- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins - GB; ePub edition edition (29 November 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0008234183
- ISBN-13: 978-0008234188
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.9 x 19.8 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 331 g
- Average Customer Review: 190 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Woman In The Window Paperback – 29 Nov 2018
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A.J. Finn has created a captivating character in Dr. Anna Fox - our protagonist. She suffers from agoraphobia resulting from a devastating incident that has significantly damaged her. She mixes alcohol with her medication and spends her days looking out her windows at her neighbourhood.
Actually she spies on them, taking pictures with her camera. Making up names and backstories where she does not know the truth and keeping careful watch of what they all get up to. A new family moves in and Anna starts watching them as well.
One day, she hears a scream coming from the Russell's house, and she sees what she thinks could be a crime. But looks can be deceiving, especially if the watcher isn't exactly sober at the time, which is the police's attitude. Did Anna really see what she thought she saw and, if so, why are the Russell's lying?
This debut grabbed me from the first page, held me captive throughout. And if you love a book that is patient and slowly reveals itself to you before shocking you then you will love ‘The Woman in the Window’.
Okay… Good stuff. Our heroine, child psychologist Doctor Anna Fox, has agoraphobia which means she cannot go outside her house without having a panic attack. Anna’s condition creates an atmosphere of isolation (always a great trope in thrillers) without actually placing her in the snowbound cabin in the woods. The writer also gives Anna a background that would credibly give her the phobia.
Anna’s days, isolated in her own house, are spent talking to others with agoraphobia online, playing chess (also online), and watching old black and white crime/mystery movies. Oh, and she also pops pills like lollies, drinks copious amounts of wine, and photographs her neighbours without their permission.
The movie references are great. Anna basically solves most of the mystery plot by rewatching scenes from her favourites. AJ Finn overall borrows heavily from the plots of the movies Anna watches, especially Rear Window, Vertigo, Shadow of a Doubt and Gaslight.
Now… Less than good stuff. The plot twists were obvious. There’s two major ones, I suppose you’d say, and I guessed them both by the first third of the book at least. *yawn*
Talking of yawning… The next thing I have to complain about is Finn’s annoying habit of making objects make weird sounds with his tags. Every window and door, for example, ‘yawned’. It felt clever in the first couple of chapters but after that it just got on my nerves. Less is more.
Next complaint is about the romantic subplot. Or lack thereof. I could tell the writer was a man from the gratuitous sex scenes which were not only oddly placed and paced, there was actually zero need for them. Awful, awful, awful.
My final whinge is the length of the book. I might have had more love for the book if it was half its size. Really, there is no way this book should be so long. There are patches where nothing happens or, alternatively, places where it felt like Anna/Finn was repeating themselves over and over. Scene after scene of boring dialogue and/or Anna’s thoughts. I know enough about sleeping pills to even be tempted to take one just to numb myself from the tedious patches of writing. If I'd been editing, I’d had advised cutting the book size.
I suppose, overall, the book is readable and I can imagine it will make a good movie. But it’s nothing original and the writing style was not the best.
I would probably not rush out to read Finn’s next offering.
2 out of 5
There are many sub plots in this story. You have to decide which ones are dead ends. Good luck with that. There are lots of twists throughout the book and when you think the story is making sense there is a twist.
The story does start off slowly as AJ sets up all the sub plots. Then round 40 per cent the story gets going. It continues at a fairly frenetic pace to the end. The final twists are unexpected but have been lurking there all the time.
This book deserves to be a best seller. I am not going to say it's perfect but it is about damaged people so it's never going to be precise. Just enjoy the ride.