Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train… (Amazon)
In (Very) Short:
+ structurally a good thriller you had to continue reading
+ annoying characters
+ an obvious culprit
+ filled with clichés
This thriller was all the rage in Germany this reading season. The debut novel by Paula Hawkins was pretty much everywhere. Since it was either loved or hated by many readers, I had to know what the fuss was all about.
The main protagonist Rachel rides the train everyday and watches a couple living in a house near the train tracks. Rachel imagines the loving and wonderful life they have until one day a missing persons report shows the face of the woman Rachel watches each morning. But when she wants to help the search and the investigation, she not only entangles herself into a situation she cannot control but exposes her own demons to the world. Suddenly it gets really dangerous really fast.
The premise and the idea was intriguing. Structurally it was a good and bloodless thriller, which I had to continue reading. Yet I also had to put the book down on many occasions because of the annoying characters.
The story was told from three different and later alternating perspectives and in two different time lines: Rachel – the girl on the train, who battled her own demons (namely alcohol) and her own past, Meghan – the woman Rachel watches from the train who then disappears, and Anna – Rachel’s ex-husband’s affair and now his wife.
I could not relate to either of these women nor to any of the characters in the book and it is quite an achievement that I still could not put the book down for long. Yet I was so annoyed by the women, by the clichés used, by the fact that it was pretty obvious to me who the killer was, I had to stop from time to time in order not to start screaming with rage and fury.
The characters appear to be psychotic nut jobs, who were in desperate need of some common sense. I have met people like that, yet most people have common sense and a general understanding of the world. But apparently there are those in thrillers that don’t. Just as you wonder in every horror movie why someone has the brilliant idea to go somewhere alone when a psychotic killer is on the loose. Well…
Structurally this was a good and solid thriller that you cannot put down despite the annoying characters, yet it lacked originality where it should have lacked clichés.