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The Woman in the Window
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Archive - Group Reads > Woman in the Window, The by A.J. Finn - April 2018

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message 1: by Gem , Moderator & Admin (last edited Apr 25, 2018 08:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gem  | 1250 comments Mod
Hello fellow Crime, Mystery, and Thriller readers! This discussion is about The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn and your hostess is Erica.
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Information about Spoiler Alerts

Please note that our discussion can be about any and all aspects of the book: The theme, plot, story structure, characters, settings, etc. It is likely the discussion will contacts spoilers from the start. If you have not finished the book, be careful not to read the posts of others until the end.

Feel free to use spoiler formatting, instructions are in the upper right above the comment box.
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The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Summary

Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times . . . and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
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message 2: by Erica (last edited Mar 28, 2018 10:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erica | 46 comments Hello everyone!
This is my first time hosting a group discussion so bear with me. I am not a native English speaker so I apologise my grammar mistakes.
I would like to ask you that for the first two weeks if you could please mark the spoilers clearly, so people who haven't read the book yet are able to skip those parts in the discussion thread.
I just got my copy from the library and I'm sure there are loads of people that haven't got too far with the book.
Can't wait to start the book and have a lively discussion about it.
If you have already started reading this book, what do you think about the main character? Likeable or not? Annoying? Easy to understand her fear of not leaving the house?


message 3: by Erica (last edited Apr 09, 2018 02:31AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Erica | 46 comments Anyone sees any similarities to the book *Girl on the train*? Similar kind of titles, main character likes the drink, nobody believes you when you see something etc.

I like the writing style of this book, it kind of flows easily. So I predict this will be a fast read for me.

I got as far as the end of chapter 12 yesterday if you have read that far then carry on reading if not then SPOILERS AHEAD.

Anyone finding the neighbours (Russell's) kid kind of creepy? I don't know but I got a bit of odd feeling about him. You know when he said his bedroom is facing hers. Maybe he knows she is watching them and other people.


Angel I'm new to the group and was glad to see this book was nominated. I just finished it and I thought it was a great novel. I couldn't put it down. The ending surprised me! I haven't read *Girl on the Train* yet so I can't compare.


Aditya | 1865 comments I will start with it soon, been a longtime member of the group but I seldom join in the monthly reads. I was looking for new authors to read and this one caught my attention as the blurb mentioned similarities to both Gillian Flynn and Tana French, both of whom are damn good IMO. So hope more people will participate in this thread.


message 6: by Gem , Moderator & Admin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gem  | 1250 comments Mod
I can't wait to start it, probably mid month.


message 7: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) | 1767 comments I can’t wait to read that book


Abba (aalwan) | 2 comments Hi everyone,

I'm new to the group and hope to start reading The Woman in the Window soon. As others have noted, it sounds similar to Girl on the Train, which I listened to the audiobook a few months ago. If you haven't read/listened to it, I do recommend it.

Anyway, can't wait to dive in!


Linda (beaulieulinda117gmailcom) | 1186 comments Welcome to the group. I haven't started it yet but hoping to soon.


Diane Mcclure (dmccluredvm) | 127 comments Welcome Abba! I agree with you. This book does sound like the Girl on the Train which I enjoyed. I just got the audible version and will be getting started today.


message 11: by Aditya (last edited Apr 02, 2018 12:17PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Aditya | 1865 comments Finished it. First impressions - not bad but over-hyped. Say compared to something like Gone Girl, it is just not very smart.

There are three main twists - the first one is a twist mainly because the author intentionally hides a fact in a very heavy handed way, it does not work.
I guessed the second twist - the identity of the victim.
The final reveal - the identity of the killer is very generic. There is no insight into the mind of the killer, no motivations to dwell upon, for a psychological thriller it feels anticlimactic - the main culprit just turns out to be another psycho.

