The girl on the train

Paula Hawkins
Random house

Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life as she sees it is perfect, so different to what her own has become.
If only she could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything has changed. Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she has watched from afar. 

 Elizabeth Pascoe
Paula Hawkins has written a thoughtful and well-constructed psychological thriller.

We are first introduced to Rachel, who is the “girl on the train” fantasising about a couple on their balcony as the train  travels past.

Next we are introduced to Megan and then Anna and their respective partners. We learn the emotional  background of all the girls as each has her own chapter.

The rhythm is gentle at first but slowly and surely gathers momentum. The characters become more  complex and unpredictable until the stunning climax.

The book will hold the reader to the very end.

I highly recommend it.  

Tony Harrington
I read this enjoyable murder mystery in one sitting on a wet and windy day. The mood of the book was very appropriate for the weather.

The three narrator characters are not only interesting but also flawed, psychologically and emotionally damaged women.

The plot has all the usual intrigue with a few red herrings, twists and turns.  Lies and deception abound and not knowing or trusting your marital partner is the major theme of the book.

In the end the killer gets what’s deserved. Entertaining 7/10.

John Kleinschmidt
I looked forward to this book, my favourite genre by a previously unread author.

I really liked that the story unfolded through the personalities and voices of the three main characters, each alternating between bitter and twisted and self-righteous in their own way.

Rachel the self-destructive and scorned  alcoholic ex-wife, Anna the jealous husband stealer and the secretive Megan with a dark past.

From the window of her daily train Rachel is reminded of happier times with her ex and imagines the life of a perfect couple in the house next door.

But nothing is as it seems, providing the plot for an absorbing, albeit languid murder mystery. Worth the time to read.

Mary Barber
This is a great book.  Rachel, with her alcoholism, was a flawed central character.

Most of the action takes place around a row of houses backing on to a commuter train line. If you’ve ever looked out a train window and imagined other people’s lives, you will be able to relate to this.

The diary format worked well. It gave me a convincing look at three main characters, Rachel, Megan and Anna and their domestic lives.

There is a murder early in the novel and Rachel is struggling to retrieve her memory of that night, initially worried that she may have been involved in some way.

It’s a page-turner.

Sheila Bryden
If all you’re looking for is a holiday whodunit, then this will fit the bill.  However, if a terrifying, psychological thriller is more to your taste – which is how this book is promoted – then this story is sure to disappoint.  

I found that because the plot was too easy to predict and characters too formulaic, the element of surprise was sadly lacking.  

I expected, and waited for, that heart-racing climax when, with a twist to its tail, all would be revealed, but ended up crying out “but I knew that 20 pages in”.  

Maybe I’ve read too many thrillers.

Jo Bourke
Some initial confusion made me restart this novel. Individual chapters were devoted to each main character (which I liked) but the years chopped and changed. Once I got my head around the time frames, the story gathered momentum.

The characters were skillfully revealed, layer by layer, and Rachel’s ongoing battle with alcoholism was an insight to this addiction. The portrayal of the insecurities and psychological struggles of the main characters was lightened by occasional humour.  It took me towards the end of the book to conclude who the murderer was.

On the whole I enjoyed this book and hope Paula Hawkins continues to write for us.