"The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins
Who Should Read It: Mystery fans and anyone who wants to read the books everyone is talking about in 2015.
Each day, Rachel Watson takes the same train to work in London and back. Sitting in the same seat each day, she watches as lovely suburban homes flash past, thinking about the people who live inside them. As the train stops at the same signal each day, she watches a couple in their home, living what she imagines is the perfect life. Rachel gives them a story, even gives them names - Jason and Jess - and these little moments take her mind off the fact that she used to be just like them.
One morning, the train stops at the signal and Rachel sees something that shocks her. The next day, she learns on the news that Jess, real name Megan, is missing. Convinced she may know what happened to Megan, Rachel goes to the police, but she isn’t what would be considered a reliable witness. Convinced she can find Megan, she becomes a part of the lives of everyone involved, including Jess’ husband Scott.
But it quickly becomes evident that she may be not be helping the way she thinks she is. And with Rachel’s ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna living down the road from the missing woman, everything becomes way too complicated. Before she knows it, Rachel is in over her head and it may end up costing her everything.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a debut novel that may just become the psychological thriller of 2015. I don’t read many thriller or mystery novels but I was hooked on this one from the start. It was my first book of 2015 and I devoured it all in one day.
The story is told by three women: Rachel, Megan, and Anna. Rachel and Anna’s stories are told in the present time, while Megan’s starts a year earlier. I really enjoyed this device. Just as I was hooked on the mystery in real time, I was swept back to a year earlier and it was interesting to watch two stories play out side by side, knowing they will soon converge but not fully knowing how.
This book is already being compared to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, and Before I Go To Sleep, and even though I have only read one of those (The Silent Wife), I can see why. This is going to be a talked-about book, in fact it already is.
Rachel turned out to be a totally different character than I was expecting. Her story is difficult, she is lonely and troubled, hurting from infidelity in her marriage. It is understandable why she allowed herself to become wrapped up in the lives of “Jess and Jason.” The cast of supporting characters all have their own troubles, their own secrets, showing us that we can’t really know what is happening on the other side of the window.
I don’t generally gravitate toward thrillers, I never felt the pull to read Gone Girl even when everyone was talking about it. But something about this book grabbed me when I read the blurb and it held on to me tightly from the very first page. The movie rights to the book were acquired by DreamWorks back in March, so you know that this is going to be one of the big books of 2015.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are my own.