The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has recreated the ‘Gone Girl’ effect. Everyone’s reading it; everyone’s talking about it, and everyone’s waiting with anticipation for the movie to be released. Because, yes, of course it has already been signed on for a movie – those movie exec types move fast.
Told from the perspective of three women, but primarily Rachel, The Girl on the Train is a crime thriller that uncovers the truth of what happened to missing girl, Megan. First, we’re introduced to Rachel, who catches the train each morning and evening and envisions a romantic life between ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’ a couple whose house she can see into from the train. Only ‘Jess’ is actually Megan, and Rachel is horrified to discover that she’s gone missing and Megan’s husband is the prime suspect. And while Rachel is initially drawn to the case because she feels as if she knows them, things quickly become murkier and far more creepy. On the night that Megan went missing, we learn that Rachel was in the area – only she was so drunk, she didn’t remember a thing. And to make things even more complex, throw into the mix Tom, Rachel’s ex-husband, and Anna, his new wife, who both live in the area and seem to have their own agenda for wanting Megan out of the picture.
Narrated by three different women, all of whom are unreliable – a mistress, a vengeful alcoholic and a liar. So which one do we trust? Or are they all telling what they think is the truth? Paula Hawkins has done a pretty stunning job of creating a twisted, creepy crime thriller with deeply unappealing people – but in a way that you just have to find out what’s happened to them.
With its twists and turns, The Girl on the Train has all the ingredients for a page-turning thriller. We’re introduced to multiple characters that could be behind Megan’s disappearance, but almost as soon as we think we’ve worked it out, the story twists again and another suspect enters the scene. What on the surface seems like a straightforward case quickly mutates into dark marriages, shared lies and manipulation, and all end up wrapped up together in one neat, final package.
Perhaps the best part about The Girl on the Train is that it is fast-paced. Hawkins doesn’t try to introduce any unnecessary plots or secondary characters – every person, every story is there for a reason and it all becomes apparent in the final pages. As a result, we’re left with a thriller that can be read in a single sitting or two, and the reader isn’t left wading through unnecessary information in order to get to the crux of the crime. Basically, the ideal crime novel.
I’d read the blurb of this book and I honestly didn’t expect to like it, and it wasn’t until a friend lent it to me that I gave it a shot. Now I can understand the hype. It’s twisted, creepy and definitely a bit dark, but it’s also an absolute page-turner that will keep you guessing until the end. Which really isn’t that far off, because you’ll read it so quickly.
Have you read The Girl on the Train? Are you a fan of crime novels? Let me know!