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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

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...

But if she didn't kill Frank, why doesn't she stay to explain to the police that he fell down the stairs?  Instead, Tanya Dubois packs a suitcase and heads out with no particular plan in mind.  In this way, Lutz keeps the reader engaged, but puzzled.  Feeding little "hints and allegations" (can't resist--if I see or hear the word hints, allegations just follows) along the way, Lutz allows this woman, who assumes many names in her travels, to intrigue and mystify us as she makes her flight across the country.

When she lands in Austin, with the new name Amelia Keene, she meets Blue, a bartender who sees more about Amelia Keene than anyone else notices.  When things begin to go wrong and Amelia/Tanya's past catches up with her, Blue is inadvertently and drastically involved.  For a while, I thought this was going to be Thelma & Louise story,  but Lutz doesn't allow that to happen.  Both women have pasts that seem to be closing in on them, but they work out a plan, and each proceeds in her individual journey.  New names, new places, but Amelia/Tanya/Debra is never able to stay long in one place regardless of how she wishes for a rest from those who pursue her.

Hints of Amelia/Tanya/Debra's past emerge through emails from a previous life addressed to Jo.  We know that even before Tanya and her marriage to the unfortunate Frank, there is something in her past that she has been running from.  Plenty of twists and turns and a conclusion that I DID NOT EXPECT.

This was one of those books that kept me (figuratively) turning the pages (actually, swiping the e-reader frantically).  Considering that I never plan to be on the road and off-the-grid, it may seem odd that the idea of trying to live incognito and fleeing from unknown assailants always fascinates me.  On the other hand, for someone who willingly reads about versions of the zombie apocalypse, maybe not so strange.  

Lisa Lutz is best known for her Spellman books about a family of private investigators.  I have not read any of them, but I will.   Besides The Passenger, Lutz has also written another stand alone -- How to Start a Fire, which is also now on my TBR list.

Read in Oct., 2015; blog review scheduled for Feb. 16, 2016.

NetGalley/Simon & Schuster

Mystery/Thriller.  March 1, 2016.  Print length:  320 pages.

12 comments:

  1. I saw Lisa Lutz at an event a few years ago and she was funny, dry and droll. The PI series is a humorous one. I'm suspecting this book is not necessarily. Or maybe at all. But, if it has Austin in it, well, I've got to read it. :-)

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    1. No, this one wasn't really humorous, but it was very interesting. And, yes, it does have Austin in it! :)

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  2. Ooh, yes please! I'm putting this on the library and bookstore wishlist as we speak. I've heard of the Spellman Files, but haven't read them nor did I know she wrote stand-alone suspense. Sounds really intriguing.

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    1. I liked it; Lutz kept me curious the entire time. :)

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  3. This sounds good and yes, intriguing! Will have to add this to my wishlist.

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    1. As the woman took on different names and different lives, I rooted for her, even though I had no idea exactly what had forced her to run.

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  4. I like "twisty" mysteries; I'll have to see if this one's available at my library. Great post!

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    1. This one is a bit twisty, and I liked it!

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  5. I'm very intrigued by this one. I've read one of the Spellman books and didn't like it but this seems totally different from that series. I hope you'll enjoy them though.

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    1. I don't really know if I'll get around to the Spellman books unless one is offered through NetGalley. I struggle to keep up with all the books I want to read!

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  6. I plan to read this, probably this summer on my flight to Oregon, since I really enjoy a good thriller that will keep me engrossed. I only skimmed your review, since I prefer to go into a book completely cold, but wanted to see what your final reaction was to the book. Glad to know it's a page-turner!

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    1. I skim reviews, too, if they catch my attention enough for me to think I want to read the book or if it is already on my list. :)

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