By: Paula Hawkins

Published: January 13, 2015

Publisher: Riverhead

Fiction/Psychological Thriller

I would be surprised if you haven’t heard about this book. It’s been mentioned on nearly every book blog I follow, written about in magazines, and is on shelves in every bookstore.  Its debut is on the heels of other successful psychological thrillers like GONE GIRL, with readers wanting more of the page-turning drama and suspense. I don’t typically read these types of books, but this one appeared in my mailbox and I was anxious to see what all the buzz was about.

Rachel is a recently divorced, unemployed, drunk who rides the train every day in London so that her roommate thinks she is still going to her job. On the train she watches for her old street and her old house to appear along the tracks. She hopes for glimpses of her ex-husband and the new family he has created in their old home.  She also watches the neighboring house, with it’s occupants, Jess and Jason (she has named them) to appear so she can live vicariously through their morning coffee chats on the patio. She imagines their life and feels like they are friends, even though they don’t know each other. Then, one morning, Rachel witnesses something on Jess and Jason’s patio that changes her life forever.  Then Jess, who’s real name is Megan, comes up missing. Can Rachel’s story help them find her or will they just see her as a crazy, unreliable drunk?

The main flaw in this book is that I found it hard to relate to or care about the characters. They were all so completely depressing and flawed that I became bored with them. Rachel’s daily whining and drinking, Anna (her ex-husband’s wife) and her irrational fears of Rachel, and Jess/Megan’s selfish behaviors. They really were a messed up bunch of gals and it made me frustrated to constantly read them wallowing in self-pity.  If you are in a funk and sick of winter, I’m not sure this is the book to bring you out of it. Reading about depressing people makes you want to stay in bed with a glass of wine as well.

Once Megan goes missing, the story-line picks up and you are constantly trying to figure out what really happened and who, ultimately, is the murderer. After many leads, you will guess and guess until the end when you realize the answer was right in front of you the whole time. There is quite a thrilling ending and one that will have you holding your breath. If you are looking for a happy ending, this won’t meet that need, but will leave you a bit hopeful in the beginning of a new life for two of the characters.

Hawkins writes the story from Rachel, Anna, and Megan’s perspective. She alternates chapters with a timeline of events so you know who was doing what and when. You are able to get inside their heads and understand their reasons behind the mistakes they continue to make. Hawkins does a fine job of leading you through their lives that led up to the night Megan goes missing all the way to the thrilling conclusion of finding out her killer without giving anything away. Fans of suspense and thrilling murder mysteries will find this book enjoyable, even with the deeply depressing characters.

Paula Hawkins, photo credit: Kate Neil –source

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in London.  THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN is her first thriller. It is being published all over the world and has been optioned by Dreamworks. For more on Paula, visit her website, You can also find Paula on Twitter, HERE, and Facebook, HERE.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, click the photo below:

Thanks to Riverhead Books for sending a copy of this book for review. This review is my honest opinion. I was not compensated for my review. If you choose to purchase the book through the above link, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase. Thanks for supporting reviews. 

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  1. Sarah's Book Shelves on February 12, 2015 at 2:37 am

    I liked this one a lot, but nowhere close to as much as Gone Girl – I think that comparison did this one a disservice. I loved the psychological elements, but guessed the ending fairly early on, so the thriller aspect didn't lived up to expectations.

    Still a pretty good read, though, and lots to talk about. I posted a spoiler discussion on my blog.

  2. bermudaonion on February 14, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I liked this more than you did but had read very little about it before reading it so I hadn't heard the Gone Girl comparisons. I really hate when they compare books like that.

  3. Sheila (Bookjourney) on March 21, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    I fall into the not so much category here. I was not a super fan of this one.

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