Genre: fiction, thriller, mystery
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses. The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan’s body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.
A sinister and twisting story that will keep you guessing at every turn, The Girl on the Train is a high-speed chase for the truth.
Many sing praises to this book which is why I picked it almost immediately as the hype began. I found it an ok read mainly because of the characters – they annoyed me. It was truly frustrating that our protagonist is so lost in her alcoholic haze that it doesn’t take all that much for everyone to disbelieve her or her good intentions. Maybe I don’t have much patience for amnesia plots when the agent causing it is alcohol. It’s a trigger certainly, and nobody warned me about it.
As befits a good thriller, you suspect everyone and I mean everyone in this book. At one point you’ll even have doubts about our heroine because she certainly doesn’t trust herself most of the time. I get that she got divorced and that her life is in complete shambles, but she does so much damage by not getting help for her excessive drinking. The subterfuge, the lies, and the clear addiction make her one hell of an unreliable narrator. You also have some doubts regarding her intelligence and age – she behaves so irrationally but then has a smart plan how to get her information. This yo-yo effect drives you nuts and you wish her to stay sober.
“I am not the girl I used to be. I am no longer desirable, I’m off-putting in some way. It’s not just that I’ve put on weight, or that my face is puffy from the drinking and the lack of sleep; it’s as if people can see the damage written all over me, can see it in my face, the way I hold myself, the way I move.”
She’s messy, her addiction is ugly, and you can only admire the friend giving her a roof over her head. Rachel is not even hiding it at some point and drinks in public until totally wasted. She knows someone killed a woman and that the potential killer is very well informed about any witnesses but she gets regularly black-out drunk. Come on! Don’t you wish to be sober in order to fight back? So yeah, we begin the story with one hell of a rocky start due to our heroine.
But if you read on, and the pace of the story does suck you in with the combination of flashbacks and present time events, you get rewarded with answers to all questions you had. The ending ties everything together in a very satisfying way and so much that did not make sense suddenly appears so obvious. The last few chapters you’ll be turning pages like mad. I’m only sorry that I wasn’t warned about the heroine because it was such a nasty surprise. She does redeem herself and puts the past to rest but…yeah, we wouldn’t be ‘besties’.
“A tiding of magpies: One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a boy, five for silver, six for gold, seven for a secret never to be told”
As for our killer – you’ll loathe this person from the very bottom of your heart. There’s no redeeming quality, at least in my opinion. But that person is so devious it’ll take you a considerable time before you put the clues together. A win situation for a thriller certainly.