the quality of Sarah Sultoon’s writing means that readers are not repulsed, but rather feel compelled to know more, making them fascinated by how the narrative unfolds and, even more importantly, giving them an understanding of institutionalised corruption and crime they may not otherwise have considered. Not only is The Source a powerful read, it’s an important one too, giving food for thought long after the story is over. Add in other concepts such as identity, family, responsibility and trust, and Sarah Sultoon’s debut is a multi-layered, engaging and educative read.

There’s a gritty realism underpinning the narrative that is so authentic that I found myself Googling details to see if indeed they were factual. I found The Source scarily believable, frequently uncomfortable and always compelling. The perspective of a news corporation with investigative journalism, rather than a police procedural narrative, felt fresh and realistic.

I loved the title. Not only does it refer to insider information and reporting, about which I can’t say too much without spoiling the plot, but it has resonance with why characters behave as they do. Underpinning an exciting thriller here is an exploration of human behaviour that I found intelligently insightful. Marie in particular gained my empathy and understanding and as the novel reached its denouement I found my pulse racing with Marie’s actions.

In The Source, Sarah Sultoon writes with such power and authority that I found the themes only too vivid and it is a shocking and uncomfortable read at times. However, I am so glad I read this book. It’s well written, utterly compelling and a fabulous insight into the possibilities and realities that may be just under our noses if only we knew where to look. I thought The Source was a crackingly good read and I really recommend it.

About Sarah Sultoon

Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if…..

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @SultoonSarah.

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