Friday, 27 February 2015

The Girl on the Train

Author: Paula Hawkins
Genre: Suspense
Type: Trade Paperback
Source: Local Public Library
Pages: 316
Publisher:  Doubleday Canada
First Published: January 2015
First Line: "Rachel - Friday, 5 July 2013 Morning -- There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks."

Book Description from GoodReads:  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?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone GirlThe Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.

My Review:  Normally I'm a little hesitant to jump wholeheartedly into a book that has so much acclaim so quickly.  I'm always afraid that the book won't live up to my heightened expectations - which sadly is often the case.  

As an avid reader I've read a lot of suspense and I can't help that my mind is constantly trying to find little clues throughout the text so I can solve the crime sooner than the author wants it revealed.  I'm a Sherlock Holmes wannabe.  I had a hard time being the amateur sleuth this time because the author has written such complex characters, each with their own baggage and plausible motives that I kept changing my mind as to who was the culprit.

Hawkins also kept my interest throughout (no small feat) with all of the red herrings that she threw at me.  I admit that I guessed 'who dunnit' about three quarters of the way through but, that said, I also guessed a handful of people before that so I suppose my 'guess' wasn't 'right' per se as it was eventual.

This book has been compared to Gone Girl and Before I Go To Sleep but I think that The Girl on the Train was a much better read than both of those books and that has a lot to do with the characters.  The story is told from three points of view - Rachel, Megan and Anna.  Each of these women have certain likable traits and many traits that were quite repellent and offensive.  Normally if the main characters are totally unlikable (ie Gone Girl) I have a hard time getting behind them.  I don't want to read about someone who has no redeeming qualities.  That wasn't the case with this book.  Hawkin's characters were very layered and defined even if some of their choices (namely Rachel's decision to keep her nose in things) were a little questionable/naive.  But as you see what these women have lived through the reason for their choices becomes clearer.

This book is a very impressive debut thriller with complex characters all with their own secrets to hide.  It goes to show that you should never assume you know a person and also gives you the eerie feeling that you can't trust anyone.  This was quite an addicting read.  Hats off to Ms Hawkins for keeping my wandering mind solidly on her plot and interesting character choices. 

My Rating: 4/5 stars


meeniereads said...

Best review I have read on this book! It is on top of my list of
I figured out the plot on Gone Girl
way ahead thanks to years of watching Lifetime movies while I iron
or fold laundry. Tons of outrageous
plots and bad people doing awful things with impunity!
I am finding Before I Go To Sleep very slooooow moving. I have picked up and read or started lots of books since starting this one. Right now I am a crack addict on my daughter's Netflix watching House of Cards and The Fall staring X-Files gal!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Thanks so much, Meeniereads! It sounds like you and I have very similar tastes in suspenseful reads (and our love of binge watching Netflix). Sorry it took so long to reply. I was on vacation and it took a few days to get everyone back on track.

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