My review https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

PS. I can however attest watching old noirs while drunk is a very good habit. I have been doing it for years, though with vodka for company not red wine. :)


Nerdy Octopus | 2 comments Finished this a couple days ago and had some time to mull it over.

I’m a little partial to noirs so those being prevalent through out the book made me smile.

I liked it. I liked the authors writing style and how they depicted pain. The loneliness was so relatable it made me ache.

While predictable in some ways it kept me guessing in others. I’m on mobile and can’t figure out spoiler tags so I’m going to keep it vague for now.

Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts!


message 13: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) | 1767 comments I finished that book yesterday and it was very good


Gunjan Gupta | -14 comments Aditya wrote: "Finished it. First impressions - not bad but over-hyped. Say compared to something like Gone Girl, it is just not very smart.

There are three main twists - the first one is a twist mainly because ..."


I completely agree with you. Book is okay but over-hyped.
First twist was somewhat obvious and second twist was all about dropping lot of hints but the final twist about the killer was obvious.
More over I feel that there were couple of loopholes in the story.


Aditya | 1865 comments Gunjan wrote: "More over I feel that there were couple of loopholes in the story."

I felt that too, how every time cops will think Anna is a delusional drunk, her reaction would be to get even more drunk. And that time when she shares personal details to a particular online friend out of nowhere felt completely forced.

Nerdy wrote: "Finished this a couple days ago and had some time to mull it over.

I’m a little partial to noirs so those being prevalent through out the book made me smile.

I liked it. I liked the authors writi..."


I love noirs too, but I felt he was more like piggybacking on them rather than paying a homage to them.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) I read this last month for a buddy read and really enjoyed it.

At one point, I thought I'd get whiplash from the plot twist!


Nerdy Octopus | 2 comments Excuse formatting, on mobile.

Aditya, I agree with the piggybacking. But I did enjoy the use of them in the book.

I did feel it was a little like “I totally like old movies, see?!” It felt like an incomplete theme.


message 18: by Sania (new) - added it

Sania | 19 comments Starting this today!


Donna Mehta | 1 comments I read this book last month. I liked it. It kept me engaged and wanting to know more. I definitely wanted to read until the end.

However ...SPOILERS...

I didn’t find most of it even remotely believable. I can often suspend my disbelief to enjoy a good story, but here I found it distracting. I liked the parallels with noir movies; that added to the fun factor for me. But I didn’t buy it that nobody would believe a thing she said, I didn’t believe the cops would just dismiss her out of hand, I didn’t believe she would just open the door and let openly hostile people she barely knew come in and terrorize her. And what was with the vaguely creepy tenant who just disappears from the book?

Additionally, my audiobook version came with an author interview clip in which he basically says that once Gone Girl came out, and serial killer stories were no longer en Vogue, he knew he could write a book like that. Knowing he was trying to copy Gillian Flynn left a sour taste in my mouth.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Gillian Flynn could only hope she could write a book that good.


Aditya | 1865 comments Kirsten wrote: "Gillian Flynn could only hope she could write a book that good."

I don't agree. I am not going to argue all her books were great but Gone Girl was eons better than this. Even accounting for the fact it was Flynn's third book while this was Finn's debut, I don't really think Finn has the potential to top Flynn though I would be happy to be proved wrong as more good thrillers, the merrier it is.

Nerdy wrote: "Excuse formatting, on mobile.

Aditya, I agree with the piggybacking. But I did enjoy the use of them in the book.

I did feel it was a little like “I totally like old movies, see?!” It felt like a..."


GR App sucks, still no option but to use it..btw what is your favorite noir? Mine is Double Indemnity, you really can't go wrong with Raymond Chandler.


Missy | 1 comments I finally have my copy. I’ll probably start reading tomorrow.


message 23: by Patricia (last edited Apr 07, 2018 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Patricia Dusenbury | 32 comments I'm halfway through. At first, I found it hard to get into and the short, short chapters annoying. But I kept going, and am now thoroughly engaged. I hope this keeps up, and I'm holding off reading other comments because I don't want any spoilers.


