Everyone's looking for the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, which means there's a veritable ton of titles coming out compared to those two. And as a mood reader who very much does find herself looking for things "in the vein of" sometimes, I don't really mind as long as they're appropriate.
I take these particular comparisons to mean a book will be dark and twisty, psychologically complex, and will (hopefully) feature a somewhat (or incredibly) unreliable narrator. And I think Fiona Barton's The Widow hits exactly those marks.
Jean Taylor's husband has died in a tragic accident, mowed over by a bus in the prime of his life. And absolutely everyone is dying to get an interview with the new widow. But why?
It's all because of Bella, the girl Jean's husband was suspected of kidnapping just a few years ago.
It was 2006 and the two-and-a-half-year-old girl was playing in her front garden when she was snatched by a person unknown. Witnesses first claimed to have seen a long-haired man in the neighborhood. Then, a possible break in the case led to Glen Taylor. Jean stood by him through it all, as their life was ripped apart, as their every move became headline fodder, as her husband's name was dragged through the mud time and again... and now everyone wants to know her side of the story.
Barton's debut takes readers back and forth between Jean's present and the 2006 case. The interesting thing is that the reader never quite knows the full story. Jean is as quiet throughout as she has been with the police and reporters, only offering readers rare and small glimpses into her true thoughts and feelings. So the mystery is a mystery, unraveling as the story progresses rather than spilled straight from Jean's lips at the very start. And it doesn't take long at all for the reader to begin to wonder just how truthful Jean is being in her narrative.
The Widow is a smart read, one that's hard to step away from. Indeed it's a bit of a book hangover inducing debut that will likely send you racing for even more Gone Girl and Girl on The Train comps. I'd go one further and say that The Widow earns its own place in the comparable title list. Maybe we'll be seeing some "Perfect for fans of The Widow" comps soon?
If your curiosity is piqued, and I do hope that it is, you can check out an exclusive trailer and excerpt over at Entertainment Weekly. Go on, see what all the fuss is about!