Hmmmm...what to say about Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train that hasn't been said yet? Well, I'm not much of a mystery reader usually, but the buzz about this one was interesting enough to make me think maybe I'd like it. So I picked it up on a whim and what do you know? It's that good and generally lives up to the hype. Win!
The basic storyline is this: Rachel, a miserable alcoholic, continues to take the daily train into London even after losing her job because she doesn't want her roommate to find out how and why she's unemployed. You don't find this out right away; the author has a delicious way of revealing details that click another piece of the plot into place a bit at a time. Anyway, the train takes Rachel past the stop where her ex-husband and his new wife and daughter live--coincidentally in the same home Rachel shared with her ex, Tom. Rachel becomes fixated on a couple a few houses down from where she lived, even giving them names and inventing an entire, perfect life for them. But then the perfect wife, Megan, goes missing and Rachel, either desperate or drunk or a combination of the two, becomes overly involved. A drunken night she does not remember places her at the scene during the time Megan disappeared and an acrimonious relationship with Tom's new wife fuel Rachel's imagination and lead her to interacting with Megan's husband, Scott. But nothing is the way it seems and everyone has something to hide.
If I'm being nitpicky, the biggest problem with The Girl on the Train is that there is literally no one likable in the entire book. Not Rachel, who is a drunk and sorta pathetic all around; not Scott, who is the focus of his wife's disappearance; not Tom, who cheated on Rachel and then married Anna; not Anna, who is self-righteous in her marriage; not even Megan, whose infrequent point-of-view chapters reveal that she has her own problems. I would have liked for at least one person I could whole-heartedly cheer for, but there is no one who is not flawed to the point of being contentious. Still, that does not in any way take away from the mystery and its ultimate resolution. I was turning pages long after my bedtime in order to sort it all out.
I suppose there may be more complex mysteries out there, but this one, even with its unlikable characters, is so well plotted and fueled that I was totally caught up. It's one I have no problem recommending to most everyone, including those who don't normally read mysteries *raises hand*. A very solid 4.75 that I will round to a 5 because I think it's that much of a page turner. Read it for yourself and find out what the buzz is about.