Books: The Girl on the Train

Imagine it’s post-Labour Day, your dock days are finished for 2015, and you’re back on Go Transit commuting between Union and Oakville on Lakeshore West. To cut the daily boredom you spy on the striking couple oft caught lounging on the terrace of a railside suburban semi — let’s call them Jason and Jess. Except today Jess is not there, and tomorrow you’ll read there’s been a death…

The Girl on the Train keeps you guessing ‘til it arrives at its final destination.

That’s precisely the scenario of author Paula Hawkins’ first thriller, The Girl on the Train, an unpredictable Hitchcock-ian whodunit set along the rail lines of suburban London. It’s told by an equally unpredictable lead character, Rachel Watson, a woman teetering on sanity’s edge. The story is as much a study of the ravages of career, commuting, failed marriage, and Rachel’s battle with her own demons, as it is a gripping search for the killer of Jess.

Hawkins, a former journalist, goes deep into Rachel’s psyche, a place that’s not always full of light. There’s a tad too much of Rachel’s woeful introspection as she rides the train; the character is deeply flawed — over and over again Hawkins drives home that point.

Still, there’s no doubt the author’s storytelling is compelling. Despite Rachel’s overdrawn flaws, The Girl on the Train keeps you guessing ‘til it arrives at its final destination.

But don’t wait ‘til you’re back on Go Transit next fall to pick up this book. It’s a worthy summer read —  an addictive dockside page-turner.

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