Attention to Paula Hawkins and her #1 bestseller The Girl on the Train (Penguin/Riverhead; OverDrive Sample) continues, indicating the novel’s popularity won’t peak soon. The New York Times devoted some of its Friday book coverage to the title again, publishing a profile of Hawkins and likening her to “a new generation of female suspense novelists — writers like Megan Abbott, Tana French, Harriet Lane and Gillian Flynn — who are redefining contemporary crime fiction with character-driven narratives that defy genre conventions. Their novels dig into social issues, feature complex women who aren’t purely victims or vixens, and create suspense with subtle psychological developments and shifts in relationships instead of procedural plot points and car chases.”
The Washington Post agrees, pairing GOTT with Harriet Lane’s Her (Hachette/Little, Brown; OverDrive Sample, Jan. 6) and pointing out that both feature “a troubled Englishwoman who takes an almost morbid interest in another person or persons. At first merely voyeurs, the two women soon become meddlers.” The Post reviewer, Dennis Drabelle, finds Her the better novel, deeming it “brilliant” while saying GOTT makes “the reader feel a bit manipulated.”
Another book published nearly at the same time as GOTT, Tim Johnston’s Descent, (Workman/Algonquin; OverDrive Sample, 12/10/14), is getting similar review attention as part of the newest Gone Girl crowd. As we reported earlier, both The Washington Post and NPR give it high praise. NPR went so far as to say that it makes Gone Girl “seem gimmicky and forced.”
Readers’ advisors looking for even more books to pair with GOTT might think back to the 2011 debut literary thriller, Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (HarperCollins; OverDrive Sample) – another twisty and riveting novel about a woman with memory issues (the author’s next book, Second Life is coming in May from Harper). GalleyChatter Robin Beerbower predicts the next GOTT is the just-released The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson, (HarperCollins/Morrow), one of our Nine Titles to Know for the week.
Meanwhile, GOTT continues to gather steam on its own. The Los Angeles Review of Books, known for its literary bent, jumps on board combining an essay on artistic theory with a deep appreciation of the novel. Reviewer Kim Kankiewicz compares the book to Hitchcock, as many reviewers do, saying “nothing replicated my response to Rear Window until I read Paula Hawkins’ debut novel, The Girl on the Train … Hawkins writes as an astute reader of her own genre. She anticipates us as we anticipate her. She confirms our suspicions gradually, and our pleasure in the ending is heightened by what we saw coming.”
Fans of Hawkins can look forward to her next outing. The New York Times profile reports that Hawkins “has another book under contract, a Gothic-tinged psychological thriller about sisters that she says is now a month overdue. Like The Girl on the Train, it’s not a conventional crime story.”