The Source

by Sarah Sultoon

Crime and Mystery Debut Books of the Month Debuts Star Books Thriller and Suspense

LoveReading Expert Review of The Source

A pacy, provocative and utterly compelling debut about a journalist as she investigates allegations of sex abuse at an army base.

A powerful, intense whammy of a debut that is both uncomfortable and exhilarating to read. Set in two time frames, we see 13 year old schoolgirl Carly as she tries to look after her mother and baby sister, and ten years later, journalist Marie as she investigates sex traffickers and allegations of sex abuse at an army base years before. Author Sarah Sultoon is an award-winning former CNN international news executive, and it shows. Chapter one throws you in the deep end, and I re-read it to fully comprehend what was happening. The subject matter is devastating yet thoughtfully handled even as it makes you flinch. Pacy and provocative I felt as though I was racing to keep up in both timelines. The words were sharp edged little missiles that fired into my thoughts and made them scatter. As information began to piece together, as 1996 hurtled towards 2006, I felt the hope that slipped almost silently through the years. Thought-provoking, tense, and expressive The Source is an utterly compelling debut that I can highly recommend. 


Liz Robinson

The Source Synopsis

A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she's thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown. A startling, searing debut thriller by award-winning CNN journalist Sarah Sultoon.

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.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781913193591
Publication date: 15th April 2021
Author: Sarah Sultoon
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 320 pages
Collections: 2021 Preview - Exciting New Books on the Horizon, 100+ Female Led Crime Fiction,
Primary Genre Crime and Mystery
Other Genres:
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The Source Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Realistic, raw and utterly absorbing. You’ll find yourself suddenly hurtling towards the climax with such speed and intensity that you’ll find it hard to tear your eyes away. You’ll miss your stop on the bus with this one, that’s for sure!

The Source tells the story of disadvantaged teenager Carly and, ten years later, that of investigative journalist Marie. Neither woman has an easy life but they are survivors, clawing their way from one day to the next. They face trauma, betrayal and abuse of the most insidious kind but there comes a point where you need to stop running from your demons and start hunting them down yourself instead.

I’m not a huge fan of dual narrative books to be honest. I often find myself trudging through one of the threads just to get to the more engaging storyline and quite often the reconciliation of the two can be clunky at best. The Source shares none of these faults. Both Carly and Marie’s stories are equally compelling. They are realistic, raw and utterly absorbing. The author’s journalistic experience shines through which makes Marie’s viewpoint especially authentic. The narratives of the two characters are drawn together, gradually at first, until all of a sudden you are hurtling towards the climax with such speed and intensity that you would find it hard to tear your eyes away. You’ll miss your stop on the bus with this one, that’s for sure!

S Harper

A difficult subject written about with sympathy and bravery.

The subject of this book is harrowing to say the least, as it deals with the subject of grooming children for sex with army officers. It begins in 1996 when Carly, a 13 year old girl, is encouraged by her older brother and a friend to attend parties at the army base in the town where they all live. It then jumps to 2006, when Marie, a young news reporter, becomes involved in an investigation to expose a sex trafficking ring. The story moves back and forth between the two time scales as we learn about the operation which goes to the highest levels.

I found the sections about the young girl Carly and her horrendous home life very shocking and she is portrayed very sympathetically, and her bravery in coming forward to report what was happening is very moving. I didn’t feel quite so involved in the sections about Marie as I found it stretched credibility. However, it’s a brave attempt to draw attention to a topic which is sadly all too common in the present day.

Evelyn Love-Gajardo

A hard-hitting, well written novel that deals with a difficult subject.

The Source is a hard-hitting novel that deals with sex-trafficking and the sexual abuse of children. Although a bleak read, it is also a story of resilience, hope and a desire to reveal the truth whatever the cost.

The chapters of the novel are divided between Marie and Carly. Marie is a junior TV newsroom journalist. It is 2006 and Marie is working on a story to reveal the extent of the trafficking of young girls for sexual purposes. This is dangerous, undercover work, but a story which Marie and the producers hope will bring about the arrest of some wicked people.

Carly is thirteen when her story begins in 1996. She lives in the “army town” of Warchester, Essex, where her brother is stationed. Carly has a hard time. Her mother is a drunk, who is rarely able to look after herself, let alone Carly and her baby sister, Kayleigh. The only brightness on the horizon is the occasional visits of Carly’s brother, Jason. He brings food and treats for his sisters. However, this precious food comes at a cost, as Carly is persuaded to join in with private parties held at the army barracks.

The two strands of the story begin to intertwine when, in 2006, Scotland Yard decide to re-open Operation Andromeda, which was an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at an army base in the 1990s.

Although the subject matter is horrific, no sexual acts are described. Sarah Sultoon has handled her material with sensitivity and produced a very good novel.

Angela Elizabeth Thomas

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781913193591
Publication date: 15/04/2021
Format: Paperback

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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 ...

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