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.
Title: The Woman in the Window
Author: A.J. Finn
Publisher: William Morrow and Company
Source: Book of the Month
Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a good mystery/thriller, the last one being The Girl on the Train. It’s not my go-to genre, but every once in awhile I need a little fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat read. And boy, did this one deliver.
The unreliable female narrator seems to be a common trope in fiction these days, but it makes the story that much more interesting when you can’t trust the main perspective. Anna Fox has some serious substance abuse issues as well as severe agoraphobia (she never leaves her house), but as her backstory unfolds, it’s easy to see how she came to be the way she is. I found myself judging her, pitying her, and rooting for her all at once.
Anna is an alcoholic, severely agoraphobic woman who obsesses over the people in her neighborhood, and more specifically, the Russell family next door. She watches them, takes photos of them, and envies them from afar. One day, while heavily intoxicated on alcohol and pills, she witnesses something across the street. The rest of the story revolves around her desire to prove to herself and the people around her that what she saw actually happened, even though the evidence piles against her. Nobody believes that she saw what she claims she did, and she doesn’t even know if she can trust herself.
It took me a few chapters to actually get into the book, since the very beginning was all about establishing her lonely and monotonous way of life. Once the plot actually began, I couldn’t put it down. This book is fast-paced and twisty, and will have you second-guessing yourself the whole way through. While it wasn’t anything unique or groundbreaking, it was very well-written and kept me turning pages until late in the night.
I did find her constant classic movie references and rapidly changing thoughts distracting, but I think that was sort of the point. Understanding her mental and psychological struggles allowed me to become engrossed in her perspective and the situation that she was in.
(Side note: Why is it trendy to put Woman/Girl in the title of thriller books? There’s The Girl on the Train, The Woman in Cabin 10, The Woman in the Window, Gone Girl, etc.)