Prather’s Pick: ‘The Woman in the Window’ a thrilling novel with plenty of twists
Anna Fox is the leading character in “The Woman in the Window,” this week’s novel for adults. Anna, a recluse, lives by herself in New York City.
Anna suffers from agoraphobia, one of a range of anxiety disorders. In Anna’s case, she’s afraid to go outdoors. She hasn’t always had the affliction, but now, she hasn’t left the house in almost a year. With encouragement from Dr. Fielding, her psychotherapist, Anna has been working on going out into her garden. Five times in eight weeks, she has carried an umbrella outside, holding it in front of her as a shield. She has been able to take about four steps before panic sets in.
It isn’t that Anna hasn’t held a job in the past. In fact, she is also a psychotherapist, working with children. Now she meets with some clients via teleconferencing. Otherwise, she watches old movies and drinks — a lot. Sometimes, she mixes alcohol with her medication — lots of it, too. One thing that keeps Anna occupied is snooping on her neighbors. She’s able to see what they’re doing with her Nikon D5500 camera lens.
David, Anna’s tenant, lives in the basement and does odds and ends of chores for her. Bina, the physical therapist, comes to the house to help her work out. Anna tells everyone she is separated from her husband, Ed, and their daughter, Olivia, lives with him.
As the novel opens, Anna is spying on the Millers, who moved in eight weeks before. She watches as the man of the house (also a psychotherapist) leaves for work, and his redheaded wife (whom Anna has named “Rita”) enjoys the company of another man. Anna wonders when Rita’s husband will catch her in the act.
Newest to the neighborhood is the Russell family — Alistair, Jane and son Ethan. Anna can see clearly through their south-facing windows. One day, Jane catches Anna watching them, and she waves. Then, she rings Anna’s doorbell. She spends time with Anna, and they become friends. Then, Alistair comes over to visit, too, and, finally, even Ethan. Anna continues to watch the family through their windows, and one day, she sees something she wishes she hadn’t.
The result of Anna’s spying is a chilling mystery. Detectives get involved, but who is going to believe a recluse who drinks too much and often takes too much medication? This all makes for a suspenseful plot with plenty of twists and turns. If you enjoy reading thrillers, this novel is for you.
“The Woman in the Window,” by A.J. Finn, is published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers. It is new for 2018 and costs $26.99 in hardcover. You can also find it with the new books at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.