Unashamedly influenced by Alfred Hitchcock films, this bestseller and debut novel reads like the script of the dark psychological thriller film it will become. It is easy to see why there have been over a million copies sold.
The 'woman in the window' is an agoraphobic who spends her days watching her neighbours through her window. When she's not doing that she's watching Alfred Hitchcock films. There are plot similarities and comparisons littered throughout and in this respect some of the twists are predictable. But not all.
The opening sets the scene of this disturbed woman: what she sees, what everyone is up to in their mundane lives in a typical street. This part is too drawn out. There is nothing exciting in watching people have dinner, go to work and watch television with the added weather report. The first few chapters are dreary.
Then, as expected, the woman sees a murder take place in the house opposite. Being unstable and practically an alcoholic on a serious amount of medication, no one believes what she sees. From here, the story takes off.
The pace is jolted from pedestrian to sprint. The first person narrative keeps us in her fuzzy head as she tries to figure out what is going on, are the conversations real, are the people real or is everything illusion.
The suspense is taut, with coping strategies set out by a psychologist adding an extra layer of tension. The writing is effective with good use of repetition and not too many adjectives. This book kept me gripped into the early hours. And, despite the parallels with the Hitchcock noir, I didn't see the end coming.
There is nothing new or original in this book, but if thrillers are your thing, this one comes highly recommended.
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