I love trains. I love fast trains, slow trains, A-trains, commuter trains, cross-country trains, Polar Express trains. You name it; I love it. My fondness for train travel leads to me liking books — particularly mystery books — set on trains. Murder on the Orient Express, Strangers on a Train, The 4:50 From Paddington.
Prior to now, I had never read a single book by Lisa Unger, a prolific mystery writer. But the title of her recent book, Confessions on the 7:45, caught my attention. I love trains and I love confessions.
Selena lives a storybook life with a great job, her handsome husband Graham, and two great kids. Except is her life a romance or a horror novel? Following a hunch, her nannycam catches her husband Graham having sex with, who else? The nanny. This fact won’t be posted on the artificial life she characterizes on social media. She’ll keep this to herself.
Except, when she gets on the 7:45 commuter train, she immediately notices an attractive woman sitting all by herself. For reasons Selena can’t explain, she’s drawn to the woman. She sits down next to her and strikes up a conversation. Before she knows it, she is confessing that her husband is having an affair with the nanny. The woman — Martha — confesses her secrets as well. And then the train ride is over, and the two go their own separate ways.
Over the next few days, Selena tries to figure out if she should give her cheating husband another chance. In the meantime, she begins getting text messages from Martha, even though Selena never gave Martha her telephone number.
The author lays out the rest of the story very well, dribbling pieces of information to the reader little by little, allowing us to try and figure the curveballs she delivers until the very end of the book. I found Unger’s writing extremely readable, and the characters satisfyingly complex and real.
While I had not read any books by Lisa Unger in the past, I will be reading her in the future.