This really is a very enjoyable read. It left me in a state of awe at how well it’s written. It’s no surprise that it has sold several million copies in the UK and the USA. It’s a gripping thriller set in London suburbia. Paula Hawkins has done a superb job at conjuring up a unique, yet simple plot and turning it on its head into something extremely captivating. I’m not going to overly review it here because there are hundreds of reviews already online. What I will say, however, is that the ones I have read share my opinion of the book. This is a book that will appeal to all kinds of thriller enthusiasts; regardless of gender.
Rachel, a 32-year-old alcoholic lamenting the break-up of her marriage to Tom, has moved to a nearby town. Her drinking has caused her to lose her job but she conceals this from those closest to her by maintain her routine and take the train to London every day. As the train slows to a halt at one particular junction, Rachel can see directly into the back of a row of houses; one of which is her former home (now occupied by Tom and his new family).
Despite her drinking problem, Rachel is incredibly observant and it is during these slow train journeys that she begins to compulsively watch an attractive couple who live a few houses away from Tom. Rachel has never met them but imagines their relationship to be perfect – how she would have liked hers to be. Little does she know that the couple has marital problems. The woman has a dark secret – she is seeing a handsome therapist with whom she is also having an affair (one of many). One day, Rachel watches the news on TV and discovers that the very same woman – whose name is Megan – is missing. Her body is later found buried in the local woods.
After Megan’s murder makes the headlines, the story really starts to heat up. Rachel feels a deep connection to Megan from all those sightings of her from the train and turns sleuth to help uncover the truth about what happened and who murdered her. Rachel is sly, she is sneaky and is often drunk in her detective endeavours – but she is also incredibly likeable, which adds much enjoyment to the plot. With her safety often in jeopardy, the story steers the reader towards a gripping and tense climax to where the murderer is revealed and then confronted.
Trust me; you won’t want to put this book down until you discover who murdered Megan, given the many twists and turns amongst the various suspects. I really liked this book and thoroughly recommend it as a piece of holiday reading or train reading. Perhaps, you’ll even start looking into the backs of houses yourself, if your train suddenly stops at a junction. It’s nice to be nosey sometimes and have a good peep into somebody’s back garden. It can tell you a lot – or nothing at all – about the person/people who live inside but with a little imagination, you might be surprised where your mind takes you.
© Declan Henry