New Book Review

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (326 pages)

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?   (from

Most members welcomed this book because it was a significant departure from the novels to which we tend to gravitate as a club.  A psychological thriller that takes place in the London suburbs, it is told from the perspective of three characters.

Details will not be disclosed in this review because it is an old fashioned “whodunit”.  Although some felt it reminded them of the game of Clue ( __________ used a ______ in the ________ ) others enjoyed the unfolding mystery, replete with cues and complexities as each page was turned.

Some likened the book to a Hitchcock thriller, where the plot advances without significant insight into the characters.  Nearly every character was dysfunctional.  As such, members rued the lack of development, as most characters were worthy to be explored in depth.  Others found the level of dysfunctionality to be a bit off-putting or in some cases, too close to their own reality.  Still others found that they gained an understanding of the lives of people so afflicted.

The novel was an easy read that held one’s interest to the end.  The plot had more twists than a corkscrew and culminated with both a literal and figurative twist.   The Girl on the Train was named Goodreads Choice Awards-Best Mystery and Thriller, an accolade that not all believed was deserved.  However, all agreed that it is a good summer beach read.

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