I was late getting on this train and frankly couldn’t wait for the ride to be over. I didn’t read the book when all the hype surrounding it was going on, hadn’t yet seen the movie, so I didn’t know anything about it except that it was a suspense/thriller in the vein of Gone Girl. Now that I’ve read it, to be honest, I’m a bit disappointed in this one.
Rachel is recovering from a very painful divorce after a heartbreaking betrayal by her husband. She drowns her sorrows in the bottle and is so far into her alcoholism that she has blackouts every time she drinks. She often will wake up with the immediate sensation of having done something terribly wrong the night before but cannot remember what it is.
She is currently living with a friend in Witney (north of London) and takes the commuter train to and from the city every day so her friend will not know she has been fired from her job for drunkenness. Her train route takes her past her old home where her ex-husband and his new wife and baby still live. A few houses down, she often sees another couple outside of their home as the train passes by, and she becomes a bit obsessed with them and with how she imagines their “perfect” life.
On one of her many drunken evenings, she witnesses a scene from her train window that is disturbing to her, especially when her memories only come back to her in small glimpses. She herself recognizes that she is an unreliable witness; however, that does not stop her from involving herself in the police investigation when the woman she has now become obsessed with has turned up missing and foul play is suspected. Rachel is a compulsive liar, however, and that coupled with her own confusion about recent events and her involvement in them creates a muddle in the case.
I was completely stressed out reading this story due to all the unnecessary, ridiculous, and continuous lying going on, not to mention bad choices made by multiple characters. I honestly didn’t find any of the characters redeemable–including the detectives on the case.
I was fervently hoping for the book to end quickly, and when it did, I even found the ending anti-climactic.
I will say that the audio narration was very well done, however, this wasn’t as shocking or interesting to me as I was expecting.