From the very first page, Abbie Taylor’s debut suspense novel, The Stranger on the Train, will grip readers in its high-octane clutches and won’t let go until the final twist is revealed. But this novel is also an unflinching look at single parenthood and the struggles of raising a child without losing one’s self.
As the novel opens, Emma Turner is returning home after a long and stressful outing with her thirteen-month-old son Ritchie. Exhausted from her errands and anxious to get home, Emma is not as vigilant as she should be. While in the London subway system, Ritchie’s hand slips from hers and he ends up on a subway train with strangers. Fearful that she has lost her son, Emma is relieved to find that a nice woman has seen what happened and helps to reunite Emma and Ritchie at the next subway stop.
Unfortunately for Emma, this is only the beginning of the nightmare. Shortly thereafter, Ritchie is actually abducted and now the police seem strangely unwilling to help this mother in need. The only person that seems to believe her is Rafe, a man who witnessed Emma’s distress on the subway platform that morning; the only problem is that he never saw Ritchie.
Limited in scope, Abbie Taylor’s novel allows readers to feel Emma’s turmoil. Not only is she fearful for her son’s safety, but she is also guilt-ridden over the horrible thoughts she has had about Ritchie since his birth. Abandoned by her lover, Emma has on more the one occasion wished that Ritchie was never born. And now because of that, the police think she is an unfit mother.
The novel follows Emma and Rafe as they attempt to figure out what actually happened that day on the subway platform. Taking them from London to France and back again, Taylor’s writing feels very cinematic in style and the action scenes ensue one after another until the truth is finally revealed.
Don’t look for extensive character development in this novel. Abbie Taylor is clearly focused on the plot twists and action set pieces. However, there is enough depth to the character of Emma Turner to make her feel real and readers will certainly want to know exactly what happened to Ritchie once he was in the hands of The Stranger on the Train.
Disclaimer: An e-galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.