As Rachel rides the train every day for work in an alcoholic haze, she keeps a look out for “Jess” and “Jason,” whose backyard the train passes by. Jess and Jason are often outside sipping coffee in the morning or wine at night. It’s clear to Rachel that this is the perfect couple — the type she and her ex-husband used to be before their marriage broke apart spectacularly.
Meanwhile, her ex-husband lives right down the street from Jess and Jason. He’s married now to the woman he left her for, and now with a daughter. For Rachel, the perfect couple is the fuel that feeds both her anger toward her ex-husband, and her unquenchable thirst for the alcohol that blurs the pain.
One day, Rachel sees a different man in the backyard with Jess, and it’s clear they are intimate. Soon after, she sees a picture of a woman who has gone missing. It’s Jess. It turns out that Jess and Jason are actually Megan and Scott, and their lives are far from perfect. The police are focusing on Scott, suspecting him of murdering her and hiding the body.
Knowing that there is more to the story (the other man), Rachel feels compelled to go to the police. But will they believe her, given her booze-soaked lifestyle? There is far more to this story and Rachel just can’t let it go, allowing herself to be sucked into a complex case of a missing woman. A thrilling, suspenseful, and fast-paced choice for book clubs.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Riverhead Books, 2015.