I wanted to read Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train before the movie came out because I didn’t want the story spoiled like Gone Girl had been for me. I really enjoyed the movie Gone Girl but I couldn’t get interested in the book, because I knew what big twist was right around the corner. The Girl on the Train was an excellent and extremely fast-paced mystery, tangled with damaged humanness. Hawkins is masterful at suspense and mystery by continually throwing Red Herrings into your path and presenting you with a narrator you’re not sure you can trust. This is what really made The Girl on the Train so compelling for me: the main character was completely believable. Though her circumstances might have been totally abnormal, Rachel’s character as deeply flawed and imperfect, create a unique and compelling vantage point to start the mystery.
I also enjoyed the changing perspectives from the various – mostly women – in the book. In a mystery novel, it’s always exciting to be able to see how different characters are interpreting different scenes: you get to act as the detective, piecing evidence together as you go along. Hawkins’ style itself is engaging and quick-paced; it changes just slightly with each character, to allow even more depth and development.
An underlying theme in the novel is domestic violence and abuse, both emotional and physical. Hawkins – through the voices of Rachel, Megan and Anna – intelligently and poignantly portrayed the often unclear, grey, confusing situations victims face.
Overall, an excellent read for anyone who likes contemporary mysteries in a fast-faced style.