Hooo boy, here we go.
I’ve been putting off writing this review forever (since April, to be precise), because my time management is horrible and I felt like I really should take time for this. Since today seems to be the evening on which I am catching up on all overdue reviews instead of doing stuff I really should do (like writing the script for a short that will start filming on friday), I am going to revisit Lisa Lutz’ “The Passenger”. Let me preface this with the following:
Yep. Book-wise, we are done with 2016. Everybody come clean up and lock the door.
For me, it is not going to get any better than this. In April, me and the boyfriend took an unexpected trip up north to our cabin in Sweden, since some unexpected maintenance work came up. That’s 1300 kilometers exactly, according to our navigation system. While the boyfriend is probably my favorite person to drive insane distances with, being crammed into a car for hours on end during finals period where I should be studying and writing essays was less than amazing.
You know what’s worse than driving 1300 kilometers to Sweden? Driving those 1300 kilometers back two weeks later, when the grey reality is about to hit you square in the face with deadlines, work & school. And this is where Lisa Lutz came crashing in to save the day(s) – with her (literally) breathtaking novel “The Passenger”.
I’m not sure I spoke more than 5 words on the drive back (I’d be very surprised), because I was submerged headfirst into the world(s) of Tanya & Amelia & Debra & Jo. The boyfriend did a good job of keeping me supplied with pastries, coffee and his fabulous driving and eventually got us home safe. That was nice of him.
Before I go into deeper (happy) ramblings about the book, I’ll leave you with the official summary first.
“From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!
In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…
Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.
She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.
It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?
With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.” (Simon & Schuster)
Well, well, where do I start? Probably with the fact that I loved this book. I loved it so hard and sincerely; the book hangover kept me silent for at least a good hour after finishing it. I have rarely ever read a book with characters so fully satisfying they felt like your next door neighbors, childhood friends or any other pedestrian on the street. By the end, I felt like I should be able to call the protagonist and chat her up on what the hell just happened.
“Hey gurrrl, sup with that? You good?” – Whatsapp would probably do the trick as well.
This was a page turner extraordinaire. I think it took me exactly until we had just crossed Denmark. I devoured the whole thing in one car ride (and then I felt empty and sad and the desperate need for a sequel [but let’s be real, sequels are always disappointing]). I adored the book from the very first sentence (Jesus, I sound like someone is paying me for this. Hello? Anyone? Please?), but the last third of the book just set off a firework of events, which tied all of the strings left hanging during the book together into one, giant know of anxiety and happiness and weirdness and creepiness.
So far, definitely my 2016 book of the year, filled with loads of blood, bodies & hair dye – without turning into a mundane wannabe paper slasher. I have an endless amount of admiration for the author for pulling this stunt off – without leaving me lost along the way (my attention span is comparable to graphene; really thin and super small). I am very much looking forward to reading more from Lisa Lutz!