Tag Archives: thriller

Girls on Trains

imageThe 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.

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The Genius of Gone Girl

Maybe genius is over the top for those of you who are much closer to being a genius than I am, so I’ll settle for saying it’s brilliant instead.  There is really no safe way to review this book without giving something away.  It’s one of those stories you have to read for yourself for the pure joy of finding out where it leads you.

It lead me in six different directions at once.  What’s true?  What’s pure fabrication and imagination and delusion?  A wife goes missing on the day of a couple’s fifth wedding anniversary, and the husband becomes the main suspect in her disappearance.  There are as many clues as there are bizarre things I didn’t see coming.  Gotta love a book with all kinds of twists and turns.  In other, better words….

I cannot say this urgently enough: you have to read Gone Girl. It’s as if Gillian Flynn has mixed us a martini using battery acid instead of vermouth and somehow managed to make it taste really, really good. Gone Girl is delicious and intoxicating and delightfully poisonous. It’s smart (brilliant, actually). It’s funny (in the darkest possible way). The writing is jarringly good, and the story is, well…amazing.  Read the book and you’ll discover—among many other treasures—just how much freight (and fright) that last adjective can bear. (Scott Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Ruins and A Simple Plan)

So, yes!  Do read this brilliant book.  You can’t say now that nobody ever told you how brilliant it is.