Nadine Vansant | 46 comments Somewhere 1/3rd of the book and feels like "the rear windows" or something likely (there are other films like this). Hope I'll be wrong. And I will finish it!!!


message 25: by Patricia (last edited Apr 08, 2018 10:27AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Patricia Dusenbury | 32 comments I finished last night - stayed up reading. I was not disappointed, but it is also true that I'd not read all the hype. Still, I've read and enjoyed Gone Girl, Girl on the Train and now Woman in the Window. The plot parallels are there, especially with Girl on the Train, but I think this one was the best. Although Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects is, IMO, better than all three. I look forward to seeing what AJ Finn writes next.


Erica | 46 comments Hello, apologies I haven't been here for awhile but well, life happens sometimes.

I finished this book early last week and while it was a fast read the book in my opinion was vastly over hyped.

Some positives for me were: writing flows easily, the noir references.

Some negatives for me: Too many noir references, plot wasn't that great, I mean I pretty much knew the killer early on. Book was too long, it could have easily been about 60-100 pages shorter. The endless alcohol consumption. The other so called plot twists, were easily guessed from the beginning too.

I have to agree with some others in this thread that 'Girl on the train' and 'Gone Girl' were better books.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

What was the point of the tenant in the book?
The noir references were good but at some point there was just too many of them. It went kind of overboard.
Also I felt the book was slow going although the writing flowed easily, the plot did not, so that is the reason I felt that the book could have been shorter.
Then suddenly the ending came and it was so rushed and the book was finished.
The whole book was basically arguing did she saw something or not and then bang the ending.
The endless boozing annoyed me too. I get that she lost her entire family and suffers from agoraphobia but dear Lord enough is enough.
The two other plot twists: Talking to the dead husband and child was kind of easily guessed from the beginning as was the grandmother from the website.


Gunjan Gupta | -14 comments @Erica - Wow you just summed up everything I felt about the book.
I understand that when it is a mystery/ thriller genre the killer is mostly from the limited characters only, however, a good story is when you just don't make it obvious.
Alcoholism did seem a drag to me. It just went on and on. Husband, daughter and Grandmother were too easy guesses.
Overall the book was just hyped.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) I agree about the grandmother from the website. But the plot twist did surprise me!!

In fact, when I found out they were dead, I cried and cried. One way to prove a book is well written for me is if it makes me cry.

I guess we'll have to disagree, but I didn't think it was as overhyped as GG which was just dreadful.


Patricia Dusenbury | 32 comments Spoiler Alert

@Kristen I also suspected something fishy about the grandmother from the website but never guessed about the husband - I thought he was behind the weird stuff, trying to drive the narrator crazy - the Gaslight reference.


message 30: by Abba (new) - rated it 4 stars

Abba (aalwan) | 2 comments So, i just finished it. Overall I found it enjoyable. Some of the plot twists were cool, others kind of obvious. I absolutely loved the noir references, mainly because I love noir films.

Potential spoilers:
I’m a neurologist and that might be why I didn’t believe/enjoy some of the psychoanalysis Anna does online. There’s just no way someone can provide that type of mental health in a chat box. Also the types of meds she was taking even in combo with alcohol and ptsd would almost never cause such a complex degree of unrealistic organized hallucinations.

Nonetheless, it was fun.


Nadine Vansant | 46 comments Finished it. Too much booze to be plausible (worse than in the Barfly film), too many hints, too many obvious things so as you know very quick who did it. BUT it reads easily so is accessible for everybody!!


message 32: by Gem , Moderator & Admin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gem  | 1250 comments Mod
I started the book and got through the first day in one sitting. I started the second day and I don't know if it was because I was pre-caffeinated, it was in first person (which I don't usually enjoy), or what but I was having a difficult time with it. I'm going to put it down for now and start it again later... maybe. When I read the synopsis I was excited to read it, but with some of the comments above I have to wonder if it's worth it... so many other books to read this month.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) ⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "I started the book and got through the first day in one sitting. I started the second day and I don't know if it was because I was pre-caffeinated, it was in first person (which I don't usually enj..."

