The Woman In The Window is the first novel by American author, A.J.Finn. Doctor Anna Fox is a shut-in. She’s a child psychologist, she’s thirty-eight years old, but she’s also agoraphobic, and has not set foot outside in ten months. She lives alone; her husband, Ed and eight-year-old daughter, Olivia are in regular contact but away somewhere, for reasons that are only gradually revealed. A tenant in the basement maisonette looks after tasks like groceries and minor repairs, but keeps to himself otherwise. Her only other human interactions are weekly visits from her therapists (mental, physical). Oh, and there’s Punch, the bad-tempered cat.
When not busy online (chess, French lessons, or “consulting” on Agora, a help forum for agoraphobics), Anna spends her days watching old black-and-white movies from her extensive DVD library, or documenting the lives of her near neighbours with her Nikon D5500 camera and its powerful Opteka zoom lens. She notes the arrival of the Russell family (dad, mom and lanky teenaged boy) as they move into the vacant house across the park. Young Ethan drops in a gift from his mom. Nice boy. And his mom, Jane comes to Anna’s assistance when some local teens vandalise her house. She likes them both immediately.
When Anna looks out one evening and sees Jane apparently stabbed and bleeding in the Russell’s parlor, she calls 911. But things go badly awry with her attempted rescue, and by the time her claims are investigated, there is no body and Anna is not believed. But she knows what she saw! Except that it is soon apparent that Anna’s eyewitness account may be less than reliable: she’s depressed, on a bunch of medications and also drinking quite a lot more wine than she admits to her therapist. And many of those movies she immerses herself in are of the Hitchcock genre. Could she have imagined it all?
Finn fashions his tale with splendid skill. The clues are carefully dropped into the story, as are the red herrings. As some of the twists are revealed, they confirm niggling doubts the reader has formed about certain aspects, but this page-turner is so cleverly constructed that even the most astute reader is kept guessing right up to the heart-thumping climax. The characters are easily believable, and Anna’s doubt and confusion is well portrayed. This is a truly impressive debut novel, and it will be interesting to see what this talented author does next. This uncorrected proof won on GoodReads Giveaways