The Stranger on the Train By Abbie Taylor — review

We first meet Emma Turner as she and her 13-month-old son, Ritchie, are returning from a trip across London to the East End. They are waiting for a train on the platform of a nearly-deserted Underground station. In a dizzying sequence of events, Emma suddenly somehow has lost her baby when a stranger, a woman who had seemed to be helping her, appears to have kidnapped him. And from an innocent moment on a quiet Sunday evening in the middle of London, a nightmare begins.

Of course Emma immediately reports the abduction to the police, who seem reluctant to believe her or give her any tangible assistance, notably D.I. Ian Hill, the SIO in charge of the case. The fact that Emma is a single mom very stressed out at her new responsibilities, with the child’s father barely aware of his existence, only adds to their skepticism. Lindsay, the family liaison officer assigned, is the only one who seems to have any belief in her version of events. Until, that is, a stranger named Rafe offers to help her. Rafe was, briefly, a cop, and has contacts that may prove helpful. Emma is in a state of torment, and will go to any lengths to get her child back.

There are flashbacks to important and/or stressful moments in Emma’s and Ritchie’s young life that give the reader an insight into the years before and immediately after he was born, in a novel of increasing psychological suspense, in the course of which the reader reaches the point of asking, is Emma an unreliable narrator? Emma herself veers from anger and hostility to utter vulnerability, and it isn’t until very near to the end of the novel that Ritchie’s, and Emma’s, fate becomes known.

This is a very engaging novel, and it is recommended.

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Gloria Feit

The Feit's reviews appear in numerous media outlets.

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