karen's Reviews > The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
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oooh, goodreads choice awards semifinalist for best debut AND best mystery & thriller 2018! what will happen?

so, add my name onto the long list of superheroes who are conflicted about their powers, moaning about how alienating it is to have superhuman abilities, how it is truly more curse than boon.



because i have emerged from two weeks of debilitating illness physically enfeebled, but with a new power, like john smith in The Dead Zone - i can now call all of the twists. not one or two, but all. of. the. twists.

and this does not please me, or make me feel superior or smug. in fact, it’s kind of like a little magic went out of the world.

that’s not to say i didn’t enjoy this book - it’s a chewy psychological thriller with a good instinct for pacing and a juicy, if familiar, premise. basically, it’s Rear Window where agoraphobia is standing in for “broken leg,” and with another layer of unreliable narrator smooshed in by pretty much grabbing that drunk voyeur lady from The Girl on the Train to be the main POV narrator - a wine enthusiast on many prescription pills who cannot leave the house and whose main tether to the world is through the internet (which we all know to be the purest reflection of humanity), and spying on her wealthy neighbors through the zoom lens of her camera, when one night she witnesses a woman being murrrrdered; a woman she’s met and tentatively befriended, a woman she is told, after reporting the crime, simply does not exist.

already, it’s got great bones, and i understand why this is being hyped up as THE book of 2018. for a debut, it’s very impressive - the claustrophobia of trauma-based imprisonment is palpable, and the narrator’s love of classic films adds to the fraught atmosphere where references and scraps of dialogue blur the real/fantasy line from the constant background presence of something hitchcockian flickering on her laptop. and even the reveal/withhold ratio is well-maintained, for those of you whose high fevers and persistent hacking coughs have not left you with advanced sensory perception.

it’s a microwave popcorn book - fast and satisfying and buttery-slick, with SO! MANY! POPS! OF! SURPRISE! and even if you call every one of them, it’s still a satisfying treat.

now i am off to brood some more about my magical burdens.

come to my blog!
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Reading Progress

October 10, 2017 – Shelved
December 6, 2017 – Started Reading
December 6, 2017 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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Nadine Jones LOL at the Dead Zone reference!! I read that back when I was young and impressionable and for years I wondered if it could really happen ...


karen i'm here to tell you that IT CAN


message 3: by idiffer (new) - added it

idiffer for once I can say smth positive about my brain regarding books, and that is - I almost never see the twists coming. even when I have a prediction, it's negated by the ever present thought "But what if I'm wrong???" So if my prediction comes true, it still comes as a surprise.
Welcome to the superhero life, karen-chan.


karen sigh. i do not like! i used to be like that - i might sense something off while reading, and figure out a thing or two, but there were two books i read during this illness where i figured out maybe half of the twists, and this one - there's like FIVE or something, and i knew them all. it's the worst power ever - it only affects myself and i don't even get the satisfaction of a good smash.


message 5: by idiffer (new) - added it

idiffer I can only comfort you by saying "well, you're just that smart"


Amy (Other Amy) I hate it when I can tell the twists. So sorry you've picked up this power. Really seems like one should get something better from extended illness and pain.


ॐ Pixie i wish your superhero power was sending hot buttery popcorn over the interweb as i have a real hankering now. thanks for that ;)


message 8: by Lena (new)

Lena Glad you feel better Karen Twist Catcher.


message 9: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike "microwave popcorn book"!!!

That was clever, Karen. Very clever!!!! Great review and sorry your powers of perception were a magical burden this time.


Rachel I'm super impressed you called..... that one twist. The first big one, I guess. I neeevverr saw it coming but now I'm wondering if I am just super obtuse. But I did get the rest! A slightly less burdensome superpower, only calling 90% of the twists.


karen i'm better now, so my only superpower is being really sleepy.


Jenny  Baker I can't wait to read this! It sounds like a cross between The Lady Vanishes and The Woman in Cabin 10 in addition to your other references.


karen i still have to read the cabinlady book. i wasn't impressed with her first, but i keep buying her books because covers are pretty and i am weak.


message 14: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie So glad I don't have a "picture-perfect family" - seems to be a recipe for murder!


karen yeah, it's totally a red flag, dysfunction is a shield from murrrrderrrrrr


Deanna great review!!


Ceecee Brilliant review 👍


message 18: by Mary (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mary Bowman I am "reading" this via Audible and wish I hadn't wasted the credit. The overwrought narrator is ruining any value this predictable book might have had.


Rachel Loved the popcorn reference. Great review!


message 20: by Bruce (new) - added it

Bruce Wilson I just read a review in Entertainment Weekly and I immediately thought of Rear Window. I'll see if I can find it the next time I go to the library.


Tamara Definitely a cross between Girl on the Train and Woman in Cabin 10. Had me rolling my eyes a bit there. The one key difference is I actually *liked* Anna, and had sympathy for her. That raises this book above the others I mentioned, imho.


message 22: by Alex (new) - rated it 1 star

Alex the only murder happening with this book is mine, as this narrator and the overwrought, endless descriptions of everything are actually killing me


message 23: by Anne (new) - rated it 3 stars

Anne When can we have “Boy in/on...” books? I’m so over these girls in cabins and on trains and in windows....


Lauren Sweenor Agree! I can call every twist in every book like this now. I feel sad about it! Still enjoyed the book though.


message 26: by lucky little cat (last edited Feb 08, 2018 02:48AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

lucky little cat Alex, your comment makes me so happy. I'm not alone in my pain. Think I'll go glug a gallon of wine to celebrate. Karen, I adore your reviews and this one's one more gem. I'm so envious of your superpowers & writing prowess that I will now proceed to unwittingly glug another two gallons of wine to kill the pain. But I know you saw that coming. . .


karen my powers are waning....


lucky little cat Nah, I don't believe it. Yer writing superpowers will NEVAH wane. They get a daily rigorous workout :D Yer AlltheTwists Ultra-Prescience will flag only in the presence of outstanding writing. E.g.,Rivers of London series = Total TwistVision Baffler.


message 29: by Bii (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bii Yes! I guessed them too! I read a book recently that used the same twist, so I was suspicious from the start. Also, if one starts watching a lot of Poirot and Miss Marple with her mother, it's common to look for the most unexpected person.


Alexandra i've also been able to guess at everything that's happened so far. it's still creepy when you find out that you were right, but i'm definitely not shocked or blown away by this book so far. hopefully the ending will wow me? idk. this is the problem with reading hyped books


message 31: by Selva (new) - added it

Selva Subramanian Loved the review! Hope u r soon cured off ur superpower :)


message 32: by Donna (new)

Donna I have not read it yet (not sure I will). But it seems c'mon that this story has been done to death. Im thinking not only of Rear Window, but also Night Watch which starred Elizabeth Taylor. And they still get raves as though it was something original.


Ellie This book had a lot of hype around it, just like The Girl on the Train, and just like that book I found it really boring and already guessed what was going on before the end. Why are people writing all these books about women who drink too much and see things they can't remember, only to be unreliable.


message 34: by William (new) - added it

William Thank you for the review!


karen thank YOU!


Jackie Schwartz Thanks for the review! I found the book very predictable but it was entertaining and I couldn’t help but love the las character!


message 37: by Ali (new) - added it

Ali advocate nice very nice book thanku for this book


message 38: by Kat (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kat I completely agree.


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