The Woman in the Window: A Novel

Image of The Woman in the Window: A Novel
Release Date: 
January 1, 2018
William Morrow
Reviewed by: 

“A captivating page-turner that is filled with loads of atmosphere and suspense, The Woman in the Window is a highly recommended read . . .”

Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. Agoraphobia usually involves fear of crowds, bridges, or of being outside alone.

Suffering from this debilitating disorder and depression, Anna Fox is a 30-something child psychologist who lives alone in her uptown New York City apartment. Her husband has left her and taken their eight-year-old daughter with him. Anna hasn’t ventured outside of the house in nearly ten months but still advises several patients by email. She spends most of her mundane life trapped in her home drinking wine, watching classic black and white movies, remembering better times, and peering out her window snooping on the neighbors.

This all changes when the Russell’s move into the apartment across the park: a father, mother, and their teenaged son. One late afternoon, Ethan, the Russell’s 16-year-old son arrives at Anna’s door bearing a gift from her parents. He is a good-looking, lanky kid with a sweet demeanor and they quickly become fast friends: “He looks like a boy I once knew, once kissed—summer camp in Maine, a quarter century ago. I like him,” Anna thinks to herself.

On the surface the Russells appear to be the perfect family but beneath this façade lays many secrets.

They are a troubled family. As the plotline unfolds Ethan hints to Anna that his father is often physically abusive with his mother. One day Anna believes she’s witnessed one of these violent attacks and reports it to the police. Investigators are wary of the allegation and find no evidence of an attack. They think Anna’s alcohol consumption and prescription medications might have compromised her judgment. Undeterred and determined to prove what she saw was real and not an invention of her imagination, Anna continues to spy on the Russell’s, and more shadowy and sinister activities soon unfold.

“It isn’t paranoia if it’s really happening . . .”

The Woman in the Window is the exhilarating debut novel by A. J. Finn. A native of New York, Finn has written for numerous publications including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and the Times Literary Supplement (UK). In this irresistible thriller, Finn has created an atmospheric masterpiece of suspense that harkens back to the days of Alfred Hitchcock.

The Woman in the Window is a powerfully moving and suspense filled portrait of a woman fighting for reason and sanity. It refreshingly breaks away from the stereotypical molds of recently published psychological thrillers and effectively captures the solitary world that often engulfs the life of a severely depressed person.

Overall, Finn does a good job of developing Anna’s character—a woman damaged, taking too many pills, drinking too much, and hiding from the world. He sympathetically conveys the way that her home has become a prison and how her fears, paranoia, and phobias have stopped her from being believed by those she comes into contact with.

Although the characters in this novel are rarely who or what they first appear to be, and the pace is at times a little slow-moving, the storyline and thrilling conclusion are well worth the wait and filled with a series of mind-boggling bombshells. A captivating page-turner that is filled with loads of atmosphere and suspense, The Woman in the Window is a highly recommended read that will most certainly keep the reader guessing to the very end.