Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ray's Reviews: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Hope to Die by James Patterson

        If you’re really ready to lose some sleep – here’s a quick look at a pair
of recent thrillers that offer tense suspense.
        One marks the first American debut by a relatively unknown author while
the other is the latest novel by a worldwide bestselling writer.
        “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead, $26.95) is a
gripping, compelling thriller that starts out slowly but builds to a
frantic and frenetic pace.
        Mostly set during the summer of 2013, there are scenes that take place
earlier and flashbacks from different perspectives.
        The highly entertaining novel is told from three female viewpoints,
frequently focusing on Rachel, a divorced,  depressed alcoholic who takes
a commuter train every day, even though she has no job.
        The train slows down in front of a group of houses at the same time daily
– Rachel sees an idyllic couple breakfasting on a porch and fantasizes,
remembering what it was like to be in a loving relationship.
        One day she views something different – and it changes her attitude
        Megan, the woman of the idyllic couple, has her own insights and secrets,
as does Anna, a young mother who lives nearby, married to Rachel’s
ex-husband Tom.
        It gets a lot more complicated from there as Rachel struggles with
alcoholism and has blackouts; after she goes to the police with her
suspicions, the pacing speeds up.
        The reader doesn’t know who to trust – all of the narrators have their
own dark secrets.
        Already optioned for a film, this dark and moody thriller has many
carefully coordinated, surprising plot twists. Hawkins is off to a great

        “Hope to Die” by James Patterson (Little Brown, $29) is the latest
action-packed thriller starring Washington D.C.’s top detective Alex
        This is the long-awaited sequel to “Cross My Heart’ which ended with a
tense cliff-hanger.
        Cross’ family has been kidnapped by Thierry Mulch - a madman who
threatens to kill them one-by-one unless his twisted demands are met.
        Mulch is obsessed with the study of the psychology of a perfect criminal
and wants to turn Cross into one. The determined detective faces many
challenges as the body count rises.
        Patterson is in his usual fine form with another suspenseful, exciting tale.

        Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.

Find these books and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent 
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.

Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan

This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on February 15, 2015.

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