Don't let others get you down on the book, if I did that, I would've missed it out on a lot of good books, and been condemned to read some dreadful things.


Nadine Vansant | 46 comments ⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "I started the book and got through the first day in one sitting. I started the second day and I don't know if it was because I was pre-caffeinated, it was in first person (which I don't usually enj..."
If you want to read it: do so. Don't let your judgement be fooled by other readers.... not everybody likes the same books / things.... so I would say: go for it!! It reads very easily and is entertaining!


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Absolutely!!! One can never tell. I can't count how many times I disagree with the majority of people on something.


Nadine Vansant | 46 comments Kirsten wrote: "Absolutely!!! One can never tell. I can't count how many times I disagree with the majority of people on something."
:)


message 37: by Gem , Moderator & Admin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Gem  | 1250 comments Mod
Nadine wrote: "⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "I started the book and got through the first day in one sitting. I started the second day and I don't know if it was because I was pre-caffeinated, it was in first person (which I d..."

Oh, I agree. But I've got a lineup of books for the month, some of them I really, really want to read. I'm not saying I won't ready it, but I'm putting it at the end of the line, for now.


Beth  (techeditor) | 1005 comments I could have sworn I joined this discussion early in April. I read the book already, but I read through all the comments and don't see mine.

The first 140 pages of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW seem like too much buildup. But please read them because this is one of those books that's worth the time it takes up front. I give it four out of five stars because THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, after that 140 pages, is difficult to put down and, when I had to put it down, made me anxious to pick it back up.

The woman in THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, Anna Fox, lives alone in a great big house that she never leaves. She drinks too much. (You might even say the descriptions of her drinking are overdone.) And she spends her days online or watching DVDs of old movies or keeping an eye on her neighbors from her window.

I was immediately reminded of REAR WINDOW, one of the old movies in Fox’s collection. Even though THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW is updated with more recent technology, Fox still uses a camera with a telephoto lens, just like Jimmy Stewart. I knew then that Fox, like Stewart in REAR WINDOW, is looking for trouble.

Along with that prediction, I easily predicted a couple of other mysteries in THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. But the book is still a thriller because it contains other mysteries that I didn’t predict. For this reason, I am careful not to discuss particulars. Enjoy this book: discover the mysteries as they occur in the book rather than anticipate them because I told you to.

One comment, though: A.J. Finn, the author of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, uses the best device to show me how bad the bad guy is—hurt the cat.


PattyMacDotComma | 166 comments Beth wrote: "I could have sworn I joined this discussion early in April. I read the book already, but I read through all the comments and don't see mine.

The first 140 pages of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW seem li..."


Same here, Beth! I really enjoyed this and did NOT guess all the twists, although I figured out her family one and why she was such an emotional wreck.

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I could see why she'd try to play the doctor in the house in an online chat group, where there is obviously no oversight and anyone could be anyone. But how she was sober enough at any time of any day wasn't believable to me because of the amount of everything she consumed. Maybe she developed a tolerance for it?

I completely believed that the police would dismiss her as a sad, grieving, time-wasting nuisance. She reported what she thought she saw, and because the police knew nothing about another person possibly being in the picture, why would they investigate?

I wasn't crazy about The Girl on the Train, but for a debut, it was okay. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

They both had enough alcohol to make me feel queasy, though.

