Published by Riverhead Books on January 13th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Mystery-Crime, Suspense, Thriller
A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
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?
Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.
I loved that every single character in this book had something broken about them. To me it makes them easier to relate to, as well as making the characters feel more “real”. As we learn more about them, and see their lives unfolding before us, we can feel for them and with them. It might not always feel pleasant, but that’s just how life is. This novel was raw, and it did not sugar coat the characters in any way. The use of the train, the train tracks and the ongoing train tips was really a fantastic way of pointing out that everyone is on different trips, to different places, or different paths, also everyone in this novel is a bit of a “train wreck” with their various issues and problems.
The story is told in the perspective of Rachel our unreliable main character, Anna ( mistress/now wife of Rachel’s ex-husband Tom) and Megan who ends up murdered. After being divorced, forced out of her home, and replaced with Anna (the mistress) Rachel has been pretty down on her luck. She’s a heavy drinker, and I can’t say I blame her (especially after all she has been through). Rachel takes the train into work every day and often fantasizes about a specific happy couple she dubs “Jess and Jason” and their perfect life. It so happens to be that this couple live in the same neighborhood that Rachel once shared a house with her husband Tom. Now Tom lives there with his new wife and former mistress Anna and their baby, the one thing Rachel always wanted. Rachel is depressed, and unwilling to let go. Her drinking leads to her losing her job, and her having memory loss/black outs. Megan seems to have the perfect life from where Rachel sees her from the train cart, but Megan really isn’t happy at all. She’s bored with her life, and her surroundings. She can’t figure out what she wants and ultimately ends up murdered. The author does a wonderful job weaving together all the dates and perspective timelines as they merge and connect with one another.
There were parts that lagged a bit, but mainly because I was starting to get sick of Rachel’s drinking, but mainly I was hooked from the start. I love that the author kept me guessing in regards to what really happened to Megan and who actually murdered her. I did figure it out before the reveal, but it was right at the end. An thrilling read, fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout, I definitely recommend giving this debut novel a try. I know I am looking forward to the next book by Paula Hawkins. 🙂
**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**