Everyone knows I am the slowest reader in the world! I love to read, but between trying to write every day and a stressful full-time job, I'm lucky if I get 30 minutes of reading time a day! It usually takes me around a month to finish one book. Add to that the fact that I tend to start 4 or 5 books at a time! Therefore, imagine my surprise when last Friday (on a whim) I downloaded on my Kindle the Paula Hawkins novel, The Girl on the Train...and it took me less than a week to finish it!
The concept tag for this book is Gone Girl meets Rear Window, and I think that's an accurate description. This novel has all the page-turning suspense of Gone Girl combined with the voyeuristic delight of Rear Window. This novel resonated with me right away since I used to live in London and took the train often into English suburbia and beyond. I spent hours looking out train windows and wondering who lived in the passing row houses and what their lives were like. That's kind of the premise with which this novel begins. Rachel, the main narrator, travels on the same train at the same time every day. The train stops daily at the same signal light where she is able to glimpse the backside of a Victorian row house and the couple that lives therein. She's constructed a whole life for this unknown couple, given them names, talents, careers. The narrator soon reveals that this house is only four down from where she used to live in her old life that included a husband and a job. Her life is very different now, and as the novel unfolds, Rachel recalls life then and now. Because of her struggles with alcoholism and blackouts, she becomes embroiled in a murder mystery, sure that something she's forgotten is a key clue in solving the mystery.
Told through the point-of-view of three narrators, this novel is a fast-paced and riveting dark mystery with well-developed, likeable, and believable characters. Rachel is a sympathetic character who is terribly flawed but recognizes her shortcomings. This is one of those novels I would term brilliantly crafted, as the writing is as good as the story, and the plot twists are well-paced and placed. The Girl on a Train is suspenseful and not predictable, and although I did figure out "whodunnit" before the end of the book, it took nothing away from the story.
Not only is this the best book I've read this month, it's the best book I've read in several months! I dare you to put the book down!
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