Tanya DuBois—the first of our protagonist’s many names—didn’t kill her husband. But when he dies unexpectedly, she’s on the run again.
I fell in love with THE PASSENGER right away. I’ll go ahead and admit that my husband picked out this one for me. Based on the blurb, I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I checked out at Barnes & Noble with this one in the stack.
We follow Tanya-slash-other-names on a wild ride across the country. We’re never sure who she’s running from, who her mysterious benefactor is, or why she has currency to hold off thugs without drawing a weapon. What we know is that she has a secret.
“You can’t keep telling me to disappear. I’ve done what I’ve been told. I’ve disappeared enough. In the meantime, I’d like to continue this arrangement. Don’t disappoint me and I won’t disappoint you.
THE PASSENGER Review: Epistolary passages keep you reading.
Throughout THE PASSENGER, our main character communicates with a guy named Ryan. She’s named Jo in the emails they send back and forth. They’re in turn intimate and dismissive, which adds to the mystery. What does this mysterious Ryan have to do with anything?
THE PASSENGER Review: It all gets tied up in the end.
**NO SPOILERS ALLOWED**
In the end, we see various characters and their misdeeds or humanitarian efforts come together. It’s a beautiful thing when an author can make every past page matter on the last. That’s one of Lisa Lutz’s superpowers, I’m convinced, and while I didn’t see the ending coming, it felt like a perfectly natural resolution of events.
I won’t tell you how it ends, but I will tell you that it’s satisfying. This is one of the biggest question marks we readers encounter when picking up a new book. Will the end justify the hours we spend between the pages, following the characters on their various journeys and investing ourselves in their outcomes?
When the book is successful, I’m always grateful to the author.
THE PASSENGER Review: Definite hit.
This is a definite gut punch book. When I finally understood what was going on, I had to put THE PASSENGER down and regroup for a second. It’s horrifying.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it. The gut punches tell you how deftly the author wielded her words. You need to read this story.