Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

4 “Which Flawed Character Did It?” Stars.

Alcoholism, adultery, jealousy, and murder are the undercurrents that define this psychological thriller. The main premise is that a woman goes missing and every character is flawed such that any of them could have done it, but who is ultimately responsible?

Told from multiple perspectives and time periods, The Girl on the Train will keep you guessing, even if you fail to genuinely like any one of the characters. In the end, I had correctly solved the culprit by about 3/4 of the book, before the undeniable clues were revealed, so while the suspense was intriguing, it was not unsolvable or even as twisted as it could have been. All that said, this psychological thriller made for an interesting change of pace from my normal romance reads/listens.

One thing I will note for the audiobook enthusiasts is that while I was ultimately able to listen to the second half of this story, I found it much easier to read the beginning in order to better understand the setting and characters. It was not that the narration was bad–quite to the contrary–the narrators did a good job of acting out the emotions and bringing the characters to life. However, I felt that I needed a better familiarity with the characters before I was able to rely solely on the narration. To that effect, the fact that each chapter in the print version of this book had the name of the character’s POV being shared at the top of each page, and the date of the viewpoint at the beginning of the chapter, made it infinitely more helpful given that three different British females’ perspectives were being shared in alternating chapters and non-chronological time periods which take you back and forth in time.

All in all, The Girl on the Train is worth a read or listen, but be prepared not to really like any of the characters. The Girl on the Train is really more a story that will exercise and refine your sleuthing skills, although in the end it only really offers up only a moderate amount of difficulty in the suspense scales.

Source: Library-copy.