The reading of this book went a lot faster than the previous one I ploughed my way through, and when I finished it I gave it four out of five stars. Then I read some reviews and was surprised to see so many negative ones. The biggest complaint was its comparison to “Gone Girl” with reviewers saying it either didn’t live up to expectations or that they didn’t like either one since the characters in both were unlikable dysfunctional idiots.
Well, it was full of those, but I liked it anyway. The story is told in bits and pieces by three women. Rachel is an alcoholic who has blackouts and often a less than firm grasp of reality. She has lost her home, her husband and her job and spends most of her time feeling bad about her situation, telling lies and making excuses and riding on the train. She wallows and is unable (or unwilling) to change.
Anna (married to Tom, Rachel’s ex) lives in Rachel’s old house with Tom and their new baby. She is exasperated by Rachel’s inability to let Tom go, her drunken phone calls at all hours and her lurking about, and she fears for the safety of her child.
Megan lives a few doors away with her husband, does not have the idyllic life that Rachel imagines as she observes the couple each day from the train, and has her own set of issues and secrets to deal with. For a short time she helps Anna out when the baby is small. And gets herself up to even more shenanigans, but we don’t learn about that until later.
When Megan disappears, everyone left is a suspect, including Megan’s therapist who was seen by Rachel (from the train) kissing Megan on her deck the morning of the day she went missing.
I can’t count how many times I sighed and thought OMG Rachel, what kind of asinine thing are you going to do next? But hey, it kept me interested and reading right up to the end. There’s a real art to giving out just enough information to get readers headed in a certain direction and then having them find out some new thing that changes their minds.
I stand by my four stars. Even if you figure out the mystery well before the end, it’s still an enjoyable journey getting there.