Doubleday | 31 August 2021 | 320 pgs
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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