The Woman in the Window
by A.J. Finn
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Synopsis from Publisher:
What did she see?
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbors. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
“In suspense fiction, female characters—even those with starring roles—spend a lot of time fretting about men, or relying upon men, or generally orbiting men. This, I think, is one of the reasons why Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Amy Dunne of Gone Girl made such an impact: Like many women, they’re more than a match for the men around them. The heroine of my novel is a mess, and a mess largely of her own making; but I’ll say this for her: She pursues an inquiry, unravels a mystery, and tests her limits, all without the help of a man, or indeed anyone. She might not be as crusading as Salander or as controlling as Amy Dunne, yet she’s no damsel in distress.” -A.J. Finn
This quote from the author is the best way to start this review. The main character, Anna Fox is a disaster. Her mental state is questionable at best and she has dependency issues. Despite this or perhaps because of this, I was drawn into her story. Once she realizes she must resolve this mystery on her own she is unstoppable and resolute. The Woman in the Window is a well written, vivid, vintage mystery with a modern twist.
An agoraphobic, Anna Fox is confined to her home in NYC. Her only contact with the outside world is through internet use and watching her neighbors from her home. One day Anna sees a crime that terrifies her and turns her already troubled world upside down. We join Anna as we she tries to solve a mystery while trying to maintain her fragile sense of sanity.
Anna Fox is my favorite type of main character; she is unreliable. You are not sure if you can trust her or her actions. You have to weigh her thoughts and actions against her circumstances. Along with being unreliable Anna kind of annoyed me (in a good way), but I also cheered for her. I wanted her to overcome her agoraphobia and solve the mystery. In the above quote from Finn, Anna is compared to Amy Dunne of Gone Girl and I do see the similarities. While I never really liked Amy Dunne, I still cheered for her, I felt the same about Anna.
Finn’s writing allows the reader to understand Anna’s agoraphobia. Finn describes her fears of the outside world and the circumstances that lead to her current situation. Although she annoyed me at times, I also felt sympathy for her. I understood the crippling affects Anna suffered due to this illness.
In the background of this story, old black and white mystery movies play out like a soundtrack. Movies like Rear Window, Vertigo, Gaslight, and my personal favorite Rebecca. Like TWITW these movies do not have an intricate conspiracy theory at the core of the plot or a lot of dramatics. Instead they are suspenseful and full of uncertainty.
I enjoyed this book and found it very hard to stop reading. Finn is flawlessly able to create a story infused with elements of a classic Hitchcock movie into the modern world. If you take away the cell phones and other modern conveniences mentioned throughout the story, you would be left with a classic mystery tale from the era of Agatha Christie or Daphne du Maurier.
**Thanks to William Morrow for my review copy**
Murder and Moore Rating:
5 out of 5 Stars.