Publish Date: January 2, 2018 by William Morrow
“Memory, like so much else, is unreliable. Not only for what it hides and what it alters, but also for what it reveals.” – Anna Funder
“There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory.” – Anonymous
This book has a lot of buzz! At the time of this writing it has a 4.11 of 5 rating on Goodreads, with 24,054 ratings and 3,953 written reviews. That is impressive.
It took awhile for me to get ahold of this one. My library has 54 copies but 263 holds on the e-book!
I read that this book hit the New York Times bestseller list even before it was released.
Anna Fox lives alone—a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her days and nights drinking merlot, popping powerful uppers/downers/sleeping pills, watching classic mystery movies, and spying on her neighbors with her Nikon camera on zoom.
Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.
What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.
Dr. Anna Fox takes HOT MESS to a whole new level. She joins the distinguished group of “Did She or Didn’t She Witness a Murder” – these unreliable, wine-swilling female narrators whose members include Rachel from Girl on the Train and Lo from Woman in Cabin 10. For me, Anna WINS the top honor for Best Unreliable Narrator and makes Rachel and Lo look semi-sober!
Anna’s pill-popping habit and 3-4 bottles of nightly wine intake (not counting her daytime consumption) is absolutely mind-boggling. How she has a coherent conversation or is even conscious is a marvel.
Anna has agoraphobia, and has major panic attacks when she attempts to leave her house. What caused her to be this way? Why is she separated from her husband Ed, and why does their daughter Olivia live with him? Why does she talk on the phone with Ed and Olivia practically every night, and why are they so cordial? Who is the mysterious David that sublets her basement, and what secrets is he hiding? And did she really see someone getting murdered, or is she just CRAY CRAY?
“Sometimes the memory of someone is better than the reality of them.” – Steve Maraboli
The mysterious circumstances around Anna, Ed, Olivia, David, and her neighbors had me binge reading this book. I couldn’t stop until the very end. And oh my, THAT ENDING! It had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, and had me glad that I wasn’t alone in my house as I read this book.
The story slowly uncovers the events that caused Anna’s condition but does it in short, easy to digest chapters. They are so short that it made me just want to keep reading until the very end.
AJ Finn does a wonderful job at creating the atmosphere in Anna’s house as dark, mysterious, foreboding, haunting and downright CREEPY. It reminded me of Ruth Ware’s descriptions of the house In A Dark, Dark Wood. Anna’s house is her safe place and her prison.
AJ Finn also does an excellent job of getting into Anna’s head and portraying her fuzziness and confusion. Readers might even experience a contact high and contact drunk while reading this book. And it definitely gave me a book hangover because I was thinking about the book even while I wasn’t reading it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I didn’t particularly like any of the characters in this book and that’s why it wasn’t a 5 star book for me. But I definitely enjoyed this wild ride and I recommend it for those that enjoy the works of Ruth Ware and Paula Hawkins.