May 20, 2019

The Woman in the Window by author A. J. Finn

There always seem to be one or two fiction potboilers currently titillating the public and seem fast-tracked for Hollywood. One such book is The Woman In the Window by A. J. Finn. The narrator is an agoraphobic child psychologist named Anna Fox who is mad for old suspense movies. Film buffs will recognize the book title as a 1944 Fritz Lang movie with the same name.

Dr. Fox has a lot in common with the Jimmy Stewart character in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, both thinking they may have observed a murder from their voyeuristic window vantage points. Fox ups the ante by recording what she sees with an expensive camera. Anna Fox also suffers from drug and alcohol addiction along with her inability to leave her home so you begin to doubt her perceptions of reality and her very sanity. The book’s depiction of her agoraphobic symptoms when she does venture outside are harrowing and all too accurate.

Players and suspects in the mix are her husband and daughter who do not live with her, a handyman tenant in her basement apartment, a psychologist and a physical therapist who make regular house calls and all of her neighbors who are characters in her personal cinematic production. What is true? Who can be trusted? Is our narrator truthful and trustworthy or able to discern those qualities in others?

And yes, the author (in real life, Dan Mallory, an editor at William Morrow) already sold the film rights for The Woman In the Window to a production company that is developing the property even as you read this.

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