Friday, 3 July 2015

The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore. (

What we thought: I read a lot of positive comments and reviews on various online book clubs and sites about this book and so decided to read it before someone gave away the storyline! It’s an excellent psychological thriller, along the lines of Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep, but, for me, with a more layered plot and stronger characters.

Told through the eyes of three female characters, the story centres on the disappearance of Megan, a woman who from the outside has a perfect life and yet from the inside lives in a spiders' web of complications. We skip around a little in time to see the lead up to her disappearance, so one word of advice with this novel, is to always take note of the date at the beginning of each chapter, or you can find yourself somewhat confused!

Rachel, the main protagonist, watches Megan from afar to begin with, passing her garden each day on her train commute into London. But as Rachel’s life unravels as she struggles to conquer an alcohol addiction, her realities seem to merge into the black outs she suffers and she finds herself pulled into the police investigation by being at the wrong place at the wrong time.

With a cleverly driven plot that sees the lives of the three women intricately linked and finally ends in a page-turning finale that kept me hooked, there’s everything in this novel for readers of high tension thrillers.

As a writer, I particularly appreciated the clever handling of the first person POV and know how hard maintaining an unreliable narrator can be. But is she really unreliable, or does she just think she is? That was the question that kept be hooked.

This was the first novel I’d read by Paula Hawkins and I look forward to reading more soon.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Gillian Flynn, Joanne Clancy, SJ Watson.

Avoid if you don’t like: Complicated love lives and the 'evil of alcohol!'.

Ideal accompaniments: Bottle of Merlot, cheeseboard and grapes.

Genre: Literary fiction.

Available from Amazon

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