Summary from NetGalley:
“In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…
Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.
She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.
It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?
With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.”
It seems that mystery/thrillers with woman protagonists (and female authors) have become more popular since Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl became a hit. There is also The Girl on the Train that is also being made into a movie and The Passenger, I think, is also making an attempt to achieve similar status.
I have never read any of Lisa Lutz’s other books before The Passenger and so I didn’t know what to expect. I only relied on the blurb and because I am a sucker for thrillers and suspense, I quickly sampled the first chapter.
The narrative was in the first person told by a woman initially known as Tanya but this name would later on change into other different names which I would know as soon as I get to the next chapter. Obviously, the narrator is on the run and as she makes her escape she has to shed off and take on several characters and identities. The correspondence she maintained with Ryan was a great mystery but it also revealed, albeit gradually, the past events that brought Tanya to where and what she was.
Honestly, there were events in the story that sounded too unbelievable and there were just too many eccentric minor characters that were also hard to believe. I still enjoyed the thrill ride as I wanted badly to get to the bottom of everything and when it did, it came as anticlimactic. I found the premise too puny for a life to be lived on the run for many years. The real identity and family background of the narrator also seemed to be too cliche to be dramatic. Still, it was interesting to read how the narrator tried to look for and match different personalities to her stolen identities with the usual hair color changes and eye make-up.
The Passenger was a reading experience where the ride was more enjoyable than the destination. (I still haven’t figured out what the title means.)
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars.
My copy: ARC from NetGalley