The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the TrainThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a very well written mystery with a vivid cast of characters, including an unreliable drunk as the amateur sleuth. Frankly, I loved it! The characters were thoroughly messed up and complex, the use of unreliable narration was well handled, the mystery was compelling enough to keep my attention, and the unusual structure appealed to me. The novel is basically written as a series of monologues by the three main female characters, so that it almost feels like you’re reading their diary entries, and the chapters are divided into morning and evening sections to mimic the average commuting schedule of the train that plays such an important role in the story. Mostly, though, I can’t stress enough how great the character work is. These people are royally screwed up, and some of them turn out to be truly awful people even when you feel bad for them, but they are believably complicated and their faults remain relatable. (Not counting the killer’s, of course.) I guessed whodunit long before the end, but I don’t blame the author for that. I’ve read, studied, and written enough mysteries myself to recognize the tricks Hawkins employs. Ultimately, this novel reminded me of GONE GIRL and DARE ME in the best ways. Highly recommended for readers who like mysteries, thrillers, and incredibly well drawn character studies.

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