Published by William Morrow ISBN 9780062678416
Hardcover, $26.99, 448 pages
In A.J. Finn's spine-tingling debut psychological thriller The Women in The Window, Anna Fox sits in the window of her Harlem townhouse watching her neighbors. We learn that she is an agoraphobic and hasn't left her home in ten months. Her husband Ed and eight-year-old daughter Olivia no longer live with her after an incident that has been hinted at, but Anna remains in contact with them.
She rents out the basement of her home to David, a young man who helps around the house in exchange for reduced rent, and Anna gets her groceries delivered by Fresh Direct, and her many medications delivered by the pharmacy. As long as they keep bringing her meds and cases of Merlot, Anna can make it through the day (usually drunk).
She plays chess online (and usually wins) and dispenses advice on an agoraphobic message board. For entertainment, Anna watches old black and white movies, heavy on the Hitchcock thrillers.
Anna has little physical contact with the outside world until the day a new family moves into the neighborhood- a husband, wife and teenage son. Anna can see inside their home and becomes fascinated by them, even more so when the son and mother stop by separately to see her.
Like Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock's "Rear Window", Anna witnesses something amiss at the new neighbors and is drawn into a situation she is unequipped to handle.
The Woman in the Window is a pulse-pounding, heart-stopper of a book. Like blockbusters Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, our protagonist is unreliable. Anna is drunk much of the time, and so what she tells the reader cannot be trusted. The addition of her agoraphobia heightens the tension of the story, and Finn does such a great job making the reader feel the anxiety of her illness.
Finn also unspools important information about Anna a little bit at a time, so that reading The Woman in the Window is like putting together pieces of a puzzle. We learn how Anna got to be where she is, and although the reader may guess a few of the mysteries, the last few chapters of this fast-paced story surprised me, and at one point I actually gasped aloud.
The Woman in the Window is sure to be a bestseller, and fans of both Alfred Hitchcock movies and Agatha Christie novels will be love it. I liked it better than Gone Girl and The Girl On The Train. I heard all about this book last spring at the Book Expo, and you'll be hearing a lot about it in 2018. It definitely lives up to the hype, and I read it in one sitting, unwilling to put it down.