Rachel takes the same train to London every morning. When the train stops at set of signals she looks into the houses that back on to the tracks. She pays particular attention to one house and its residents. She imagines the life of the couple whom she calls ‘Jason’ and ‘Jess’ who seem very much in love and happy. But one morning she sees something that shocks and upsets her. This becomes important to Rachel when ‘Jess’, real name Megan, goes missing and ‘Jason’, real name Scott becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance. Rachel now has a reason to become part of their lives and tell the police what she saw. But how reliable is she as a witness, and are there other reasons she wants to be part of their lives.
I have to say that I picked up this book with trepidation as most of the people in my book club didn’t like it. It seems to be a book that people either love or hate. I have to say I loved it. I thought it was well written and, pardon the pun, it picked up momentum as it went along like a train.
Rachel is an interesting choice as the main narrator as she is an alcoholic, with an active imagination. This gives the narrative an unreliability so you are never sure what she says is true or a figment of her imagination. There are two other narrators; Megan, who goes missing, and Anna, who is married to Tom, Rachel’s ex-husband. Through Megan we get he back story and he events that led up to her disappearance. Anna gives a different outlook on Rachel’s character and what Rachel was like before her divorce.
This book has a smoke and mirrors effect, you’re never quite sure who or what to believe as all the characters have hidden agendas. There are plenty of twists and turns with a brilliant conclusion. I only hope the film is as good as I am going to see it with my daughter next week.