book review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn


William Morrow, January 2, 2018

It’s easy to see why The Woman in the Window is the Hot New Thing, especially since several elements that worked for The Girl on the Train come into play here. Namely: an alcoholic, unreliable narrator who has information that no one believes, and a fascination-bordering-on-obsession with the couple next door. But I think seasoned thriller fans are going to be disappointed at just how predictably The Woman in the Window unfolds.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I positively devoured this book. I read the bulk of this more-than-400-page book in one day. It’s compulsively readable, the chapters are short, and it keeps you on your toes. But for me it was one of those things where I got to the end and was like, ‘that was it?’

This was a sort of mixed bag of predictability for me. There were two main twists – one that admittedly shocked me, and one that I saw coming virtually from page one. But for the most part, The Woman in the Window relies heavily on tried and true thriller formulas. It’s plenty twisty and addicting, but, entertainment value aside, it doesn’t really have much to contribute to the genre.

The other thing that I found virtually insufferable about this book is how the author felt the need to insert his opinions about film noir and old thrillers onto just about every page. We get it, A.J. Finn, you’ve seen a lot of movies. This did absolutely nothing to further the narration, and resulted in a pretty ham-fisted attempt to force a Hitchcockian vibe onto the novel, which would have been altogether stronger without this heavy-handed comparison to Rear Window being shoved in the readers’ faces.

Bottom line: reading this was a fun way to spend an afternoon, but it’s been a week since I finished it and I’m already forgetting characters’ names, so that’s not a particularly good sign for this novel’s lasting impact. I won’t go as far as to dissuade others from reading this, especially if you’re curious about the book that may very well end The Girl on the Train‘s reign as the most oft-referenced psychological thriller, but I think it’s a good idea to go into this with lowered expectations. It’s entertaining but underwhelming.

Thank you to William Morrow and A.J. Finn for the advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

18 thoughts on “book review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

  1. “…the need to insert his opinions about film noir and old thrillers onto just about every page. We get it, A.J. Finn, you’ve seen a lot of movies…”

    Reminds me of why I hated Ready Player One.

    Good for you for not equating “I read this in one day” with “I really liked this.” Just because a book is readable that doesn’t mean it’s good. Often, it’s the opposite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read Ready Player One but that pretty much solidifies that I’m not going to. It’s just so obnoxious when it’s done in a way that doesn’t complement the narrative at all.

      I have no problem at all with being subjective in my ratings and saying ‘guilty pleasure read, 5 stars’ if a book calls for that kind of assessment, but this book wasn’t even quite on that level. And I have no doubt that its very high Goodreads rating right now is down to its readability. Which is fine, but I think it’s one of those things where the rating is going to drastically drop once it’s published (today), because readers are going to approach it with unrealistically high expectations.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Too bad about the fact that the book wasn’t memorable. I didn’t even love Girl on the Train that much, mainly because of the alcoholic, unreliable narrator aspect. I much preferred The Woman in Cabin 10, it had similar themes with Girl on the Train but more unpredictable, in case you haven’t read that one! But after reading your review of The Woman in the Window, I don’t think I’ll be picking it up 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was sort of ambivalent about The Girl on the Train – it was entertaining enough but left me with a similar ‘meh’ feeling overall. Also it annoyed me that I called the twist so early and it didn’t offer many other surprises, and then The Woman in the Window ended up being the exact same experience.

      I actually have a copy of The Woman in Cabin 10 that I grabbed from the free shelf at the library – I was thinking about reading it soon but this makes me even more excited to get around to it!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Excellent, I can’t wait! I love a good psychological thriller that’s actually worth the hype. I’ll check out your review and definitely post my own when I get to it! (Adding you on Goodreads, too!)

        Liked by 1 person

    • I’d still suggest checking out The Woman in the Window – I don’t regret reading it by any means, it was super quick and fun, just…. not quite worth the very excessive hype.

      I haven’t read The Wife Between Us yet but I’d love to!


    • Ooh, I’ll be curious to see what you think of that! In general I’m sick of dystopias but willing to make exceptions if I hear really good things. I went with As Bright as Heaven for BOTM literally only because I’ve been craving historical fiction lately.


  3. Nice review! I’m glad to have read this, because I have a hold at the library that I’m waiting on. It still sounds like something I’ll enjoy, but I’ll probably enjoy it more if I go in with lowered expectations. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I definitely hope the lowering of expectations helps you enjoy it more. It wasn’t bad by any means, just a bit… not worth the insane amount of hype.

      (Also, knowing that you’re a feminist as well, I think the whole #cinebro vibe to the narration is going to really rub you the wrong way…. so prepare for that!!)

      Liked by 1 person

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