crime

Book Review: The Girl on the Train

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl. Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies, they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling. A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun. Not the birds, someone else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look at what you made me do.”

Like Southern Rail, I’m only a couple years late on this train journey, but here I am now!

 

The Girl on the Train story starts with Rachael Watson, an alcoholic who takes the same 8.04 train from Ashbury to Euston Station every morning, and the 17.56 evening train back, to convince her roommate Cathy that she is still working, although she was fired three months ago.

And every day, on her train journey, she always stops at Witney, outside of her favourite house – 15 Blenheim Road, a few houses from her old house, where she looks in and sees her perfect, imaginary couple “Jess and Jason” on the balcony.

Everything was going fine, until one day, Rachael sees “Jess” kissing another guy on the balcony, and everything changes for Rachael. Then, the next day, Megan Hipwell (or “Jess”) goes missing, and noone knows where she went.

But Rachael, heavily drunk, was there the night Megan disappeared, and she could sure that she remembered something, but she had another one of her blackouts.

What really happened that night in Witney?

 

Seriously, this was one hell of a train ride! It took me a while to get through it (as I lost all motivation to read), but once I got back into it, I just couldn’t put it down.

I can see why it’s compared to Gone Girl – literally, none of the characters in this book are likeable, which normally I wouldn’t like in a story, but The Girl on the Train is an exception. Everyone has their own little secrets, their own little lies, and even though you couldn’t give a shit about if they all got hit by the 8.04 train, it made it even more exciting to read about their troubled pasts.

This was a great psychological thriller, and I’ll be honest, I couldn’t work out what was real, what was fiction, and more importantly, who did it, until the last fifty pages or so. Which is disappointing, as I worked out the last two thrillers I read… so there goes my flawless run :D

But I can understand why people don’t like this book – after all, if you loved Gone Girl, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to love The Girl on the Train… if not, more. But if you couldn’t physically stand to read Gone Girl, then I’d probably advise giving this a miss.

My rating? 5/5

Book Review: Crime Song by David Swinson

*I won Crime Song in a recent Goodreads giveaway, so before I start my review, I’d like to quickly say a massive thank you to Hodder Books for running it and allowing me the chance to read this book 👍*

Synopsis:

Frank Marr was a former cop in the D.C. police after he was forced into early retirement due to his drug addiction. Now a private investigator, he takes on a case close to home – to spy on his cousin Jeffrey as a favour for his aunt, who suspects that he was dealing drugs. After a long night of surveillance in a nightclub, he returns home to find that his house has been burgled, and his possessions have been stolen – his laptop, his flat-screen TV, his turntable, his vinyl and CD collection and his .38 revolver. At the crime scene, a body has been left on the kitchen floor, and it doesn’t take Marr long to recognise who it is. It’s Jeffrey. In Crime Song, Frank Marr unravels the mystery towards what happened to his stuff (and Jeffrey), taking him deeper into a network of thieves, crooked cops and drug addicts, in a mission which could get him killed.

Review:

Crime Song is different to most crime thriller novels that I’ve read recently. It’s more of a “let’s cut the bullshit out, and get down to BUSINESS”, one man solving a case with virtually zero fucks given. Like some nitty-gritty crime series that the BBC would show (just without 99% of the swearing)

The pacing of this story was really good – everything didn’t happen at once, nor did it become so slow that it became unbearable to read. It was right in the middle and was consistent throughout the entire story.

The main character, Frank Marr, was also easily likeable, despite his flaws, such as his drug addiction and saying ‘fuck’ every other sentence, which was annoying to read at first, but you get used to it eventually.

The side characters were pretty interesting too – even if they have their flaws like Marr, I noticed that I started to feel empathy and anger towards them at the end. I suppose that being an ex-cop himself, Swinson knows about this stuff well, and how good people can get themselves involved in bad situations, and his previous knowledge as a cop really showed in Crime Song.

I think that’s why this book stood out for me – it’s not just a simple case of finding out “who dunnit?”, it actually goes much deeper, and if it wasn’t for exams, I could have easily finished it in a day or two. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and now I need to read The Second Girl in the near future too.

Overall rating: 4.5/5