Wednesday, March 07, 2018

First Wednesday Book Review Club: WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, A.J. Finn


This is one of those books that I expected to like more than I did. The setup is good. A female psychologist is suffering from agoraphobia and is unable to leave her house. Her family has left her due an incident that takes a long time to be revealed. She drinks too much, takes drugs, watches old noir movies and watches her neighbors ala Rear Window. There is one family, in particular, she becomes involved with. If I tell you much more, I will ruin it. There are a lot of twists, the writing is fine.

But here are my problems. 1) a man wrote this book and the female did not quite ring true as a female 2) it felt very calculated-- the kind of book that does not feel like it has risen from the author's psyche but instead from the author's wish to succeed 3) it felt like a movie script more than a novel.

Now if you liked GIRL ON A TRAIN, you will probably like this. Phil did but he knows what he is getting when he picks this kind of book.I am always expecting a bit more than gets delivered. I am not really in it for the twists and turns. I am in it to watch a character achieve some end. Anybody get this?

For more reviews, see Barrie Summy.

9 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

Interesting you felt a bit 'distanced' from this one, if that's the way to put it. As you say, though, the story does have an interesting premise. Hmmm....

George said...

Some of my friends who read WOMAN IN THE WINDOW had the same reaction you had. Too calculated.

Lucy said...

I think men sometimes write women as they'd like us to be. It does sound like an interesting premise though. Thanks for reviewing.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

This is exactly the kind of "unreliable narrator" bestseller that I avoid reading.

I'd rather watch the real REAR WINDOW.

Stacy said...

With all of the thrillers out now that have a female narrator who drinks heavily, yes, twists and turns aren't enough to make it stand out. I will probably pass on this. I need something character driven as well.

Thanks for the review.

Barrie said...

I do know what you mean. When you say "calculated," do you kind of mean the book didn't feel "organic"? That what it sounds like to me. I love a good mystery, but I am, ultimately, interested in character. Thank you for reviewing!

J F Norris said...

Calculated is a kind word. We used to say contrived.

I had the same problem with THE CHALK MAN which I think is one of the worst examples of plagiarism in years. Rehash and rewritten Stephen King plots so unabashedly stolen from King -- with no attempt to disguise it at all -- that it's astonishing a reputable publisher accepted the book.

Powell River Books said...

I find it hard to write reviews about books I didn't really enjoy. Each reader finds something different in a book either through expectations or relating it to their own personal life experiences. There are so many books available, I always try to find ones I enjoy. - Margy

troutbirder said...

Contrived into a enigma without believable characterizations doesn't work for me either. Besides I often have to go back and reread a chapter to figure out who's who...