The Woman in the Window

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn is a psychological thriller that keeps the wheels turning in the heads of the readers. Anna Fox, the protagonist, had been cooped inside of her home for ten months. She was an agoraphobic who shivered at the mere thought of stepping outside. So, her window was literally her window to the outside world — that and her trusted Nikon D5500 camera with Opteka lens. With her eyes glued to the camera, she zoomed into the lives of her unaware neighbors. Anna knew more about her neighbors than their own family members did. From their ordinary habits to scandalous affairs, nothing went unnoticed by Anna.

Next door, outside 214, Mrs. Wasserman and her Henry pick their way down the front steps. Off to spread sweetness and light.

I swing my camera west: Two pedestrians loiter outside the double-wide, one of them pointing at the shutters. “Good bones,” I imagine him saying.

God, I’m inventing conversations now.

Cautiously, as though I don’t want to be caught — and indeed I don’t — I slide my sights across the park, over to the Russells’.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

However, she was not just a snooping woman in the window. She was a child psychologist who had helped many kids. Nevertheless for the past months, she extended her professional advice on an online platform. Other than that, she spent her days playing chess, watching classic movies, and drowning herself in wine. Due to a past tragedy , she had been struggling with PTSD. The medication of her condition came with the warning of not mixing it with alcohol. But, she paid no heed to her psychiatrist’s words. The life was moving at a snail’s pace before she witnessed a murder through her lens.

Is this what’s become of me? A woman who gawks like a guppy at an everyday lunch hour? A visitor from another world, awed by the miracle of a new grocery store? Deep within my dry-iced brain, something throbs, something angry and vanquished. A flush sunrises in my cheeks. This is what’s become of me. This is who I am.

– The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

As Anna saw the bloodied body of Jane Russell fall in her apartment, she called 911 and rushed to her aid. Unfortunately, she never made it to the Russells’ house. Later, when the cops investigated her report of witnessing a murder, they found out that Jane Russell was alive. According to Anna, however, the woman who claimed to be Jane Russell was an imposter. Who would believe a woman whose blood had more alcohol and drugs than blood? Could she even believe herself?

He and the woman speak to each other across the roof of the car. My ears sieve their words — stabbing, confused, doctor — as I sink underwater, close my eyes, nestle into the crook of the passenger seat; the air goes calm and still. Shoals flicker past — psychologist, house, family, alone — and I drift away. With one hand I idly stop the other sleeve; my fingers swim into my robe, pinch a roll of skin bulging from my stomach. I am trapped in a police car fondling my fat. This is a new low.

– The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The genius of A.J. Finn is the narration of the plot in the words of an unreliable character. Dr. Anna Fox, who mixed alcohol and prescribed medication, snooped on her neighbors, and talked to her husband and daughter as if they were living with her, could not be trusted. While the audience sympathizes with Anna who needs to count her breaths to avoid a panic attack, they find it hard to believe her. So, the readers sit tight and turn the pages to get to the truth. The plot develops with the exhausting details of the protagonist inhaling and exhaling to the count of four and the indulging mystery of a murder that may or may not have happened.

I’m in the middle of a quarter acre park, with only nylon and cotton for armor, traveling to the home of a woman who’s been stabbed.

I hear the night growl. I feel it circle my lungs, lick its lips.

I can do this, I think as my knees go slack. Come on: up, up, up.

One, two, three, four.

I falter forward — a tiny step, but a step. I watch my feet, the grass springing up around my slippers. I will promote healing and wellbeing.

Now the night has my heart in its claws. It’s squeezing. I will burst. I am going to burst.

Written in first person, the reader can almost hear the voice of Anna Fox guiding them through the many tidbits of her life. Although the whereabouts of her husband and daughter were not very well concealed — perhaps, intentionally, to plant the seed of mistrust in the readers — the mystery behind the alleged murder of Mrs. Russell gnaws at the readers until the very end. I recommend The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn to the serious readers who enjoy a slow-paced psychological thriller that keeps them on the edge of their seat.

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This review has been featured in Twinkl, as part of their To Be Read List 2022: Top Book Picks From Authors and Bloggers article.

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