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The Girl on the Train

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'Really great suspense novel. Kept me up most of the night. The alcoholic narrator is dead perfect' STEPHEN KING

Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.

Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.

Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

From Publishers Weekly

10 November 2014 – Rachel Watson, the principal narrator of Hawkins's psychologically astute debut, is obsessed with her ex-husband, Tom. She's having a hard time putting the past behind her, especially since she confronts it daily, during the hourlong commute to London from her rented room in Ashbury, Oxfordshire, when her train passes the Victorian house she once shared with Tom. She also frequently spies an attractive couple, four doors down from her former home, who she imagines to be enjoying the happily-ever-after that eluded her. Then, suddenly, the woman, pixie-ish blonde Megan Hipwell, vanishes only to turn up on the front page of the tabloids as missing. The police want to question Rachel, after Anna, Tom's new wife, tells them that Rachel was in the area drunkenly out of control around the time of Megan's disappearance. Hawkins, formerly deputy personal finance editor of the Times of London, deftly shifts between the accounts of the addled Rachel, as she desperately tries to remember what happened, Megan, and, eventually, Anna, for maximum suspense. The surprise-packed narratives hurtle toward a stunning climax, horrifying as a train wreck and just as riveting.

Customer Reviews

Best book I’ve read … and I’ve read a stack of good books

No spoilers in this review.

Okay, here's a bold statement. This is one of the best books I have ever read. After gaining a degree in English language and literature, and publishing books myself - that's perhaps a strange statement to make. And, weirdly, I agree with all of the one star reviews too. The characters are not in the least bit likeable, the person 'who done it' stands out like a beetle on a white rug from an early stage, but these things, for me, are unimportant.
I'm not interested in the "oooh ... who could it be ...?" dangling like string in front of a cat, for 400 pages, a handful of suspects, wanting me to attempt to spot the least likely person ... to put them in the frame ... that would be dull, dull, dull.
What I am looking for is verisimilitude: that sense of reality, in the deftness of description, the desperate and genuine human frailty of the characters. I got all that and more.
Okay, confession, I have travelled those lines into London now and again, and perhaps that has made me biased as to the realism, but, confession over, I have so many other things I love about this book.
Weirdly motivated by pet hates, here is what I love: I loath over description - in every seen, the author picks out the 3, sometimes 4, occasionally 5 most important aspects of the scene and describes them in a fresh way: from "boiling frogs in reverse" (you may need to read Chris Argyris to get that one) to the silence "stretching out, filling the space between us", to "the familiarity of walking upstairs and knowing which one is going to creek." I could go on and on. Whereas most authors will trot our cliche's of "lump in throat","jolt of electricity" etc etc, Hawkins pretty much avoids (okay, couple of instances at most) these throughout the book.
Next point, dialogue. I HATE dialogue that relies on "blah blah blah" she replied, "Meh Meh Meh," He contradicted, sarcastically" - lazy, lazy, lazy and in SOOOO much fiction. Hawkins? None of this. I counted only one or two "he said", "she saids." And what that gives you is the author's voice not interfering with what's going on, you feel the scene, feel the characters and for this, Paula Hawkins, I applaud you.
What else? The frailty of the human condition .... not many will like Rachel, many will pull their hair out at the things she does ... but anyone who's know pain and has ever developed a pattern of drinking, will taste the possibility of being Rachel and that's where the genius lies. You shouldn't relate to her character, but somehow you do. You want her to move on with her life, yet understand that she can't and for better or worse (probably worse) she won't. And I wanted so desperately to see where that led her.
Very few books make me forget my surroundings, this one did.
A yes, and pacing. You know those books where it takes four pages for someone to relay an unimportant experience and then the pivotal point happens in just one paragraph and you are left disorientated and out of reading rhythm .... none of that with this book, it's genuinely one of the most skilfully paced books I've read.
And lastly ... dialogue realism. Have you every read those books where either each character talks in the same way - that's really just the author's voice - or they talk as ridiculous caricatures ("Officer Maloney, pass me another donut!") well ... every word of dialogue in this book was believable and that's a MASSIVE achievement.
Oh, I could go on, but who wants to read a thousand word review?
A message to Paula Hawkins, don't be a Harper Lee: Write more books!! but don't rush them for a multi book deal, we'll gladly wait for another piece of brilliance.


An easy read with a predictable ending.


Average read. I didn't find it to be a page-turner. Felt abit long winded...
It's a 'decent' book to fill time.

The Girl on the Train
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  • £0.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Crime & Thrillers
  • Published: 15 January 2015
  • Publisher: Transworld
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings