Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn

Summary: Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems. (Summary and pic from goodreads.com)

My Review: I loved the premise of this book. First off, these exciting crime novels with fun twists and easy-to-read plots and action are just a lot of fun. Who doesn’t love a good pot boiler to break up the serious literature? Or even quench your thirst for some real drama instead of just the dramadramadrama of chick lit? Come on. You know you soared through Girl on the Train like it was nobody’s business. Even if that wasn’t the best book written of all time, it was still exciting and compelling. I think this book is on that same wavelength.

Agoraphobia. It’s fascinating. It’s debilitating. It’s heartbreaking. It’s all the things. I’ve heard of agoraphobia, I’ve heard of people who are “shut ins” (I think I’ve encountered a few in my life, but I don’t know for sure that they qualify to the level of agoraphobia). I was not aware of the actual mechanics of agoraphobia, and this was a very real-life and interesting look into what agoraphobia is like and how it affects someone. I heard Finn interviewed about this book, and he apparently went through a period of depression that manifested itself through agoraphobia and so he was writing this from his own personal experience. It felt that way, too. The pain and the debilitation felt authentic and realistic, which I think was key to pulling off this novel. It didn’t feel like a shtick. It felt like the real deal.

So from the summary you can see that there is a woman who is trapped in her house due to agoraphobia that was onset due to a traumatic situation. Her whole world is observed from her home. And then she witnesses a murder. I cannot tell you how awesome this premise is. Well, ya know, not that I like people being murdered…erm…anyway. So she’s limited in what she can see, and yet she sees a lot because she has learned to be so observant from the limited viewpoint she has. I think one could make an argument that she actually sees a lot more than many people on the outside do just because she is so observant, and is also left with only so much to observe. This makes her acutely aware of the neighbors, their comings and goings, etc. There are many twists and turns in this novel, and like any good mystery thriller, the plot turns and twists in ways that make even the reader uncertain. Which is awesome. In this case some of the plot turns are more obvious than others, and I wouldn’t say that I was surprised all the time, but I was certainly joyfully taken aback when something would happen that I wasn’t expecting.

I don’t want to give too much away because I think this is a book that is fun and quick-moving. It’s interesting and challenging, but in a way that is the perfect thing to cuddle up with on a dark and stormy night. It’s not a huge commitment, but it’s certainly worth the short amount of time it took to read it, despite the fact that it’s a decent-sized book. I read it in just a day or so. I love books that make me look forward to them. If you love crime and mystery thrillers, this is one you should definitely check out.

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book has some language, drinking, sex, and murder. However, I would say that it is on the lighter side for its genre. I would give it a PG rating. It is not clean, but it not overwhelmingly offensive or gratuitous.

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