The Other Passenger” by Louise Candlish

Reviews by Mary Cole, youth services librarian at the Mary Jacobs branch and Manny Miracle, adult services supervisor at the Mary Jacobs branch

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Summary: The story of two couples forging a friendship that spirals into a psychological thriller when one of them goes missing.

Mary’s POV:

’Tis the season for some crime and thrillers. I read this over Christmas, and the action in “The Other Passenger” starts in December, as well. 

The timeline is crucial in this slow-burn psychological thriller, so pay attention! This was a bit challenging on e-audio (I listened through the Libby app), however, the narrator’s engagement and English accent lend a strong sense of place and timing. 

The main characters are two couples: 40-somethings barista Jamie and his wealthy long-term girlfriend Clare, and 20-somethings Kit and Melia, who become engaged and then married. Clare and Melia meet through work, and the couples begin to socialize despite some lifestyle differences. Without giving anything away, let me ask: is it a surprise that there was a conflict in the works?

When Kit goes missing just before Christmas, the suspicion falls onto Jamie. There are a series of flashbacks leading up to Kit’s disappearance that cast doubt on Jamie, Melia, Clare, and even the other commuters. What unfolds is a web of lies, half-truths, and uncomfortable realities. 

Keep reading because the action picks up in the last quarter, and the ending will be a very satisfying surprise. Give this one a try if you like drama and a thriller (no gratuitous violence, etc.- this one is all in your head!). 

Manny’s POV:

I discovered Lousie Candlish through her last book, “Our House,” my favorite read of 2020, so it was with delight that I suggested her new tome, “The Other Passenger” for this book review. 

The novel excels at providing readers with a residents’ perspective of London, describing in detail the everyday business of living in one of the world’s best known cities. London is as present a character as any of the denizens who occupy the lives of Clare and Jaime, self-described Gen Xers living in a beautiful home in a respectable neighborhood just a five minute walk from the Thames.

What follows is a story about generational privilege and attitudes, facades both real and real estate and the types of power that holds sway in relationships. The book does not invite the reader to love any of the characters, each more flawed than the next. It is bracing to see characters fully embrace the raw hunger that drives desire and their suffocating lack of self-awareness and projection.

Stick with this one all the way through and I promise if you read to the very bitter end, there is a payoff. And also read “Our House.“ So good.

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