Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Writing
If you haven't heard about this one, I feel like you must be living under a rock.  Or at least avoiding the "books like Gone Girl" craze.  I feel like you can't review this book without saying the words "Gone Girl", although the books are honestly quite different.  They're similar only in that both are psychological thrillers with a slow building tension followed by a surprise ending with plenty of red herrings thrown in to keep you guessing.  I should probably just C&P this paragraph and add it to every single psychological thriller I read because I do tend to gravitate towards them and you absolutely cannot avoid a comparison if you publish in the genre.

That said, the writing here stands on its own without needing to be compared to anything else.  It's full of characters who are so difficult to like, but who you just can't stop reading about.  They're all perfectly loathsome, and still perfectly believable, because they're horrible in very normal ways.  The plotting moves quickly, but the tension builds slowly in a very smart way.  Having an unreliable narrator totally works in this case.  And the ending is terrifying in a very Hitchcockian sense.

Entertainment Value
I was totally caught up in the story and in learning what was Rachel really saw and what she only imagined.  It kept me up late, which is the mark of a good thriller, and I was guessing until the last few chapters.  Completely enthralling and something that I think most people will find themselves happily caught up in.

Overall
If you're a fan of unreliable narrators, psychological suspense, slow building dread and tension, or, yes, if you're looking for something similar to Gone Girl in its domestic setting and love to hate characters, this is the book for you.  Nothing stuck out to me as particularly graphic, but there is some violence and language, if I recall correctly.  Obviously, it wasn't anything I found over the top or offensive or even memorable.

Thanks to my local library for providing me with a copy!


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