Rachel is an alcoholic. She rides the train in London every morning and late afternoon, usually drinking cans of gin and tonic. She lives in a bedroom she rents from a friend. She's in her early 30's, divorced, and fired from her job months ago for being drunk and insulting a client. Her friend doesn't know she's unemployed because Rachel always leaves the house every day to take the train.
Rachel takes the train past her previous life--the one where she was married and living in a home with a garden that runs up to the tracks. She passes her home every day, noticing her ex-husband's new wife and baby. She also notices the house a few doors down, and the man and woman who live there--Jason and Jess, as she calls them. Gee, they seem to have a perfect life.
Rachel is a mess. She has blackouts and can't remember anything that happened. The drinking ended her marriage, and she can't get past the fact that her husband Tom had an affair and finally divorced her because of her drinking. She just wants her old life back.
But then she sees something one day while on the train that changes her perception of Jason and Jess and their perfect life. And she wakes up one morning with dirt on her hands, bruises on her arms, and a bloody wound on her head. What happened the night before? The last thing she remembers is getting on the train to go to Witney to talk to her ex-husband. What happened afterwards? How did she get home? Just how drunk was she?
This is a roller coaster of a novel. Do you trust such an unreliable narrator? Is she really being honest with herself, and you? Oh, it gets good, and it gets crazy. All I will say is that you need to read it all in one sitting, if you can. It's hard to put down, because Rachel is (pardon the expression) such a train wreck. But you can't help it--you stick with her. As well you should.
That is all I will say. Read it.
Rating: 8/10 for an effectively messed up narrator, a chilling look at suburbia, and a twisty ending.
Available in hardcover, e-book, and audio.