The Woman in the Window
by A. J. Finn
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Length: 429 Pages
Release date: January 2, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
You can hear someone’s secrets and their fears and their wants, but remember that these exist alongside other people’s secrets and fears, people living in the same room.
This book was so hyped-up; I was seeing it all over the blogosphere for weeks and I was so excited to read it. Perhaps my expectations were too high; I liked this book, but I didn’t love it.
The Woman in the Window deals with some heavy issues: substance abuse, agoraphobia, and depression, to name a few, but the overall vibe is still rather fun. Anna Fox, the agoraphobic protagonist, copes with her isolation in two major ways: spying on the neighbors and indulging in old, black and white movies. The story is filled with references to classic Hitchcock films like Vertigo and Rear Window, both in the form of direct mentions as well as similarities in stories.
The Woman in the Window almost feels like a love letter to classic thrillers. If you’ve seen and loved many of these films, you’ll probably eat these references up. If you haven’t, they can start to feel almost excessive, in a way that’s reminiscent of the copious 80’s pop culture references in Ready Player One. (Although I’m not sure any book has quite as many superfluous references as Ready Player One does; let’s hope not, anyway.)
The climax felt a little bit cheesy, albeit probably intentionally so, as it again felt like an allusion to old horror films. And when I say cheesy, I mean there was a grandiose villain speech wherein they explained how/why they had done what they’d done. It felt a bit silly in a way that broke the tension at a point that could have been a truly spine-tingling scene.
There were a couple of major twists in this book, both of which seemed like they had a proper amount of foreshadowing in retrospect. (I suspected one twist ahead of time, and the other seemed obvious to me once it had been revealed.) The Woman in the Window may not shock you, but I can guarantee you’ll have fun reading along to see if your suspicions will be confirmed. Pop some popcorn for this one; it’s a quick roller coaster of a read!
Have you read The Woman in the Window? What were your thoughts? Have you read any other good thrillers lately? Please discuss in the comments!