For months I have been hearing that The Girl on the Train is the next Gone Girl/Before I Go to Sleep, one of which I really liked… one of which I liked until it turned to crap. But I figured that I wanted to know what everyone was taking about so I might as well give it a go. Plus there’s going to be a movie of it later this year and you I have to have something to compare it to.
After the dissolution of her marriage, Rachel feels she has little to live for, which is why she has taken solace in alcohol… lots of alcohol… which has lead to the loss of her job in PR. Rachel doesn’t want her flatmate to know that she’s lost her job and she’s at a bit of a loose end so she continues to ride the train to and from London everyday.
From her seat on the train she is able to see her old home where her ex, Tom, is now living with Anna, the woman he cheated on her with and their baby daughter. She also often looks into the home of a couple who she thinks have the perfect marriage and for whom she has created an entire fantastical back story. Well until she sees the wife kissing another man.
When she discovers that the wife of her fantasy couple, Megan has gone missing she feels that she has to let the police know that there might be another man involved. The only problem is that Rachel’s drinking and her tendency to stalk and disrupt Tom and Anna doesn’t exactly make her a reliable witness, nor does the fact that she was actually on their street on the night of the disappearance and that she can’t remember much because she was so wasted.
Soon Rachel is making her own investigations, which have thrust her right into the middle of a compelling mystery that could have fatal consequences.
So let’s start with the good… Paula Hawkins has worked really hard on creating complex and layered characters with strong and clear motivations. She’s also got things moving at a blistering pace, which makes this a quick, easy read.
Unfortunately every single one of her characters is a massive douchebag. I felt kind of sorry for Rachel but I also wanted her to pull her head out of her ass, go to AA and move on. Anna is painfully annoying and pathetic. Tom is dick and Scott, Megan’s husband is an even bigger dick. Megan is the only one who is possibly bearable although her past is very disturbing and hey, she’s gone missing. I didn’t care about any of them. I kind of hoped they would all go missing.
I also figured out the big “mystery” really early on. Maybe I was supposed to but it was a bit less interesting after that and only the pace saved it.
Overall if you’re looking for a fast-paced, unchallenging read with a passable story and interesting if annoying characters, this isn’t bad… but it’s definitely more Before I Go to Sleep than Gone Girl.