Rachel takes the same train every morning and evening, the train pausing at the same spots on the tracks as it passes through neighbourhoods. She feels like she knows the people that she spots on their balconies, getting a glimpse of their life twice a day. One day, when she sees the familiar woman kissing a man that’s not her partner, and then sees on the news days later that the woman has now gone missing, Rachel feels inexplicably compelled to tell someone what she saw.
It’s only a week into the new year and I’ve already pushed this book to several of my friends who enjoy a good mystery thriller. The Girl on the Train was a pleasant train-wreck (heh.) of a story. Told from three women’s perspectives, different aspects of the mystery unfold as the unreliability of some of them start to reveal itself. (I couldn’t stop describing one of the characters as a “hot mess”) Hawkins also plays with the timing of events in the POVs, sometimes revealing the aftermath only to go back to what lead up to it later on in someone else’s chapter. I found that while there were some of the narrators that were more compelling than others, the ones I had initially deemed bland ended up taking an interesting turn in the plot.
While there are many novels since the popularity of Gone Girl claiming to be “the next Gone Girl“, this book truly does evoke a familiar feeling. It delves into some darker aspects of human behaviour, the characters are flawed and the story is twisted. Hawkins keeps you wondering what’s going on far into the novel and it certainly left me wanting my own commute on the train to last longer so I could keep reading.