Publication Date: 01/13/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
A debut psychological thriller about a woman who becomes emotionally entangled in a murder investigation because of something she witnesses on her daily commute.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every night. Every day she rattles over the same track junctions, flashes past the same stretch of cozy suburban homes. And every day she stops at the same signal and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof deck, living the perfect life that Rachel craves for herself—a lifestyle she recently lost. She looks forward to observing this household every morning, even makes up names and narratives for its residents. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden, and soon after, the woman who lived there disappears.
Unable to keep this information to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and in the process is drawn into the lives of the couple she thought of as Jason and Jess but whose names—she has learned from the news—are really Megan and Scott Hipwell.
But the police accuse Rachel of being unreliable, and it’s true that her memories can’t always be trusted. Plus there are the stories that her ex-husband’s new wife has been spreading about her. By the time Megan’s body is found, Rachel is in over her head, intricately entangled in the details of the investigation, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she put others in danger? 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.
GIRL ON THE TRAIN-- a deliciously haunting psychological thriller by British journalist Paula Hawkins, --an inventive debut and exploration of obsession, love, violence, secrets, lies, and betrayal.
Told from alternating perspectives of three women:
Rachel is “the girl on the train.” She is her 30s, divorced, unemployed, and an alcoholic. She rides the train every day into London so the friend she is staying with will not notice she has no job.
On her daily commute into London from the suburbs, the train often stops near Rachel’s old house, where she lived with her former husband, Tom. From her train window, she imagines a happy life as she gazes into the yards and windows of her former neighbors. She is childless, lonely, and buries herself in a bottle (her life is a total train wreck).
Rachel dislikes Anna who is married to her ex-husband Tom. She dreams of a perfect life. She resents their life (the life which should have been hers), with husband and baby.
On the route, she passes this house and sees this loving couple she calls Jason and Jess, as imagines their happy life. Until one day she sees the woman kissing another man and then her fantasy world is crushed. Then she realizes the woman is missing and learns their true identity. She gets the police involved and the drama begins.
What is real and what is an illusion? Due to her blackouts, is she a credible witness?
Anna, is married to Rachel’s ex-husband, Tom and they have a baby. Rachel is envious of Anna, as she wanted to have a baby but Tom said they could not afford all the fertility tests. Anna is very self-centered, and preferred the glamour and intrigue of being the other woman. Rachel often stalks them, sneaking into their house and trying to take their baby. Tom and Anna thinks Rachel has lost it, as Rachel is drunk most of the time and does not recall things she has done --blacks out.
Megan, is Anna’s neighbor and Rachel has an obsession with Megan and her husband Scott, whose house she passes every day on her train into London. (She imagined them as originally as, Jason and Jess).
Megan's part flashes back in time prior to her disappearance. She's manic, but hasn't quite come to terms with two extremely tragic events in her past. Anna, meanwhile, just wants a quiet, picket-fence kind of existence with Tom and their child. She's grown to hate Rachel, who's having a hard time leaving their family alone, with continuous stalking.
Now, what you have here is a mix of stalker, alcoholic, demented, dark, lonely, violent, self-absorbed, obsessive, compulsive, addictive, insecure, jealous, and selfish wacky women who have no life. (Hilarious, right)? However, Hawkins keeps you hooked as you hear from each woman—as a reader, you want to murder all of them.
The shocking and gripping thriller delivers many twists and turns, taking you on a dark engrossing ride-- Rachel blacks out, someone is a murderer, and someone is lying. A fine line between love and hate, this drama will have you racing to the end to learn the fate of these three women and how they are connected. Oh, and the men in their lives who are not as they seem. A page-turner, to learn the identity of the master manipulator.
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher, keeping the suspense high with different voices. At times I wanted to smack these women and became patient with them; however, I enjoyed The Girl on the Train, more than Gone Girl but less than The Good Girl.
When comparing "Girl Psycho-Thrillers", my personal rating:
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Hawkins explores highly-charged psychological, social, and contemporary topics of abuse (physical, verbal, and emotional), as well as addictions. She examines middle class women's lives from different perspectives as wives, mothers, divorced, childless, and the mistress' views --how each personality views a situation or person, differently.
Get on board the crazy train, for hours of humor and entertainment, as Hawkins cleverly weaves emotional, dark, and complex --with extensive character studies and insights. If you enjoy dark psycho-thrillers, this one is for you!
Looking forward to more from this highly creative author, and the movie. Enjoyed reading her inspiration behind the novel, and her thought process for the character development.