I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Three women, three men, connected through marriage or infidelity. Each is to blame for something. But only one is a killer in this nail-biting, stealthy psychological thriller about human frailty and obsession.
Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day?
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and evening, rattling over the same junctions, flashing past the same townhouses.The train stops at the same signal every day, and she sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess, as she calls them, seem so happy. Then one day Rachel sees someone new in their garden. Soon after, Rachel sees the woman she calls Jess on the news. Jess has disappeared.
Through the ensuing police investigation, Rachel is drawn deeper into the lives of the couple she learns are really Megan and Scott Hipwell. As she befriends Scott, Rachel pieces together what really happened the day Megan disappeared. But when Megan's body is found, Rachel finds herself the chief suspect in the case. Plunged into a world of betrayals, secrets and deceptions, Rachel must confront the facts about her own past and her own failed marriage.
Another offering in the rather new genre of Chick Noir (a.k.a. Domestic Noir or Amnesia Thrillers), in which domestic life is no longer the safe place everyone assumes it will be. Unreliable women as narrators are hot right now (think Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, The Devil You Know, as well as The Girl on the Train). Chick Noir is aimed at women (mirroring Chick Lit), but there is no happily-ever-after and husbands are not necessarily people whom women are able to trust.
The novel is told from the points of view of 3 women—Rachel (the alcoholic ex-wife), Anna (the irritated current wife), and Megan (the woman-next-door). Along with the differing interpretations of events that you would expect from three different people, we also learn that there is truth to the old saying that those outside a marriage really have no idea what is going on within that marriage—this proves true for all three women.
It’s difficult to say anything substantial about the plot without giving away the fun bits, so I will resist the temptation to say too much. This is a 4 star read instead of 5 for me because I guessed the who-dunnit about 2/3 of the way through the book—I really like to be kept guessing!
The Girl on the Train (really, couldn’t it have been The Woman on the Train? Rachel is well over 16!) puts the fun in dysfunctional.