...if The Woman in the Window achieves success, it will be entirely deserved. It’s a beautifully written, brilliantly plotted, richly enjoyable tale of love, loss and madness ... Although Finn’s plot must not be revealed, it’s fair to say that his characters are rarely who or what they first appear to be. And that his story ends with a series of mind-boggling surprises. The Woman in the Window is first-rate entertainment that is finally a moving portrait of a woman fighting to preserve her sanity ... With The Woman in the Window he has not only captured, sympathetically, the interior life of a depressed person, but also written a riveting thriller that will keep you guessing to the very last sentence.
Finn has carefully paced Anna’s internal narrative and intricately woven interactions (real or imagined?) and added a diabolical dimension that makes this story even more intense than Hitchcock’s Rear Window. And when the catalyst for Anna’s condition is ultimately revealed, it is far more traumatic than a broken leg. An astounding debut from a truly talented writer, perfect for fans in search of more like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.
Mallory also clearly knows a lot about the more diabolical elements in Hitchcock movies. And he hasn’t been shy, as Finn, about plugging them into his plot ... All of this is very familiar, to the point where The Woman in the Window starts off feeling ordinary. It reads too much like another knockoff while the author sets up his very basic story elements ... Once the book gets going, it excels at planting misconceptions everywhere. You cannot trust anything you read ... A book that’s as devious as this novel will delight anyone who’s been disappointed too often ... How well does it all hold up, once Finn’s cards have been fully played? Pretty well, but there are problems. An enormous surprise meant to arrive more than two-thirds of the way through the book was guessable even by me — a terrible guesser — almost from the start. One character has huge credibility problems. And the writing is serviceable, sometimes bordering on strange ... Finn knows commerce but he also knows the classics, old and new. He truly aspires to write in their tradition.
Like all high-concept thrillers, The Woman in the Window can afford nary a misstep, or risk falling apart like a tower of playing cards. To the author's credit, the plot is very nearly airtight. And for all the narrative effects, Finn never loses touch with the fear and insecurity of a woman who has suffered a great loss and feels abandoned and alone in the world ... The book, which features a bunch of oddballs with hidden motives, including the young drifter renting her basement apartment and the troubled son of one of the Jane Russells, dips a bit when the laughs stop coming — a trap Hitchcock never fell into. But it's not a book you can easily put down.
The story moves slowly in the beginning as Finn develops his plot, setting things up several moves ahead much in the same way that Anna attacks the chessboard. Things kick into another gear when a new family moves in across the street … Finn knows what it takes to put out a sure-fire hit, and he delivered just that. The story itself, after settling into a groove that takes more than a hundred pages to dig out, is actually fairly predictable. Seasoned readers won’t be blindsided by any hard-hitting reveals or ‘gotcha’ moments. But they’re not needed, as Finn beautifully crafts his story, opting to rely more on character development than never-see-it-coming twists and turns.
[Finn] knows his classic movies (there’s even a character named Jane Russell!) ... I figured out two of the biggest 'reveals' in Window well before they were revealed, and Finn the cinephile’s taste for melodrama can get silly (doorbells ring, cellphones die, thunder crashes!) but there’s something irresistible about this made-for-the-movies tingler. Finn knows how to pleasurably wind us up.
The secrets of Anna’s past and the uncertain present are revealed slowly in genuinely surprising twists. And, while the language is at times too clever for its own good, readers will eagerly turn the pages to see how it all turns out.