A.J. Finn is the pen-name of an experienced publisher who said he chose a pseudonym to avoid other publishers knowing whose book they were reading. There's a good article and interview with him here.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


message 40: by Debbie (last edited Apr 13, 2018 04:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Debbie Oxier (debbieoxier) | 4944 comments I thought the book started slow but once it picked up speed i enjoyed it. I was confused about a certain aspect of the book like some of you but it didnt change my view. I thought it was worth reading. I dont think it fair to the author, however, to cut them down because their work isnt as good as Gillian Flynn. Each writer has their own style. They shouldnt try to be a carbon copy of someone else. Books would be boring if everyone did that. I love finding new authors and trying different writing styles. I wasnt all that sold on Flynn but do intend to give Finn another chance. I think he/she deserves it.


Kirsten  (kmcripn) Well said, Debbie!


message 42: by Christine (new) - added it

Christine Hatfield  (christinesbookshelves) | 1767 comments I agree with you Debbie


Aditya | 1865 comments ⊱✿Gem✿⊰ wrote: "I started the book and got through the first day in one sitting. I started the second day and I don't know if it was because I was pre-caffeinated, it was in first person (which I don't usually enj..."

I probably had not liked it as much as some other members but even I would suggest reading it, it is a fast paced read. It is more shallow and generic a rather than outright bad. I gave it a 3/5, hell with a smarter ending I would have given it a 4.


Aditya | 1865 comments Debbie wrote: "I thought the book started slow but once it picked up speed i enjoyed it. I was confused about a certain aspect of the book like some of you but it didnt change my view. I thought it was worth read..."

I generally am fine with comparing authors, just to show what worked for me in one book and did not in another. But you are spot on about each author having his/her own style, without that there would be no point in trying out new authors.

I think AJ Finn keeps on being compared with Flynn here and in some GR reviews I saw because he went out of his way to promote it as a book like Gone Girl. He basically flat out said that without the commercial success of Gone Girl, he would not have thought of writing The Woman in the Window. So I think at least in this case the comparisons are justified. And even I would give Finn another chance, hopefully he would only get better.


message 45: by Rosangela (new) - added it

Rosangela (ropis) I'm halfway through.


Denise Mullins | 516 comments I found myself comparing the book to photographs by Cindy Sherman whose series had a very definite Hitchcock vibe. Looking at Sherman's photos, you'd swear they were exact copies of something from Vertigo or Psycho until you directly compared them to the images from the movie. In the same way, Flynn made me recall favorite spots from these movie classics, but put enough of a twist to keep it fun and interesting. I usually don't like books that simply seem like rehashes of something I've previously read, but this deliberateness seems more like an homage to me.


message 47: by Judith (new) - added it

Judith Janeway (judithjaneway) | 6 comments Denise—what an insightful observation! I’m in the middle of the book and the Hitchcockian comparisons that arise feel like invitations from the author to go down that path rather than simply appropriations from another’s work. I hadn’t put it together but ‘homage’ sums it up. —Judith


Kirsten  (kmcripn) I felt it was an homage. You could tell the author loved those old films. Much like Stephen King's book Revival was a love letter to authors like HP Lovecraft, and not a Lovecraftian novel.


PattyMacDotComma | 166 comments Denise wrote: "I found myself comparing the book to photographs by Cindy Sherman whose series had a very definite Hitchcock vibe. Looking at Sherman's photos, you'd swear they were exact copies of something from ..."

I agree with you, Denise (and with Judith and Kirsten) that it was an homage as well as a catalyst for her interpreting what she sees and hears outside and online.

Of course, if you have movies like that running as a kind of soundtrack to your life all the time, you may begin to question what you think you've actually seen and heard . Certainly anyone visiting you might think you're the victim of a highly impressionable imagination.


Karen Smith | 2 comments Overall I enjoyed the book, however, I definitely felt it was slow at times. The endless drinking got old, and since I am not a fan of old films, I did not understand the references. I did not find the constant over medicating combined with drinking massive amounts of alcohol to be very believable, but maybe it was necessary to make her seem unreliable as a narrator.

Having said that, I thought the overall plot was a good one. I did not guess who the killer was, and only became suspicious of some of the characters towards the end. It is definitely worth reading!


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