Book Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
After finding her husband’s dead body at the bottom of the stairs, Tanya considers disposing of it. Quickly realizing that she lacks the physical strength to move him, she packs her bags. It’s a suspicious way to die, after all, and she can’t have the police examining her too closely.
On the road, she focuses on putting distance between herself and her former life with Frank. She drives through the night and a couple of states away, trades in Frank’s truck for a car, which she plans to replace fairly soon. She’s already drawn as much cash as she can from her bank account and credit card, so she makes a call. It’s not a call she wants to make, but, in order to start a new life, she needs a new identity and cash. It’s a call that will ultimately change what she has to do to survive.
I read this book in one evening. What happened in Tanya’s past to set her on this path? She’s too emotionally detached to be likable, but as her story progresses, it’s apparent that she’s not a bad person (although she does bad things to survive). It’s also apparent that she’s traumatized by something that happened years ago. And that she longs for home and the girl she used to be.
The novel effectively alternates between her present, on the run, and glimpses into her past, via emails beginning in 2005. I’ll admit, I wanted to yell at her a few times. As much as she acted like she to knew how to run, she made enough mistakes to indicate that it wasn’t second nature to her. Or, maybe to suggest that she was tired of running.
The suspense was well-written, as were the gradual reveals into Tanya’s past. As Tanya runs out of options, the reader gets closer to discovering what happened all those years ago. And, finally, everything falls into place.
A compelling psychological thriller. Dare I hope that Lutz will explore Blue’s story, sometime in the future?