Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Rachel Watkins takes the train every day from Ashbury to London, and on most occasions the train comes to a stop behind the garden of a couple who Rachel has named Jess and Jason. In her fantasy, they are the perfect couple with the perfect marriage. In fact, Rachel even used to live on the same street as Jess and Jason before they moved in but now her ex-husband lives there with his new wife and daughter.

Rachel's daily jot, however, is nothing more than a ruse to fool her flatmate into thinking that she is still employed, when in reality, she was canned for showing up to work inebriated.

Rachel's fantasy of the perfect couple is destroyed when she learns that Jess, who is really Megan Hipwell, has gone missing. From her spot on the train, Rachel had seen Megan kiss another man who was not her husband, Scott, and she feels compelled to insert her self in the case to share what she knows.

There is more to the story, and Rachel was even on Megan's street the night she disappeared, as she frequently tries to reach out to her ex husband during her alcoholic binges. Because of a black out, she doesn't know what she was doing that evening but came home with bruises. Soon things spiral out of control, and like Rachel's memory, no one can be trusted.

Alternating perspectives from the female characters keeps the pages turning at a fast clip. Rachel, an alcoholic prone to black outs, is an unreliable narrator and her actions will make you cringe, but as a reader she keeps you guessing since you don't know what she will do next and what danger she will inevitably encounter. Readers who like the dark tone of this psychological thriller should also seek out Mary Kubica's The Good Girl.

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