March 5, 2018

Book Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

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.

At about the 75% mark, I gasped out loud and my mouth hung open for a minute.  "Whoa, whaaat?" I exclaimed to the otherwise empty room.  And then furiously debated whether to reread the entire book up until that point, only to decide in favor of pushing forward to the finish in order to find out what happens next.  Really, that's all you need to know. 

A.J. Finn doesn't try to hide his influences - As soon as the reader is introduced to agoraphobic Anna Fox, the film noir references start rolling in, with a particular emphasis on Hitchcock. The title and description immediately recall Rear Window. The title also neatly fits into the proliferation of "girl" thrillers (Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train) but now, thankfully, the protagonist has matured. She has graduated to a "woman."

Three previous works kept coming to mind when reading The Woman in the Window: The Girl on the Train, Rear Window and Vertigo. Despite these heavy influences, however, my ever-changing theories about whodunit and why did not bear fruit. Yes, many elements reminded me of something I've read before or seen before, but my mind was still blown and I can definitely say, "I did not see that coming."

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