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

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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.