I went into this almost completely blind, and it was all the better for it. The comparisons to other, more famous, entries in the women’s suspense genre that has been all the rage over the last couple of years (Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, Big Little Lies, etc.) were reason enough for me to pick it up. I love a good thriller, especially one that keeps me guessing. And this certainly delivered.
The plot itself is straightforward and instantly recognizable to any fans of the genre. Vanessa has been cast aside by her Prince Charming of a husband for a newer model, and her emotional state is precarious, to say the least. She is obsessed with her ex, the new fiance, and their relationship at the expense of her own health and emotional well-being. And yet… maybe things aren’t exactly what they seem.
In fact, I spent much of the early going of the book smugly certain I knew exactly where things were going, and while I wasn’t wrong exactly, I was delighted to find that there was so much more than meets the eye. The book is divided into three parts and each creates a deeper level of understanding of all the characters, most especially Vanessa, our narrator. Vanessa’s reliability is constantly in question, which is why I was so certain I was reading a Girl on the Train knockoff. And while the book clearly has many similarities, I thought that the way in which Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen explore Vanessa’s state of mind thoroughly engrossing. Her tendency to flashback and revisit certain events drew me in, and I found myself empathizing with her shifting perspective on her own situation. The storytelling made it easy to place myself in her shoes even though my own background and situation could not be more different. I was so wrapped up in the story that I tore through it over the course of an evening and a bottle of wine.
The bottom line is simple – if you enjoy “Gone Girl” or “The Girl on the Train” you will find much that sounds familiar, and also much to enjoy.