A. J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window, might first come off as The Girl on the Train and Rear Window with some agoraphobia thrown in to make it a little more unique. Anna Fox, the book’s narrator, is, like Rachel in The Girl on the Train, a boozer and an unreliable narrator. Anna also has a bad case of agoraphobia that we’re led to believe developed after an accident she, her husband, and their daughter were involved in. This means that like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window with his broken leg, she’s stuck inside with little to entertain her beyond spying on her neighbors–but with a camera instead of Jimmy Stewart’s binoculars.
The Russells, new to the neighborhood, intrigue her the most. At various times early in the book she is visited by all three family members: Ethan, their son, Alistair, the father, Jane, the mother. Things take a turn when Anna is watching the Russells’ home and sees Jane suddenly appear at one of the windows clutching her bleeding chest. I won’t give much more of the plot away besides the fact that, as an unreliable narrator, the police don’t believe Anna when she reports the attack.
There are a number of impressive plot twists along the way, and, while the twist at the end of the book is somewhat predictable, there are several earlier plot twists that were totally unexpected. While The Woman in the Window may contain some familiar parts, Finn builds something surprising and memorable with them.