Monday, February 5, 2018

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window is a tense nailbiter of a read. Anna is agoraphobic and hasn't been out of her house in months - she spends her time drinking merlot, self medicating, and watching classic noir films. It's a solitary existence, broken up by occasional bouts of online chess, sessions with her support group, and therapist visits. She's also a child psychologist, and interspersed with episodes of delirium she shows signs of still being sharp and perceptive, even serving as a moderator for the support group. Anna also has a habit of watching her neighbors through her windows, with her zoom camera, and she's amassed a trove of information about her neighbors, even witnessing the occasional affair.

Everything changes though when the Russells move in across the way. She hears a scream one night, and shortly after sees something she shouldn't have, and has to find a way to make people believe her when she's not the most reliable of witnesses. Complicating the situation is the fact that she feels a connection with Ethan, the son, and wants to protect him from a situation she doesn't understand. Anna doesn't help herself though, continuing to mix her medications with alcohol, and throughout the story I was unsure what was real and what wasn't. Anna seems to have amassed solid evidence of a crime, only to have the police and others find holes in the case she hadn't considered. The question becomes- did Anna see what she saw, or did she imagine it?

This was a page turner for me, and Anna's life was fascinating. The book has a noir feel, no doubt accentuated by the classic film references and the dimly lit townhouse she lives in (she likes to keep it dark). At times I wondered about Anna's reliability, and other times I was with her. I thought the ambiguity and question marks about her story were deftly handled, I had to change my mind about what happened a few times, and there is a plot twist that I did not see coming. All in all this was a solid debut, and has already been optioned for film.

It's a suspenseful read as well, although more of a slow burn than a barn burner. Still I was never bored- many of the chapters are short and punchy, and I was captured by Anna's situation and the obvious signs of something traumatic having happened in her past. There's lots of clues and a few red herrings and it wasn't long before I was hooked. If you want a good thriller to read with a glass of wine and the lights turned low, this is a good choice.

46 comments:

  1. I unfortunately count not completely like this. There was atmospheric writing, but the setting I thought restricted the characters and I wanted to see Anna in "action" investigating this whole thing bc given the ending, I wanted more leading up to it. If that makes sense?

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    1. It does, and even though I never saw that twist coming, I'm not sure it's that realistic maybe? I mean I still liked the book overall, but that was kind of an issue for me if I were to have one, plus what you say- yes I definitely can see that.

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  2. I understand the agoraphobia side of things as I have a mild version of that. I wouldn't go out unless I had to. I like being safe and warm in my book cave...

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    1. Ha ha book caves are good things... :)

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  3. So I may have to check this one out. I've been hesitant because of all the hype and I'm afraid it will fall into the "Gone Girl" category for me. However, I like the noir aspect and will probably end up grabbing this one eventually. Great thoughts.

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    1. Thanks Barb. I liked it, and the noir atmosphere wa nice. When she was drinking merlot (she orders it by the case!!) and watching old movies, I felt like I was watching an old movie!!

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  4. I'm glad to read your review, as I've been hearing a lot about this book. I love the Rear Window parallel and I'll definitely read this if I have time!

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    1. Yes It definitely has that noir feel!!

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  5. I am seeing this one everywhere lately! This does sound interesting, even though the unreliable narrator trope is pretty common these days.

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    1. Yeah it is. Some might say a bit too common. :) Still, I liked this one, and the combination of her drinking/ self medicating plus her old movie thing was fun to read about. :)

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  6. The unreliable narrator aspect seems a bit overdone lately, but I admit I AM really curious about this one. I'm glad to hear you liekd it!

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Thanks! Unreliable narrators can be good or bad, and while this wasn't perfect I really liked it!

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  7. Love that this kept you entertained and you can't beat a slow burn romance and suspense!

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    1. This is true. There was some nice suspense and it definitely kept me entertained!

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  8. I don't usually like Thrillers, but all the elements in this story are things I love. I think I'll add it to Goodreads because you never know. Hmm...

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    1. Yeah you never know! You might like this one...

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  9. I loved this one, even though I also wanted to shake Anna for telling everyone her thoughts without really thinking, hence the "cry wolf" and "crazy lady" themes that took over. Then there were the merlot and meds combinations that made her even more unreliable. But I still rooted for her. Sigh.

