The Passenger by Lisa Lutz (A NetGalley Review)

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1, 2016)
Description from the publisher:

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

'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...'

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.

Told from Tanya's point of view as she tries to outrun her past, we're given glimpses of her secrets with these epistolary email clues between her and someone from her hometown.  As the story moves along, we gain a bit more of an understanding as to who the mysterious writer is to our heroine.  

It starts off at a rather frenetic pace, especially when she meets 'Blue.'  However, somewhere after the second or third persona she takes on (out of at least FIVE), it shifts into a slower gear.  It was a bit tedious reading about her stealing another driver's license, going to another cheap motel room, etc. that it was losing it's urgency.  Lather, rinse repeat.  

The hometown email exchanges power the story along, as it gives just enough little glimpses into her past to keep you intrigued and wanting to know the full story.  Honestly, I think that the author should have parsed out MORE in these messages, because the 'big reveals' in the last part of the book were huge and plentiful.  I think that the very end would still have had the desired gut punch, even if Lutz gave more hints earlier in the book - especially during the repetitive parts.  I also would have liked to know more about my main character.  I was having a hard time deciding whether I should root for her demise or redemption.

In the end, it was some compelling stuff and it actually reminded me a LOT of a major plot line in Veronica Mars, which is one of my all time favorite shows.  I find myself still thinking about it, days after I've finished.


  1. I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but I love your writing style. I come back to read your posts all the time. I was shocked to see that you changed the blog to Born and Read, but I'm a lot like you--I love to run, read, write, and travel. (I don't think you've ever listed travel as one of your passions, but based on your posts, we have a lot in common, so I'm guessing it is...?) Anyway, I love your racing recaps, so I hope to see a lot of those in the future, too, but I also look forward to your blog as a book review blog!

    1. Well, thanks for always visiting - I hope it didn't come as TOO much of a shock :) Yes, I love to travel, I have a couple of posts about the adventures I've gone on around the world with my mom. Once I stayed home with the kids, though, my free time and finances for such travel has changed! And for sure, when I race, I'll recap it.