The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

girl on train

So the first book I finished in 2015 is the gripping, twisty, clever, nail-biting mystery that is being advertised as ‘the next Gone Girl‘. Whether it will have that kind of success or not (the film rights have already been bought) I don’t know or care, I just enjoyed the experience of reading this very well-written thriller.

The novel has three narrators and we see parts of the story from each perspective. The main narrative follows Rachel, a thirty-something alcoholic who can’t get over her ex-husband. Not wanting to tell her roommate that she’s been fired from her job she still takes the 8.04 train every day into London where she drinks in the park or hangs out in the library. One of the houses the train passes on her journey into town captures her interest and she looks for the inhabitants, whom she has mythologized in her mind as the perfect couple, every time the train goes by.

As her drinking gets worse she antagonizes her ex-husband and his new wife to the point of hatred (on their part) and frustrates her roommate. Then one Saturday night she blacks out and can’t remember where she went or what she did except for vague flashes of falling and of fighting. When the wife of her perfect couple goes missing on the same day Rachel wonders if her missing memories hold the key to solving the woman’s disappearance.

Like all good thrillers, this novel has many layers so I don’t want to say too much about the plot as part of the fun of the story is peeling back the layers for yourself. It is not as dark or gleefully twisted as Gone Girl (which is just fine by me) but still holds the reader in thrall in a most delicious way. I wouldn’t suggest this for fans of Gone Girl – I’d suggest it for anyone who likes complex, highly suspenseful novels, unreliable narrators and page-turning puzzlement.

16 thoughts on “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

    1. It’s getting lots of buzz here in the library world too. Many, many holds on it so far – I’m glad I was able to read a review copy or who knows when I’d have gotten to it!


  1. I’m really looking forward to reading this one. I’m glad to see your comments about it in relation to the Gone Girl comparisons. I’ve only seen the movie, but overall I thought that story was just okay and will be more than happy if this one has a different tone to it.


  2. It’s been interesting to see the different opinions on this one! I appreciate you not revealing too much, since it seems like this would be a book that might be best to know very little about before jumping in.


  3. Having just finished this (and needing to review it) I can also say it is a book worth reading. It’s different to Gone Girl in ,any ways, but actually I enoyed the unreliability of the characters and it is certainly a page turner. So difficult to review perhaps without giving anything away!


  4. I have this ready to read; I love the comparisons to Gone Girl and it seems to be a hit so far. Glad you enjoyed it! Knowing you did, I’m ever more inclined to to get to it soon.


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