Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
-excerpt taken from paulahawkinsbooks.com
It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book this compelling. If my life wasn’t so busy I would have had this book finished in a day or two, but because of my schedule it took me four days (still very fast for me). You know a book has got you hooked when you wake up early for church on Sunday so you can get a little reading in before you have to get in the shower.
This story is told mainly from the perspective of Rachel, who rides the train every day and becomes interested in a couple (whom she’s nicknamed “Jason and Jess”) she can see from the window who seemingly have the perfect life, similar to a life she used to have. We learn fairly quickly that Rachel is a drunk. She has been fired from her job for her drinking, and only rides the train every day to make her roommate think she is still employed. She one day witnesses “Jess” kissing a man who is not her husband. Rachel takes this betrayal personally having gone through infidelity in her own past relationship. When she spies her very own “Jess” on the cover of a news article stating that she is missing she thinks she may be the only one who knows about the woman’s lover and should come forward with what she knows.
“Jason and Jess” (whose real names end up being Scott and Megan) happen to live on the same street that she used to live on herself with her ex-husband, Tom, and now the mistress he left her for, Anna. Her interest in the couple she sees from the train oftentimes has her bumping into her ex, his new wife, and their baby more than she already had been (and had been told not to). This does not go over well with her ex’s new wife, Anna, who wants Rachel out of their lives.
Rachel begins contacting Scott to try to help and integrates herself into the investigation. She had been blackout drunk the night that Megan went missing and she can only remember bits and pieces of what happened and desperately tries to remember and piece together the puzzle so she can hopefully help figure out what really happened to Megan.
The book is written originally from Rachel’s POV, but then changes between Megan’s and also Anna’s POV’s as well. The dates are off-set as well, so as you are reading you are finding out what is happening from how Rachel is seeing it as well as what was really going on from the inside with Megan’s side of the story, until you build-up to the end where the pieces finally come together.
I was pleased with how the book was set up. I am noticing a trend with a few books recently where first person POV’s change frequently. It can be confusing but in a way you are able to get more info because you are seeing multiple sides of the same story. This book, unlike others I’ve read that are set up with the changing POV, states at the beginning of each section whose POV you are going to be reading – I really like that because I don’t have to spend any time trying to figure out who is “talking” and can just enjoy the subject matter.
I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars. It is not very often that I read a book that I can’t put down. I really didn’t want this one to end, and I don’t often feel that way. In a way I feel relief at the end of some books just because it will be nice to take a break from a particular subject and move onto something new, but not with this one! I’m wishing I had a sequel to look forward to. I would definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of mysteries, thrillers, and adult fiction.