The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (first published in 2015 by Doubleday, an imprint of Transworld Publishers)
I’m almost too afraid to review this book, because it would be criminal to give you spoilers.

The Girl on the Train is the book that everyone has compared to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which was later adapted to a huge Hollywood movie.

The Girl on the Train is an uneasy read, mostly because the main narrator and protagonist cannot be fully trusted. Rachel is an alcoholic, who suffers from blackouts and misremembers many things. She is also so deeply in denial about her life, that she hides things from herself and her audience.

At first we identify with her curious voyeurism about the people and the neighbourhood she seemingly innocently observes on her commute, but soon we realise things are much more complicated.

Because Rachel used to live in that neighbourhood, with her husband Tom before things started to go wrong in her life.

Tom has since left Rachel to remarry Anna and father her child, but Rachel cannot accept this. She cannot accept the usurper, Anna, who stole her husband and bore the child she was supposed to, so she harasses Anna and drunk dials Tom a lot.

Rachel is not coping and her obsession is Tom and Anna and the couple’s new baby.

But everything changes when neighbour Megan disappears. Rachel has flashbacks of the night when Megan went missing, but she can’t piece them together. She only knows there was a lot of blood, a blue dress and a mysterious man with red hair who might have been helping her, or might have been doing something much more sinister.

This is a page turner with the sense of a cold undertow pulling at the reader from the very first page, and the skill with which the author weaves it all together is impressive.

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