The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins ~ 2015

Every day the same, until today

Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: January 13, 2015
Pages: 336
ISBN-13: 9781594633669
Author photographer: (AP) Matt Dunham

What a 5 Star read ~

Paula Hawkins
This debut psychological thriller should start a new category  -  Not-To-Be-Missed.  It will forever change the way you look at other people's lives and the way you imagine them, even if for just a moment while you wait.

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 scheduled 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

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.

A common modern version - Of course there are considerable variations in the lyrics used here. 
One for Sorrow is a traditional children's nursery rhyme about magpies.   According to an old superstition, the number of magpies one sees determines if one will have bad luck or not.

✒ ✒ ✒

The Girl On The Train ~ How the daily commute inspired a bestseller

The Girl on the Train with author Paula Hawkins

✒ ✒ ✒

Folks, here is a link to Paula's Notes & Highlights on Goodreads

Here's where you can get your finger's on The Girl On The Train:
  • Amazon  ~  Kindle edition $6.49  Hardcover $16.17 - USD

✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒

The Dearly Departed Dating Service by Rae Renzi ~ 2015

Joy had it all: a promising medical career, a handsome and kind fiancé, a bright future. Until it all came crashing down in one shattering moment.

Author: Rae Renzi
Publisher: Grey Gecko Press 
Published: February 14th 2015
Pages: 241
Language: English

"This book was provided by Grey Gecko Press in exchange for my honest review alongside my proffered thank-you for asking."

4 Stars

Rae Renzi
An entertaining read for the weekend reader. The story was a bit amusing with lighthearted comedy and I didn't think the story was going anywhere right at first, but, it did. The story had a problem in the beginning and then moved on solving that problem with a slight mystery air to it. It exceeded my preconceived notion.

The tale opened up with Joy Abercrombie, on her first day observing in the OR, watches an all self-absorbed surgeon stepping in as a replacement for Dr. Thompson, come in with the air of a god. Ego-mania radiated from him as one observer whispered to Joy "Ego swamp here."

As he started barking orders, Joy watched the patient being wheeled in and stepped closer to view over a nurses shoulder. Her world stopped. The patient was her boyfriend Craig, where earlier in the day he promised her that he would be home when she got there.

The story continues when after Craig's death, she realizes she can see his spirit and can actually talk with him. Now she understands she can communicate with the Departed and starts to have what I felt was a facetious relationship with them. The story took on more of a humorous role.

Two years later, she needs to save her family's home from being foreclosed and with the amounting bills she has accumulated from medical school she needs to do something. She's working in the mortuary's Restorative Art room and the pay, well, it's just not there. She gets an idea from Mr. Fredrick Botts, Funeral Director of Tranquility Park Funeral Home, whom loves to brainstorm ideas on how to advertise business and has a weak grasp on reality.

Knowing from the serious side of the badinage gossip of the Departed, everyone (on both sides) has loved ones who are bereaved. And the only way to move on with life is to find another - hence - The Dearly Departed Dating Service.

Rae Renzi's writing is smooth and at times predictable, yet, it is enjoyable. The relationships within the story are quite convincing given the scenario. Though her relationship with Mr. Ego Surgeon was too predictable, you knew the relationship was definitely going places but I didn't care for the "timed" meetings and surprises. And I did not like Mr. Ego's offering to solve Joy's financial problem.

Her theme touched on some medical ethics and hypothesis of the hereafter and I enjoyed Renzi's questioning of them. Could make quite the controversy.

She made her characters very believable in their surroundings in their own weird way. One could possibly imagine on what to do and what to say when you could be in the "in-between". Her characters made the book.

Her overall story-telling is great.The main character, Joy, had the same problem she was trying to fix for the Departed. The ending stopped to suddenly for me, but, I tell you folks it is a good read. I would recommend it for a cozy weekend read.

The Dearly Departed Dating Service

Here's where you can get your fingers on The Dearly Departed Dating Service:
  • Amazon  ~  Kindle edition $2.99  Hardcover $18.99 - USD

✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒ ✒