3/5 stars. While I loved the idea behind the story, the concept felt stretched and contrived in places.
I loved the idea of sitting next to a stranger on a train, only for that person to die. Okay, this is a psychological thriller, so it’s unlikely to be an accident or suicide, no matter what the police and coroner say. But it gives the main character, Anna, a chance to dig around and follow the poor girl’s trail to find out why she might have died.
Being a journalist, Anna has a nose for a story and her own baggage to carry. As she slowly unravels the mystery, she finds out a lot more than she bargained for.
This is where I felt the story lost momentum and began to feel a little contrived. A past trauma that provided some of Anna’s motivation to investigate was referred to so many times, I wondered whether the author was trying to convince me or herself. And though the author tried really hard, the latter stages of the book stretched credibility a little too far.
The flow of the story was also spoiled by more similes than you can shake a proverbial stick at, often three or four on a page. These constant similes jumped out and jolted me out of the story, which is a shame, because it’s well written and constructed, with a concept I really liked.
Everything points to suicide – but I saw her face…
Headstrong Journalist, Anna Rothman, knows what suicide looks like – her own husband killed himself five years earlier. When Elly Swift, an agitated passenger beside her on a train, leaves a locket in Anna’s bag before jumping onto the tracks, Anna starts asking awkward questions. But everything points to suicide and the police close the case.
Anna, however, believes Elly’s fears for Toby, her young nephew, missing since being snatched from St Stephen’s church six months ago, fail to explain the true reason behind Elly’s distress. Through a series of hidden messages Elly left behind, Anna embarks on a dangerous crusade to track down Toby and find Elly’s killer.
But nothing is as it seems and Anna opens a can of worms that throws into question even her own husband’s suicide – before the threads of the mystery converge in an astonishing conclusion.