Monday, January 15, 2018

Review: The Woman in the Window

Summary: For readers of Gillian Flynn and Tana French comes one of the decade’s most anticipated debuts, to be published in thirty-six languages around the world and already in development as a major film from Fox: a twisty, powerful Hitchcockian thriller about an agoraphobic woman who believes she witnessed a crime in a neighboring house.

It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .

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. Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls the best of Hitchcock. -- William Morrow

I know we are only halfway through the month of January, but I'm pretty sure that THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW by A.J. Finn will be one of the best psychological suspense novels that I will read the entire year. I was super-excited to read this book after hearing all of the buzz about it at last year's BEA, and it's definitely worth all of the fuss. I even loved the story behind the author. (In case you haven't heard, A.J. Finn is a pseudonym for a William Morrow editor... and no one even knew that he was the author of the book until after they acquired it!)

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW tells the story of Dr. Anna Fox, a psychologist who is suffering from agoraphobia. It's obvious to the reader that something happened to trigger her inability to leave her New York City home (however, it's not clear until later in the book as Anna's complicated past is revealed). Anna takes lots of pills and drinks a lot of red wine, and she entertains herself by watching classic mystery films, playing on-line chess, and (get this!) spying on her neighbors.

One day, the Russells move into a nearby house, and Anna is intrigued by this seemingly happy family. And then one night while looking out her window, she sees her new friend bleeding with a silver object sticking out of her! Anna tries to help, but she is unable to get to the house because of her agoraphobia. When she tries to tell the police what happened, they aren't too sure what to make of this strange woman. Truth be told, she isn't exactly the most reliable of narrators!

If you regularly read my reviews, you might be surprised to see me raving about a book with an unreliable narrator. I tend to get frustrated by this method of storytelling (maybe that's because I read a lot of thrillers?), and I rarely find it done well. However, the character of Anna, while being one of the most unreliable of narrators, is superbly written. I will admit that, like the police, I seriously doubted her and questioned her sanity; and there were even times I thought she was responsible for everything suspicious in her life.

But the author's ability to create a convincing unreliable narrator is just the tip of the iceberg about what I loved about this book. Everything is just so good... and the story is so well written! The mystery itself was outstanding... and I rarely say that. Of course, I'm a bit biased because I wasn't able to figure out everything and managed to be very surprised with the ending. And even though I started to suspect a few things and even figure out on plot twist, I still think the author manipulated me in a perfect way. I seriously loved all of the twists and turns!

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is definitely reminiscent of a Hitchcock thriller from days long ago. (In fact, there are even some nods to classic Hitchcock movies like Rear Window, Vertigo and more!) The story itself will keep you on the edge of your seat, and you won't be quite sure who or what to believe. However, the book is only the beginning for this story. The movie based THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is already in development at Fox, and I absolutely can't wait to see who they cast in the major roles!

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is an outstanding novel of psychological suspense, and it's a must-read for fans of books like GIRL ON THE TRAIN and GONE GIRL. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

Everyone is loving this book. I think I'll read it next!

Kim@Time2Read said...

I saw this one earlier and the synopsis didn't really grab me. But after reading your review, I am reconsidering. I think I am going to add it to my list.

The Book Sage said...

I've seen this around quite a bit. I'm glad to see it's as good as the buzz. You may also want to try Dark Associations by Marie Sutra. It's her debut novel, and it's very good. It's also a psychological thriller.

Angela said...

This sounds like a great book. I wish I wasn't such a wimp about thrillers because there are so many that have plots that sound fantastic. But I read one once and I couldn't go in a dark room for days afterwards!