    I'll bet one of the plot twists you didn't see coming was the same one that hit me upside my head.

    Love your ending remarks about this being a "good thriller to read with a glass of wine and the lights turned low." Great review!

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  10. Ok, so this sounds like the type of thriller I would enjoy Greg. I'll go look it up on amazon.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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  11. I am really glad you enjoyed it. I sure hope I do too! :)

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  12. I have this one on hold at the library. I’m very excited for it.

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  13. I just finished this. I liked but didn't love it. I figured some things out and had some hunches about others. Kept me interested though but I think the hype may have taken away a bit for me. Great review!

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  14. Oh this sounds like a couple of movies that I've seen with this type of story line. I have Agoraphobia so it always excites me to see that sort of premise in a book or movie.

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  15. YAY!!! I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

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    1. Ooh I can't wait for you to read it!

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  16. I love that it has a noir feel. I'm a little nervous about the unreliable narrator since those are hit or miss for me, but I'm still so excited to read this book. Love your review!

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    1. It really does, loved the atmospheric feel of it!

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  17. I love thrillers and this one sounds SO GOOD. I'm even more intrigued now since you mentioned a noir feel. I need the price for this one to drop or something so I can buy it already. :P

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    1. I know! Too many books! But this one... yeah I loved the noir feel. Her drinking, un reliable narrator, the old movies atmosphere... all good stuff

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  18. Awesome review! I've read good things bout this one and now I want to read it. It's been a while since I read a nailbiter.

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    1. It is kind of a nailbiter, especially at the end!

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  19. I'm hoping this crosses my path soon at the library!

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  20. Oooh this sounds quite interesting. Must be incredibly frustrating for her to have no one believe her- though now of course I wonder if they have reason not to. Also, seems a little rude to spy on your neighbors, just saying haha. Definitely curious, especially with a big twist in there, I love those! Great review :)

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  21. This has a Rear Window feel to it. It also reminds me a little of another book I read: Into the Darkest Corner, although she didn't witness a crime. I loved both stories so this sounds like a win for me. Wonderful review, Greg! :)

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  22. Yes!! This sounds a bit like Ruth Ware meets Alfred Hitchcock and there's no way I can resist it. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  23. The whole vibe of Anna never (or rarely) leaving her apartment makes me think of The Girl in 6E, which is another thriller with a cool premise...although it wasn't executed that well imo. This one sounds much more my speed! I've been really craving thrillers lately, and "nailbiter" is a descriptor that always piques my interest. :)

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  24. Granted I haven’t read this one, but it’s totally giving me a Girl on the Train vibe. A woman who is drinking (to excess?), witnesses a crime, is possibly unreliable, police don’t believe her story or find holes in it... it definitely sounds familiar. Not necessarily a bad thing because I’m still intrigued by Anna and what she saw, and the relationship with Evan. I might check my library for this one. Enjoyed your review, Greg!

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  25. You are killing me! I want to read this so bad but I can't seem to get my hands on a copy.

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  26. This does sound interesting and like a page-turner with the unreliable narrator aspect. Did she really see a crime, or didn't she? Must've been well-written too if it had you flip-flopping sides! Glad it was such a good read!

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  27. I have this book on my shelf waiting for me. I think I need to move it up on my list.

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  28. I was just looking at it in a bookstore two days ago and had my doubts. Thanks for review, I may pick it up next time.

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  29. This sounds brilliant. I am definitely adding this to my TBR. I love an unreliable narrator, especially as she sounds like such an intelligent person whose actions and behaviour cast into doubt everything they witnessed.

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  30. I really liked this one as well, Greg. I thought it was very well done and I loved the references to the old films.

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  31. I'm 100 pages into this but I'm not won over yet :( It's definitely slow burn, which I think is why I'm not loving it yet.
    Glad you enjoyed it! I hope it picks up for me :)

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  32. I loved this one, too. Even though it was a slow-burner, it still felt propulsive to me. I couldn't stop reading! Some people say it's too predictable, but the story line caught me by surprise more than once. I love it when a psychological thriller makes me feel totally off-kilter, wondering what is real and what is not. This debut felt very solid and masterful to me as well.

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