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I absolutely adore reading - my love for books has had a huge impact on my life! I'm going to grad school to be a children's/YA librarian.


Strangers on a Train

Strangers on a Train - Patricia Highsmith

Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. "Some people are better off dead," Bruno remarks, "like your wife and my father, for instance." As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith's perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder. (source)



I read this book with my tumblr book club - I actually hadn't ever heard of it before my friend Tina Rae put it on our reading list. It's not a book that I typically would pick up. I think the best way to describe it would be as a crime thriller - it's categorized on goodreads as a mystery, but there's really nothing mysterious about this book, since we know who the murderers are and we know who gets murdered. Anyway, by now, you all know what genres I tend to gravitate towards (historical fiction, YA, and a touch of romance) and this book does not fit that mold. But as far as crime thrillers go, I thought this one was pretty good! As a note before you read this - there are some parts of the book that I wanted to comment on and couldn't find a way to do this without revealing some spoilers. I'm not going to do the spoiler tag on them, because the paragraphs won't really make much sense without these spoilers. So I've flagged the review with a spoiler alert, just so you all know to read this at your own risk!


I think that Highsmith's development of both Guy and Bruno was fantastic. She really did a great job of showing how Guy, a fairly normal man, is slowly broken down by Bruno's antics and all the abnormal circumstances that are going on in his life. As for Bruno, he was very clearly disturbed and I liked how Highsmith alternated between Bruno and Guy's points of view - it really contributed to how the reader got to know each character. I do wish that Anne had been more developed. Her main function is the book is as Guy's second wife and the person whose opinion most concerns him, so she's really just a secondary character, but I still wish that she had been fleshed out a bit more. I think it would have made the story more interesting.


This book isn't terribly long (around 250 pages), but I do think that it could have been made even shorter with some more editing. Guy follows through with Bruno's plan at the halfway point and after that they're pretty much just running around trying to evade suspicion. I feel that this part of the book was longer than it needed to be and a lot of it was just filler until the inevitable occurred. So while this was a good book, that part of it did get a bit boring after a while.


Overall, this was a pretty great crime thriller with some interesting psychological questions. If you're interested in psychology or thrillers, I would recommend giving it a try!