5 stars out of 5
Wow - what a wild, wonderful ride! This one's got "winner" written all over it - I didn't even have to think before awarding it 5 stars - so here's an extra-special thanks to the publisher (via NetGalley) for giving me the opportunity to read it in exchange for a review.
As if a terrific, unique story weren't enough, it left me guessing all the way to the end as to how it would end - something that happens all too infrequently in most of the books I read in this genre (which, for the record, is a pretty hefty number). Even the ending - for reasons I can't say without screaming "spoiler alert" - left me with the slightly uneasy feeling that there could be more to come.
The book begins when a woman named Tanya Dubois turns up in a bar about 48 hours after leaving her dead husband at the bottom of their stairs. By then, she's called a "contact" from her past to get a new identity, dyed her hair and answers to the name of Amelia. In the bar, she's befriended by the bartender, Blue, who seems to understand Tanya/Amelia is on the run and offers to share quarters, at least for the short run.
That's not all she shares; apparently, both women are trying to escape their pasts (for Amelia, we know it involved some very serious events that are hinted at through brief flashbacks). So, to throw a few more chinks in the wheels of those intent on finding them, they exchange identities. Amelia is now Blue (who says her name in her former life is Debra) and Blue becomes Amelia. The benefits of that switcheroo don't last long, though, since Debra has more than a few past secrets of her own (I'll just say she wasn't hiding out as Blue for no reason at all).
Got all that so far? Well, hang on, because it's not over till it's over - and as I hinted earlier, maybe not even then. There's a lot more running, a few more identities and more clues to what really happened all those years ago that started the ball rolling. As I said at the beginning, it's a wild, wonderful ride. Not since Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train have I been this enthusiastic about a new book. Highly recommended!
The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, March 2016); 320 pp.