23000+ Amazon reviews and counting and a movie deal got me curious about this author’s debut…
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?
The story is told through three interlocking voices with timelines switching between the past and present. I like the three narrative voices because none of them can be trusted. This forces me to pay close attention to the details. Like True Detective the story is not too procedural inclined but more character-centric. The writer does paint the characters rather well, provided a superb sense of place and every chapter pulls layers away. The mystery is also quite Hitchcockian in nature. However I could see the ending coming a few chapters before the big denouement and it robbed the excitement away for me. Still, this is a remarkable debut but for the death of me I don’t think it warranted so many positive reviews. I also doubt it would make a good film but I am willing to be proven wrong.
PS – the above book review was written before the film adaptation. I have seen the movie and a short review of that can be read here.