This has been a bestselling psychological thriller since its publication in 2018. Naturally I was suspicious of it. I can report that it’s definitely worth a try and is one of those books you have to compulsively read through the night. It’s not one of the best I’ve read, but I thought the style was more sophisticated than some others in the genre.
The narrator is Anna, a former child psychologist who is confined to her old New York townhouse by her agoraphobia. Something horrific happened to her in the recent past and the trauma prevents her from going outside. She shares the house with her cat and a mysterious tenant. She spends her time drinking wine, helping people on an agoraphobics’ forum online and spying on her neighbours. One day she witnesses a crime but there are many odd circumstances. Furthermore, no one believes her.
Although I found the plot a little predictable and guessed the perpetrator early on, I generally enjoyed this book. The chapters are very short, which increases the page-turning quality. I liked how the agoraphobia was explored, too. There are a lot of things to admire about the book. I felt very sorry for Anna. She’s clearly an alcoholic, battling trauma and has enough courier-delivered pills to open a pharmacy, yet no one is really checking she’s OK. Even after the police become involved and can see what she’s going through, that she can barely cope with her life, she’s not referred to mental health services or social workers. Maybe that’s just how it goes in the US.
The author A J Finn (pseudonym of Dan Mallory) has recently been subject to controversy but if we set that aside, what we have here is a well-crafted thriller which will keep your attention right until the end.