The Woman in the Window
By: A. J. Finn
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 1/2/2018
My Rating: 5 Stars + +
Top Books of 2018 Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing.” —Gillian Flynn “Unputdownable.” —Stephen King “A dark, twisty confection.” —Ruth Ware “Absolutely gripping.” —Louise Penny For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.
It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock.
5 Stars + + A.J. Finn’s most talked about (highly anticipated) psychological thriller THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, most definitely lives up to the hype!
A B S O R B I N G.
Just when you think you have attained your answers and you have reached the top of the mountain— think again. The climb has only begun. It is just gaining speed.
From here on out, it is non-stop action, suspense —unputdownable. There are many more twists to follow before reaching the explosive ending— making this an "engrossing" 5 stars “must read" and Top Thrillers of 2018.
Audiobook: Not sure I have ever been this immersed in an audiobook previously. Cannot stress enough, Ann Marie Lee (narrator) rocks! Her performance is award-winning. I was hanging on every word.
Generally, with audio, I am distracted by other work and continuously rewinding. Not the case with THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. Listen to Clip
BTW, I purchased the Kindle format, hardcover (which has not arrived from Amazon), and the audiobook.
Anna, age 38 agoraphobic, cat owner, fond of wine drinking wine and pill popping to ease her fears. She likes old classic black-and-white movie classics — and she spies on her neighbors.
“Everything goes down better with a glass of smooth merlot.”
When Anna views the woman in the window:
"I noticed she liked a drink in the morning, as do I."
The narrator: again, off-the-charts bloody-good. The author: So many delicious witty one-liners.
Anna is a child psychologist and often advises a few patients by email.
“The doctor is in.”
She does not venture into the outside world; however, she does have phone conversations with her husband (ex) and her eight-year-old daughter.
Readers are unsure what happened to her family and why she is in this state. However, she is in constant contact with her husband and daughter even though they live apart. We suspect something dreadful, painful, and tragic occurred.
She resides in a beautiful large home in Manhattan and has a handsome tenant, who is a carpenter. He lives in her basement.
Her latest highlight a new form of entertainment happens to be her new neighbors. They do not seem to have any window dressing, and she enjoys observing. (spying). Trying to figure out their life from her eyes.
Ethan Russell, the son (age sixteen) lives across the street. He is a pleasant enough young man, and Anna seems to connect with him. She also meets the parents: Paul and Jane (from the window).
Then one night, after watching her usual noir films, she witnesses a crime. She is frantic! She sees a woman murdered. She immediately calls the police.
However, she is not a credible witness. After all, she comes across as crazy, paranoid, unstable. Pretty much an alcoholic buzzed out on pills, and an agoraphobic.
She is beyond puzzled and begins her own investigation. The wife is OK and alive, says the cops. However, the wife is not the one she saw that night. Therefore, Anna thinks she is an imposter.
However, what is the motive? What happened to the woman in the window?
She immediately begins suspecting everyone. She becomes obsessed.
Picking up clues any way she can. The also has a feeling Ethan is scared of his parents and offers him friendship.
Cleverly, the author unravels the reasoning behind Anna becoming an alcoholic and an agoraphobic. However, again, this is NOT the end. Do not let your guard down. Keep your spy hat in place.
Anna continues to watch her Hitchcockian movies (the titles relate to parts of her investigation) and speaks to her family. Slowly she begins suspecting she is not crazy like everyone thinks she is.
However, she needs to seek solid answers before she gets the police involved again. She must find clues and confront the problem. It is not paranoia, or is it?
The cops think with the constant viewing of late night crime movies, in combination with her alcohol and medication she sees things that are not there.
However, Anna is more than determined to find answers to prove to herself and everyone there is something more sinister at play. In doing so, then she may be able to face her demons to begin to live a somewhat healthy life.
What a fantastic book!
Brilliantly written and plotted, psychologically rich, characters well-drawn, highly emotional —From love, loss, to complete madness. Anna is a woman you can sympathize with, no matter your gender or age. I listened/read in one sitting.
Once you reach the 50-75% mark, you will understand why the movie rights. As mentioned in my review of The Wives Between Us (another huge hit 5 Stars ++) with film rights; why these two books will be on the bestseller list for some time to come:
Readers are getting the “best” of the literary world (expertise) with the two author's background in journalism, and the publishing world, plus Pekkannen is a well established best-selling author. These guys know what they are doing and do it well. What a way to kick off 2018!
