The 3rd Woman by Jonathan Freedland


Title: The 3rd Woman

Author: Jonathan Freedland (@freedland)

Publication date: 2nd July 2015

Paperback: 544 pages



Journalist Madison Webb is obsessed with exposing lies and corruption. But she never thought she would be investigating her own sister’s murder. SHE CAN’T TRUST THE POLICE – Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. She uncovers evidence that suggests that Abi was the third victim in a series of killings that’s been hushed up as part of a major conspiracy. SHE CAN EXPOSE THE TRUTH – In a United States that has yielded to the People’s Republic of China, corruption is rife – the government dictates what the ‘truth’ is. With her life on the line, Madison must give up the story, or face the consequences…

Strangely I was really craving a crime thriller and then this advanced copy dropped on my door mat with the added kudos of being written by an award-winning investigative journalist.

Strong, intelligent and determined Madison Webb is the embodiment of an investigative reporter – not scared of danger or getting her hands dirty. She also battles demons and insomnia that she represses and tries to keep hidden from the outside world and from those closet to her – including family and any potential love interest. As the central character, and the driving force behind solving the crime, you have to believe in and likes this woman and I am pleased to say that I did. Freedland has clearly brought his experience and insight from working as a correspondent in the US adding quality and depth to both Madison’s thought processes and strategy. Often women can become cliche and fall into a stereotype of either ballsy bitch or femme fatale and she is neither. I felt that the way she reacted to the sudden and horrendous death of her sister was natural and well presented and her grief drives her to do what she does best – follow the story. As she dictates, she can mourn when she has discovered and revealed those culpable.

Behind the investigation is the continuous theme of conspiracy set against a backdrop of an ongoing political election for the governor of LA. This adds a really pertinent and dynamic edge to the plot forcing you to think about the parallels in everyday society. Equally the focus on China and it’s growing influence over the US in terms of economic clout serves as a dangerous prediction for the future. Freedland skilfully draws on these current debates and fears and weaves them seamlessly together with a focusses on the pervasive and uncontrollable medium of social media and online news.

A good crime and conspiracy thriller leaves you guessing until the last page and this one certainly achieved just that – sure Maddison discovered things perhaps a little too easy at times and had the ‘right friends’ to call on in an emergency, but over all this was a compelling and addictive read with a brilliant female protagonist.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10


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