I’ll be blunt: if this is as good as crime fiction gets these days, then I won’t be reading any more.
I might be a little unfair in saying this and perhaps it’s my annoyance as I was a third of the way through the book as I saw advertising for the same novel in a shop which gave a completely false impression of the main character’s role in the story. I wondered how the official publisher’s advertisers could get it so wrong and mislead the public – haven’t they read the book themselves? If not, that says it all!
Even so, I persevered with Hawkins’ story and came the closest I’ve been for a long, long while to thinking the reading time was a complete waste. It just stayed on the right side of that hence why it is a two-star and not one-star rating I’ve given.
The book is essentially a ‘whodunnit’ but alas it is obvious all the way through that it can only be one of two characters. One of them I desperately hoped would be the killer because that would have been a really interesting direction to explore but it is the one character Hawkins doesn’t even attempt to stitch up as a red herring. The other turns out to be the killer and it was both obvious and far too unbelievable to really feel the novel succeeds. You have to swallow a lot of nonsense such as heavily repressed memories to buy into it.
This might be forgivable if the characters themselves had any redeeming features but not one of them – including the ‘girl on the train’ herself – has anything of interest about them which is actually good. It’s one thing to create ‘flawed’ characters which helps make a novel realistic; it’s another to simply make them miserably naff.
The only redemption this book has is that it is short and light. It doesn’t take long to read and it won’t tax your heart or your mind. If you’re looking for thriller-porn then it might take your fancy otherwise I’d spend your time and money on something else instead.