Review – The Source by Sarah Sutton

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.


The Source by Sarah Sultoon is a taunt, emotional and insightful story about the darker underbelly of society!

Within her narrative she tells a tale about sexual abuse on an army base, delivering a dark thriller that left me reeling, with the heart wrenching themes she wove with such skill and sensitivity.

It is always a risk I feel writing a story about such an emotive and troubling subject. It requires sensitivity and also importantly bravery, to lay in front of the reader the disturbing behaviour of the abusers, while giving a voice to the psychological damage done to the victims without sensualizing the story for cheap dramatic thrills.   Sarah Sutoon within The Source has delivered a novel that exposes the controlling nature and depravity of the abusers, yet her compassion for the victims and understanding of their circumstances, is sensitively done, with no attempt to marginalise the horror of their experiences.  It is to say the least a stunning debut from an author, who brings her experience as a journalist to bear to write a complex, clever tale, that will thrill and haunt the reader.

She handles the dual time narrative with skill, allowing the voice of thirteen year old Carly to escape the horror of events in 1996 Essex and feed into Marie’s life and current investigations.  We get to read on as she cleverly merges both periods like a call to us all to listen, the abuse of women and young girls is not relegated to the past, it is still an ever present danger. Powerful writing combines with a story that envelopes the reader, leaving them emotionally spent, yet also knowing that they have read a story that they are unlikely to forget and one that should remind them of how far we have yet to travel towards our children being free from exploitation and harm.

Character wise the writer draws on her understanding of human nature, both good and at its most disturbing.  Besides Carly who you can’t help but want to rescue, or Marie who you know is brave enough to challenge those that try to silence the victims, there is a host of characters that give this novel its sense of danger, its thrills and also that sense of revulsion.  The hum of the news room has reporters who seem cynical and yet they turn out to be true crusaders for justice.  Then there are the men who want to prevent Marie uncovering the truth, they made my skin crawl and my anger rise to the surface in waves of anguish. It is a cast of characters that gives this story it’s dual narrative of cruelty and the battle for justice.

This book is both incredible and thrilling. It is also deeply moving. I recommend without hesitation.

You can purchase this novel directly from the publisher on their fabulous website!

You can also buy it from Amazon, Waterstones and from your local independent bookshop.

About the author

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…..

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