Back to TWITW: I enjoyed the second half of the book, more than the first part. The first part is a slow-burning set up for the fast-paced, intense second half.
Fans of each- will enjoy the other. Both sophisticated and intelligently written literary/psychological thrillers. (plus The Ghostwriter involves the publishing industry).
Both involve an unreliable narrator, with a mystery surrounding husband and child, and agoraphobic. Ironically, A. J. Finn’s THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW also reminds me strongly of A. R. Torre (Alessandra Torre)’s Deanna Madden Series (minus the erotica, UPS man, and internet sex); however, the box cutter, agoraphobic, family tragic past, and a strong pull to save someone beyond the reaches of her home, while putting herself in harm’s way.
Highly Recommend for fans of well-written strong, and intelligent psychological suspense thrillers. Heavy on the old movie classics, literary flair, and less on the blood and gore, which works for me. Enthralling, and all-consuming are words which quickly come to mind.
To summarize, Finn brilliantly explores the mind of Anna. Her anxiety, fears, depression, paranoia, love, loss, grief, and guilt; hitting all cylinders.
The next Gone Girl? I would say "Yes," to that question. Looking forward to the small/or big screen and can imagine its cast of stars. I loved Anna! I hope we see more of her in future books. View Book Trailer below.
Jan Top Reads
Next year’s ‘Gone Girl’? Perhaps. ‘The Woman in the Window’ lives up to the hype Washington Post
“Crackling with tension, and the sound of pages turning, as twist after twist sweeps away each hypothesis you come up with about what happened in Anna’s past and what fresh hell is unfolding now.” — Kirkus Reviews
“As the plot seizes us, the prose caresses us. . . [Finn] has not only captured, sympathetically, the interior life of a depressed person, but also written a riveting thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last sentence.” — Washington Post
“Finn’s debut lives up to the hype. . . . A riveting and mature first novel that stands out in a crowded genre.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“Astounding. Thrilling. Lovely and amazing....Finn has created a noir for the new millennium, packed with mesmerizing characters, stunning twists, beautiful writing and a narrator with whom I’d love to split a bottle of pinot. Maybe two bottles—I’ve got a lot of questions for her.” —#1 New York Times bestselling author Gillian Flynn
“The Woman in the Window is one of those rare books that really is unputdownable. The writing is smooth and often remarkable. The way Finn plays off this totally original story against a background of film noir is both delightful and chilling.” —Stephen King
Full of suspense and surprises and told with heart, The Woman in the Window will send readers racing through its pages. A stunning first outing from A. J. Finn, a tremendous new talent.” — Jane Harper, New York Times bestsellling author of The Dry
“Twisted to the power of max. Hitchcockian suspense with a 21st century twist.” —Bestselling author Val McDermid
“The Woman in the Window is a tour de force. A twisting, twisted odyssey inside one woman’s mind, her illusions, delusions, reality. It left my own mind reeling and my heart pounding. An absolutely gripping thriller.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Louise Penny
“Compelling, wrenching, and gasp-for-breath exciting―I was blown away.”— #1 New York Times bestselling author Joe Hill
“A dark, twisty confection with an irresistible film noir premise. Hitchcock would have snapped up the rights in a heartbeat.”—New York Times bestselling author Ruth Ware
“The Woman in the Window is the most riveting thriller I’ve read since Gone Girl. A. J. Finn is a bold new talent with the touch of a master.” —New York Times bestselling author Tess Gerritsen
“Finn’s debut lives up to the hype. . . . A riveting and mature first novel that stands out in a crowded genre.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Gripping, compelling, and utterly intriguing.” —Liz Nugent, author of the 2017 BEA “Buzz Book” Unraveling Oliver
“The Woman in the Window reads like a classic Hitchcock movie in novel form, in fact I was half expecting a cameo. Dripping with suspense. Creaking with menace. Beautifully written. There’s a lot of buzz around this book and every single bit of it is totally justified.” —Simon Toyne, bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy
About the Author
A J Finn is the pseudonym of Daniel Mallory, currently a senior publishing executive at William Morrow/ HarperCollins. An Oxford graduate and former book critic, he lives in New York City. His debut novel, The Woman in the Window, is currently in development as a major motion picture at Fox.
More . . . A. J. Finn has written for numerous publications, including the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and the Times Literary Supplement. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window, has been sold in thirty-eight territories worldwide. A native of New York, Finn lived in England for ten years before returning to New York City. Read More