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Book Report: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

It’s hard to imagine anyone being able to just up and disappear, especially in the day and age of constant surveillance and social media.
But that’s exactly what Tanya Dubois did eight years ago and once she finds her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs in their home, it’s time for a repeat performance. While she swears up and down that she didn’t kill her husband, the questions the police are bound to ask risk exposing her and her dark past.

Tanya finds herself once again on the run, changing hair colors, cars, staying off the grid, and making a mysterious call to a man who can both help and harm her. The man pulls through with a new identity and Tanya, now Amelia Keen makes her way to Austin, Texas. Where she runs smack into another woman running from her past, a bartender named Blue, and two men ready to kill her. Blue, who we find out is running from an abusive husband and Amelia help each other secure different identities and head off in different directions, this time with colored contacts in tow.

It’s not long until our protagonist formally known as Tanya finds out that no matter what identity she takes, her past remains that, her past. Plus she gets to look forward to any surprises that come with her borrowed identities. Always looking over her shoulder and watching her lies slowly unwind, she travels across the United States simply trying to survive. Tanya/Amelia picks up a few more names, hair colors, and cars as the reader picks up more and more backstory. Her emails to her high-school sweetheart Ryan offer the best glimpse into Tanya’s motivations and really help pull you into the story and care about her, even as she makes rash decisions.

The Passenger isn’t this year’s Gone Girl or The Girl on the Train. The last twist wasn’t really needed and the ending felt a bit abrupt, especially considering the rather bulky build up. But, the suspense will keep you reading, entertained, and you won’t see many of the twists coming. I appreciate that Lisa Lutz really developed her protagonist, making her cunning and determined, likable but flawed.

four out of five

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