Doubleday | 31 August 2021 | 320 pgs
Source: Library 

I suppose it's natural for us readers to harbour some high expectations after the success of "The Girl on the Train". While this book was engaging, it was indeed 'a slow fire burning' with several unreliable, unlikeable characters and a complicated structure to boot. 

The story opens with a young man called Daniel being murdered in a rented houseboat. He was found by Miriam, a woman who's also staying in a houseboat not far from the murder scene. Miriam told the police that she'd seen a girl leaving from his houseboat earlier, which in turn leads them to Laura who admitted that they'd had a fight but she left before then and she hasn't been in contact with him since. Coincidentally or not, Daniel's mother died from an accident a few weeks ago. She and her sister, Carla, had some complicated relationship from the past which involves the death of Carla's young son. Carla and her husband believed that it was Angela's negligence that had led to their son of falling to his death. As the story progresses, the reader will soon learn that these women are more or less connected to Daniel in some ways, but who would be the murderer and why? 

In a nutshell, unreliable and unlikeable characters, the connections and the complicated relationships among them is mainly the core of this story. I thought the overall plot was pretty straightforward, but the way it executed and structured was a bit confusing to me, in which more or less had concluded my views of the already slow paced story. To be fair, there are enough red herrings and some twists and while the revelations was nicely wrapped up and explained towards the end, I find them fairly passable and left me question the acts of a particular character instead. This is definitely not my favourite Paula Hawkins book but there are readers who loved this though. You'll have to read it and find out yourself. That said, I'm curious what Ms. Hawkins will be writing next. 

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12 Responses
  1. jenclair Says:

    I never read Girl on a Train, and I'm not sure about this one either. I enjoy unreliable narrators, but not unlikable characters.

  2. Kay Says:

    I think I've said more than once lately that I'm getting a bit weary (or more than a bit) of the unlikable characters. Could we not have some 'nice' people that bad things happen to? LOL

  3. Lark Says:

    Why do all the characters have to be either unlikable or unreliable in books like this one? I want there to be at least one character I can root for.

  4. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - I love reading about unreliable narrators, but having them unlikeable as well is a bad combo in my opinion.

  5. Melody Says:

    Kay - Maybe it's a trend in thrillers, I don't know. LOL. Or perhaps we all don't want bad things to happen to good people. :D

  6. Melody Says:

    Lark - As I mentioned to Kay, perhaps it's a trend in thrillers, ha. ;)

  7. Iliana Says:

    I would like to check this one out but from your description it makes me think I would do better with an actual book so I can flip back and forth easily if I get a bit lost in the story. I do like an unreliable narrator!

  8. I returned my copy to the library unread as I have too many other books going at the time but, I still hope to try it at some point.

  9. Susan Says:

    I feel the same way about this one. It's pretty meh. The only character I liked was Irene. Plot-wise, it kept me reading but I wasn't at all surprised by the identity of the killer. Definitely not my favorite Hawkins book either.

  10. Melody Says:

    Iliana - There are some mixed reviews about this book but I do enjoy reading about unreliable characters as they sure add intrigue to the story.

  11. Melody Says:

    Diane - I could relate to that about returning the library books unread. Hopefully you'll get to this book at some point.

  12. Melody Says:

    Susan - I suppose there's always a book that we don't like from our favourite authors. It could be pressurising writing a new book especially if an older book is so successful.

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