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 Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories.
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published January 13th 2015 by Riverhead
Four and a half stars: A gripping, psychological thriller that will hold you captive until the end.
Rachel is soothed by the train jostling down the tracks. She is fighting off her latest hangover as she rides the train into town. The train is coming up on Rachel's favorite part of the trip. Rachel peers out the window hoping to get a glimpse of Jess and Jason, the couple who live in a house alongside the tracks. Rachel doesn't know the two, nor does she know their real names. To Rachel, Jess and Jason represent everything she lost in her own marriage, and she loves to see them together, that is until the day when Rachel sees Jess without Jason. What Rachel sees changes everything, and before long, Rachel is drawn into a police investigation. What did Rachel see?
What I Liked:
- This book is getting all kinds of buzz right now, and I am certainly glad that I took notice. The Girl on the Train is a riveting read that will keep you flipping pages until the shocking ending. If you love a good, strong psychological thriller, I highly recommend this one, it is the best thriller I have read since Gone Girl.
- The story features three unreliable narrators. Rachel is an alcoholic, recently divorced, unemployed and prone to drunken blackouts. Megan or Jess, is a girl with a vicious past who seems to have the perfect marriage, but in reality, she is an adulteress driven by a troubling past. The cast is rounded out by Anna, a former mistress who is now married to Rachel's ex husband. Anna has a loving husband and a new baby, and she appears happy and content, but is she really? All three women are unlikable and even though you would think that a book with unreliable and unlikable characters would putt you off, it works. I found that I was invested in each woman, and that I wanted to know what drove them to behave the way did. I also hoped that each would find a way to redeem themselves, especially when it comes to Rachel the drunken train wreck. The characters were fantastically written, deeply flawed and messed up. Let's face it, who can resist reading about people whose lives are like a gossip column?
- The story is engaging and thrilling. Megan goes missing and Rachel feels compelled to help. The further Rachel digs, the more her mind niggles that she may know more than she remembers. There are many twists and turns, and lots of suspects that will keep you guessing up until the big reveal. I have to admit, I was surprised at the culprit, and I liked the way it all played out. Definitely worth the read.
- The ending delivers with plenty of shock and drama. I liked that it ending satisfactorily without leaving the story open or with a head scratching finale that drives the reader crazy. I was satisfied with the conclusion.
- The writing is excellent. Ms. Hawkins is indeed a fine story teller. There isn't much to the story; it is a book about secrets, deceiving outward appearances and the inability to truly know someone. Yet, her simple story telling is brilliant and thought provoking. This is Ms. Hawkins debut novel, and you can bet I will be reading her next book.
And The Not So Much:
- Even though I liked that all three women were unlikable, it was hard to spend so much time with Rachel. I kept hoping that she would do a turn around, and that I would connect with her, but she spirals further and further down. Rachel is a drunk who drinks to the point of blackout who engages in ridiculous behavior. She isn't an easy character to journey with, and I kept expecting her to get it together, but she never really does. Go into this one knowing that you aren't going to like anyone and it will go easier for you. I did at least feel sympathetic toward Rachel in the end.
- The book moves back in forth in time. I had a bit of trouble keeping track of the shifts in time. Not a big issue, but I would suggest paying close attention to the dates at the beginning of each chapter.
- I was left with a few niggling questions. What was the purpose of the clothes beside the tracks? What really happened to Rachel during her marriage was she drunk and blacking out or was her ex husband manipulating her memories? Was she physically abused? I wanted more insight into the marriage. How did Rachel manage to live so long without employment? Where was her money coming from? Who released the information about Megan's child to the press and why? What happened with Scott?
- Even though the book reaches a firm conclusion, I still wanted more. I was hoping to see Rachel end up in a better place.
The Girl on the Train was a captivating and engaging thriller that kept me glued to the pages. I devoured this read, and I highly recommend it to those who are seeking a good psychological thriller with twists, turns and a solid mystery. This was a most impressive debut, and I for one, will be eager to see what Ms. Hawkins does next. If you need a page turner, grab this and set aside some time.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.