Careful who you sit next to
Jaimie and Kit are commuter friends; they take the same ferry and sit next to each other every day. They chat and bond, so when Kit doesn’t show up one day, Jaimie thinks it’s strange but thinks nothing more of it. But when he gets off at his stop, the police are waiting for him.
Kit’s wife, Melia, reported him missing, and another passenger says that both men had a heated argument the night before. Jaimie tells the police that the witness is lying, Kit and him are friends, and his wife can vouch. But who was this other passenger, and what exactly do they know?
The book through my criteria lens:
What first grabbed my interest was Candlish’s prose and character work. I utterly enjoyed the early dialogues between Jamie and Clare. The banter put a permanent smile on my face, and they got me thinking #relationshipgoals at first glance. As their relationship comes crumbling, to me, it became clear that Clare is the #goal. She was the reason the relationship worked, and honestly, I want to be like her when I grow up!
She is such a strong, multidimensional character. She is strong in her sense of self and lives her emotions with the confidence of a person who knows who they are and loves the skin they are in. Where most characters shone, Kit was lacking a little. I wish I had known more of him. His thoughts and motivations weren’t prevalent in the story, and then I realized that his disappearance had so many moving parts that the reader was privy to what mattered. But in a novel with so few characters, I prefer when I get to know all of them equally.
The Other Passenger is one of those books with a plot that might not be the most original and is familiar enough for the reader to know they’d enjoy it, but the execution nails it out of the park. In my opinion, Candlish delivered the perfect thriller – fast-paced, enthralling, it’s the book you can’t put down, and the tension is high from the beginning to the end. I felt like I was in a car in the fast lane, and the driver would pull amazing tricks every time I was getting too comfortable with the journey.
My personal feelings:
I loved how we started with the police interview and know nothing about the crime or the characters. You feel the author dropped some golden nuggets, but anything can be a red herring without context. It might not be for everyone, but it made this puzzle-loving reader very excited! After this great opening chapter, we are left on a cliffhanger as we are thrown back into the past when Kit and Jamie met. From then on, we get this dual timeline until we get the whole picture.
I’m always iffy when we get a single narrator because if they are unreliable, it gives my chair detective winning streak a run for its money. Jamie was the perfect narrator choice, in my opinion. I wanted to suspect him and did try to guess if he was unreliable, but he was just so pathetic that I often caught myself thinking of him as a victim too! Candlish’s character work is amazing! I already have other books of hers lined up because I can’t get enough of her style!
My total rating: 4.5
I mention this book in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlT8GRzOGTk&t=7s
Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Simon & Schuster Canada, Louise Candlish, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of The Other Passenger.
Until next book, be the hummingbird!