The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Release Date - January 2015
After a chapter or so of The Girl on the Train, my first impression was: "Who cares?" I honestly did not like the main character, Rachel. She's a mopey divorcee who's lost her job and does little more than drink till she blacks out and annoys her ex-husband's new wife.
Rachel spends her days traveling into London on the train so that her roommate doesn't figure out that she is unemployed. During the trip, the train almost always ends up stopping near a the home of Jess and Jason, a couple about whom Rachel has made up elaborate stories about them being the ideal couple. They also happen to live near Rachel's ex-husband and his new wife.
One day, Jess, whose real name is Megan, disappears. She happens to have gone missing at the same time Rachel was spotted near her ex-husband's home. Rachel was drunk and feels she knows something, but the events of the evening are all part of Rachel's latest drunken blackout. Rachel's determined to know what happened, even if it means ticking the investigators off and becoming close to Jason, whose real name is Scott. For all Rachel knows, Scott could have killed his wife, and Rachel could be putting herself within arm's length of a killer.
I really didn't like Rachel, yet I found myself hooked in this story. It's one of the rare books that drew me into story, despite my dislike of many of the characters. The setting is brilliantly portrayed. I've been on the trains in and out of London, and they can be tediously long rides, so I get the boredom that leads to creating stories for the strangers you see outside the window. I know my kids and I have done that while waiting in traffic or in a parking lot waiting for someone to come out of the bank or store.
The murder mystery probably ended up being the most disappointing part, unfortunately. I figured out the killer far too early. It simply seemed obvious to me. That said, the trip getting to the conclusion was still worth every minute.