The much-anticipated second novel by the author of The Girl on the Train. It must be difficult to write after your first novel was wildly successful, a best seller, and made into a movie. But then again, who wouldn't (even secretly) want that for their first novel? So surely you should anticipate it - even just a little, and have a book up your sleeve that's a bit like the first. This isn't.
Lena is the teenage girl left alone after her mother - Nel's - body is found at the bottom of a river that runs near town. Nel's sister Jules who she doesn't know, must now raise her.
There are more people - the detectives, and their families; Lena's friends from school and their parents; the teachers and the principal and all the other usual characters you meet in a small town. In the background looms the town's shadowy watery history - the other women who have had their lives end in the depths of gloom and despair. Are the stories of their deaths accurate? Or was there more to it all?
There was a lot of story and character building, which I didn't mind. There were also a number of points of view - also ok. The tension? Mild, but there, and a steady increase through the pages. I did enjoy the sense of place that Paula Hawkins created - the setting - small town, woodland cottage and river scenery was vividly drawn.
It all felt rather contrived by the end. The author needed enough characters to keep us guessing who murdered, and how. In my view, this muddied the waters too much. The plot, as it unfolded, was satisfying, and I enjoyed the hours I spent reading this book.
You may also enjoy Dead Woman Walking by Sharon Bolton or Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin.