Author: A.J. Finn
Published: January 2, 2018 by William Morrow
Genre: Mystery / Suspense / Thriller
Hardcover: 432 pages
My Rating: 5 stars
The Woman in the Window has taken the book world by storm. Not only is this Hitchcockian thriller A.J. Finn’s first book, but it debuted at #1 on The New York Times bestseller list.
Two reasons why A.J. Finn is my new favorite author:
1. He’s a champion of women.
2. He’s a champion of mental illness.
Let me explain.
In an author interview, A.J. Finn talks about the representation of weak women in fictional characters, and how unrealistic that is. It was important for the character of Anna not to rely on a man. Her troubles, of which she has many, are all her own.
Quoted from an interview on the Crime by the Book blog “I was quite keen to create a female character, who unlike many heroines in genre fiction, is not obsessed with men, or fretting about men, or relying upon men, or whining about men. It’s quite frustrating as a reader of this genre to come across so many disempowered women. Most women are not like that. Most women are more than a match for the men in their lives.”
After about a 15 year struggle with severe clinical depression, A.J. Finn was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After his diagnosis and treatment, he felt significantly improved, to the point where he wanted to write a book. He goes on to explain “Nobody wants to read about depression, because it’s depressing, but create a character through whom you can explore that and package her in a thriller and suddenly it’s much more accessible. I wanted to write something with more on it’s mind and in it’s heart than your average disposable psychological thriller.”
You can watch the full interview here. A.J. Finn author interview
Anna is a child psychologist, who suffers from agoraphobia, and has not left her house for 9 months. She spends her days playing chess online and helping other agoraphobics in an online chat forum. She also watches old noir films, drinks a lot of wine, and spy’s on her neighbors through a camera lens. When she sees something she shouldn’t have, she cannot get anyone to believe her. She takes a lot of prescription medication along with the wine, but she knows what she saw and is determine to prove it, but how to do that when she can’t leave her house is a seemingly insurmountable challenge. In one of the best reveals I’ve read lately, we also find out what led her to become an agoraphobic in the first place. Anna is a flawed character for sure, but not in an annoying weak way. When you find out what she’s been through, my sympathy for her shot through the roof, and I was rooting for her all the way.
I loved everything about this book: the characters, the atmosphere, the page turning suspense, the plot, the originality. We’re not very far into 2018, but it is sure to be in my top list of reads for this year.