We get off to a rousingly suspenseful start when she spies through her window into the apartment across the street the neighbor woman engaging in an affair just as her husband reaches the front door. Nobody gets shot because hubby drops his briefcase and the furtive lovers scramble to escape detection. Maybe the stage is set for a just-in-time rescue.
Then the book drags. We watch Anna drink too much, abuse pills, use a telephoto lens to spy upon the family which has recently moved in across the park, and telephone her husband living out of state. Gillian Flynn’s plug on the cover, Astounding. Thrilling. Amazing., should have been the tip off to another unreliable narrator, just as in Gone Girl. The big revelation comes about three-fourths the way through the book and it’s a shock.
But before then Anna sees a woman, presumably the mother of the teenage boy in the new family across the park, stabbed to death. At the time, Anna was blitzed on her cocktail of alcohol and antidepressants. When the police spot her condition, they don’t believe her. Rightly so since there is a perfectly healthy woman living in the mysterious house, who is clearly the mother of the boy and married to the irritable, overbearing father. The youngster drops in on Anna and is most pleasant, though nervous as if hiding a dark secret. Anna takes to him, but both parents threaten Anna over her continued snooping and insist that she have no contact with their son.
Anna begins to doubt what her own eyes have seen. The police return and reassure Anna on multiple visits that nothing has happened, nobody has been killed, and the woman living nearby is quite healthy. Of course, something has — otherwise there would be no point to the book.
This is a thriller that everybody will be reading and will undoubtedly become a successful movie. It is at times a fascinating look into a world of drugs and depression, but I can’t really beat the drum for it. Not that it’s bad, it just became predictable.
The writing is witty and sharp, though at times it is difficult to fathom whether Anna is reminiscing, dreaming, or thinking aloud to herself. I suppose some stream-of-conscious confusion is required in modern fiction. Or maybe I don’t concentrate enough. The ultimate dénouement is a bit of a disappointment. I guessed it.
Woman in the Window is a modern adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock movie, Rear Window with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly. Jimmy is trapped in his apartment because of a broken leg and has nothing to do but spy on neighbors and suspects a murder across the courtyard. Perhaps Finn is making a joke—Anna is a film noir movie fan, including Hitchcock. Sometimes we even hear dialogue from the movie that’s playing and get confused over who exactly is talking and which film we are in.
I think I’ll write my next book about a guy who used to be a cop, who gets dizzy every time he climbs a tall building. He’s also in love with a gorgeous woman who has vanished. Oops, that’s been done hasn’t it? That’s Vertigo. But I could call it The Man in the Tower.
Steve E Clark as seen in the New York Times is Author of Justice Is for the Lonely and Justice Is for the Deserving, Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense. You can purchase his books via SteveClarkAuthor.com/BuyBook or request it at your local book store. Want to know more about Steve Clark, read more reviews or speak directly with Steve? Learn more about Steve at SteveClarkAuthor.com