The Stranger on the Train
Review: Abbie Taylor's novel of psychological suspense, The Stranger on the Train, is centered on Emma Turner, a young single mother. After a full Sunday afternoon and evening of shopping, Emma decides to head for home. While waiting for her train with her 13-month-old son, Ritchie wants to get out of his stroller and walk around. He is equipped with a harness, so Emma helps him out of the stroller and holds on tightly to the straps of the harness. When the train comes, Emma helps Ritchie onto the train, and then turns around to get the stroller and the bags containing her shopping. Before she can amass everything together, the doors close and the train begins to move. Still holding on to the straps of the harness, Emma presses the button to open the doors, but they do not as the train keeps moving. A woman on the inside realizes the predicament Emma is in and mouths the words, "Next Exit".
True to her word, the woman is waiting with Ritchie at the next exit. She introduces herself as Antonia, and takes them to a café for coffee and milk. While there, Emma excuses herself to go to the restroom to clean herself up after her ordeal. When she returns Antonia and Ritchie are gone. Why would Antonia agree to meet her with Ritchie if she had intended to take him all along? Emma immediately notifies the authorities, but they seem strangely reluctant to assist her. Realizing the police are going to be of little help, she enlists the aid of Rafe, a man who witnessed the events on the train platform.
Told in a series of flashbacks, The Stranger on the Train relates Emma's life before and after the birth of her son. She was happy until she got pregnant. The child's father wanted her to abort the baby. Even after Ritchie was born, he was a colicky child. Living alone with no family or friends nearby, she frequently thinks how different her life would be without Ritchie, that maybe she could return to her happy life if only Ritchie weren't around. Emma's doctor assures her that these thoughts aren't uncommon, that she's suffering from postpartum depression and this will pass. Emma isn't so sure. The storyline derives its suspense from what happened to Ritchie, whether or not he was abducted, and will he be returned to his mother. An interesting premise, but one that doesn't really draw the reader in and invest them in the story.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Stranger on the Train.
Acknowledgment: Simon & Schuster provided a copy of The Stranger on the Train for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Stranger on the Train: London, England
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The Stranger on the Train by Abbie Taylor
Publisher: Atria Books
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: May 2014
List Price: $15.00
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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