Let me tell you about Dr. Anna Fox. She is living alone in her home separated from her husband Edward or Ed who got the custody of their daughter Olivia. Or we come to know about it from her musings and conversations. Anna never leaves her home. She sit there all day, her groceries are brought by her tenant who lives in the basement. She never leaves her home because she is Agoraphobic. As a routine Anna’s therapist comes and talk to her. Anna spends all her time sitting by the window and watch the world and life pass on without her.
Enough of this boring, repeating life. One day, comes the new family to the vacant house opposite to her. Now she was interested in the family including a father, mother and a son. She keep on looking through the window to know more about them. Now now, we all know staring is a bad manners and spying on someone for our own time pass is an even worse habit. But now that our protagonist is agoraphobic and she don’t have the choice of going out and meet new people and have a proper social life she is stuck with this window plan. So let’s just forgive and support her and move on.
She sees the mother in that house and later she comes to Anna and identifies herself as Jane Russel, mother of teenager Ethan. They grow a bond really fast and Anna comes to know that the father of the house wouldn’t appreciate this friendly meeting. Later she meets Ethan who seems really sweet and shy and they also starts a friendship. Ethan tells that his father, Alistair is a very strict and controlling man and both Jane and Ethan are really afraid of him. Very bad Alistair, very bad. One day as Anna was doing her usual spying and staring she sees a terrible thing. Jane is stabbed by someone. Terrified she calls Police and reports it. The police goes to crime scene and finds that the mother is in fact healthy and alive. Anna sees that the woman is different and says that she is not Jane. But police gets evidence that proves the woman in the house is indeed Jane Russel. Anna’s words are ignored. Later Alistair comes to her house and asks her to stay out of their matters and stop spying. Anna is now convinced that there is something suspicious. One day she receives a picture of herself sleeping at night through an anonymous email. Creepy, right? She calls the police to inform this weird incident and she is thrown back to a place where she never wanted to go. Here comes the first twist…. Nah I am not gonna tell you that. Anyway, the police proves that Anna is prone to have hallucinations and this photo incident is just one of them. Like, she could have took the picture and sent it to herself. I mean selfie is not a rocket science.
Later she finds that pic in her own phone and remembers the photo she had taken when Jane came to visit. In that picture she got the glimpse of Jane. She confronts Ethan and he reveals that Katie who identified herself as Jane was actually his biological mother and Alistair and Jane are adoptive parents. Katie’s frequent visit infuriated Alistair and he stabbed her to death. Scary Alistair. Ethan promises Anna that he will talk to his parents and then to police.
But then something happens at night when she was about to sleep and there comes the second twist. Not so much of a twist. She remembers the conversation with Ethan and realizes that he said something which there was no way he would have known it. Now a shiver is running through your spine. For a second you just can’t focus. Loads of thoughts are running into you like the sharp little drops of monsoon rain. Blurring your vision and pricking you all over your body. It’s not that I hate rain or something but dude, sometimes they do hurt. She freezes when she feels the presence of Ethan in her room. To know the rest of the events just read The Woman in the Window by A. J Finn. But I would like to apologize to Alistair Russel first. Sorry man.
I read this book last year. The first half of it was cliché, you know. You could easily predict the events and read what is told a million time by others. You fall into the familiar flow of the peaceful stream only to be thrown off the cliff. Not just that, you try to come up to the surface of water with theories, predictions and conclusions only to be push down by another wave of plot twist. As a reader I always try to predict the climax. In this case I had to come up with a number of them because I had to change it whenever the plot twist tore my conclusions into shreds.
This is the debut novel by Dan Mallory who wrote under the pen name A. J Finn. When asked about this mundane beginning, he said it was intentional. This feeling of familiarity made the twists more powerful than we expect.
Now I should add one more thing. Those who have read Saving April by Sarah A Denzil need not to read The Woman in the Window. Because the plots are strikingly similar. I am no one to judge or say who stole whose plot. I have read this one and haven’t read Saving April yet. But then I checked and I was like, ‘yep, both plots are just twins. One girl and the other boy’. Then again if you haven’t read neither of the books, I would say read The Woman in the Window. It’s not like I am promoting this one or anything, it’s just I haven’t read Saving April and don’t know anything about it’s language or flow of events or feel. But I have read this one and it is really good. It’s thrilling. It gives you goose bumps and surprises (or shocks). I mean a novel is at it’s best when it proves you wrong about the conclusion, right? I like to be proven wrong by the authors when it comes to thrillers, cause if they prove you right, then they are not thrillers anymore, just plain ordinary novels.
I would have read the other one also if the plots weren’t so much similar. It’s like ‘potato – potato’ (in Phoebe Buffay’s voice).