The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (Book Review)
"When I found my husband at the bottom of the stairs, I tried to resuscitate him before I ever considered disposing of the body."
The Passenger starts with a death, or you could say two deaths, for the moment Tanya’s husband falls down the stairs and dies, she can no longer remain Tanya Dubois. We are thrown into the scene with a woman who claims she is innocent and not involved with her husband’s death, yet she still proceeds to go on the run, even if that means everyone will suspect her of killing him. It isn’t clear at first of what exactly she is running from, but it soon becomes obvious that she isn’t running from anything but her past. A police investigation might find her an innocent party in her husband’s death, but something in her past, even just her former real identity, is far from innocent, or at least that’s what we’re left to believe.
The novel is split into sections, where the central character of Tanya becomes the other identities as she encounters various setbacks under the different names that she picks up. She manages to stay in the guise of some for longer than others, but each one seems harder to sustain without suspicion or an event to render it no longer fit for purpose. Throughout these different identities she has email communication with a man named Ryan, who is somehow linked to her past, and through this communication our appetites are whetted as to the nature of her secret past, and for the real reason her life was turned into a journey of anonymity.
Lutz weaves the past and present brilliantly in this novel, and through every identity change, more questions are raised, both through revelations of the past, and events in the present that in retrospect I can see were clearly motivated by that said past. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot of this book, as the real twists and turns would give too much away, but I can say that this was a very entertaining read and though I made my way through it fairly leisurely, it’s the kind of book that both excites and terrifies the imagination with a desire to find answers. There were countless times in the book where I felt real danger and suspense for the central character, and to the motivations of those people around her.
People are not quite as they seem in this book, and that is a context through which the main bulk of the story is based on, for not even the main character is clearly good or bad, and though we are afforded a front row seat into her life, a passenger if you will in her life and the many facades that an anonymous life demands, it isn’t until the end that we discover the real nature of her character and the past that made it so.
All told then a thoroughly enjoyable book full of suspense, thrills, wit and tension right to the end. Lisa Lutz’s The Passenger is available on the links below.
I received The Passenger in a Goodreads giveaway and this is my honest and unbiased review according to FTC guidelines.