Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: January 13, 2015
Author photographer: (AP) Matt Dunham
What a 5 Star read ~
This psychologically twisting debut by Paula Hawkins has Rachel Watson, the main character, who is depressed and laments the death of her marriage and also an unemployed alcoholic taking the daily commute from Ashbury to Eustin Station all in a guise to feign employment to her flatmate.
She takes the commute and the ride passes her old neighborhood where she once lived with her ex-husband Tom, where he lives now with his new wife Anna and their child. You read of the anguish she goes through as she watches them on their terrace when the train stops at the schedule junction every commute.
A few houses down she sees another couple, whom in her mind, names Jason and Jess and fantasizes of their life. Jason who travels the world as a doctor and her in the fashion industry. Living the idyllic life.
Then Rachel sees something that blows that idyllic life out of her imagination she has built for them. Could it be that Jess is having an affair? Who is that man that she sees kissing?
Then Jess goes missing.
Ironically the same Saturday night Rachel is in a blackout. The night she got drunk and stumbled down to her old street to (stalk) see Tom. Rachel has made a history of phoning and dropping off notes to Tom after the divorce - even being distraught of not being able to conceive with Tom, she even wandered into his home with Anna and walked out with their baby in her arms.
With Megan (Jess) missing she offers suggestions to the police based on what she thinks she has seen from the train. The prime suspect Scott (Jason) is under a lot of stress and she makes her way to his home and eventually to his bed. She even makes appointments with Megan’s therapist all in an effort to try to help find Megan.
With Rachel's drinking and going into blackouts she has a hard time telling reality and fiction. Rachel becomes a suspect, even to herself. Although the police don't hold her, not even on her word.
Megan we find out has her own problems and secrets and then there's Anna - is she really little Miss Perfect? There's Scott, the bereaved husband; Tom, the ex; Megan's therapist who claims he doesn't believe in hypnotism. Many characters are all in play in this thriller.
Paula Hawkins structure of her novel is beautifully done with alternating POV from Rachel, Megan, and Anna. The scenes are timed with edge-of-your-seat page-turning effect, though, the chapters all merge together for a crescendo that I feel some readers might see coming. The antagonist is there. The ending is completely satisfying, all those loose-ends are tied up.
Once you start reading this novel it is hard to put down. It does have a slow start but it builds tension. There are issues with alcoholism, domestic abuse and many grim issues that are well known in today's society.
I most recommend folks; it should belong in your personal library.
And - maybe you should nod in respect when you see a magpie all on its own. Great debut.
One for sorrow,
Two for joy,
Three for a girl,
Four for a boy,
Five for silver,
Six for gold,
Seven for a secret,
Never to be told.
Eight for a wish,
Nine for a kiss,
Ten for a bird,
You must not miss.
- Amazon ~ Kindle edition $6.49 Hardcover $16.17 - USD
- Barnes and Noble ~ NOOK Book $9.09 Hardcover $16.81 - USD
- IndieBound.org ~ Your local independent bookseller