4 out of 5 stars
James “Jamie” Buckby and Clare, his wealthy partner of 10 years, start hanging out with a younger couple Kit Roper and his girlfriend, Melia. Kit and Jamie commute back and forth from work together on the ferry, and Clare and Melia know each other from working at the same real estate firm.
On one of their last commutes home before the Christmas holiday, Jamie and Kit get in a heated argument. Kit doesn’t make it on the boat the next day. Police question Jamie as the last person who saw Kit before his disappearance, suggesting that an anonymous passenger tipped them off about the fight.
Set in London, this commuter thriller starts slowly, takes several turns round the bend, and picks up speed as we reach our final destination. Although there were some expected tropes in this character driven crime drama, there were a few twists that I didn’t see coming. Generational divides and economic differences play an interesting role in the conflict. Envy over youth and money shape the choices that the characters make.
The writing is compelling and features the atmospheric language I’ve come to associate with Candlish. I like how Candlish subtly used song titles and bits of lyrics to help set the mood, and in some cases, foreshadow events to come.
The book also weaves in some commentary on technology, noting that “privacy [is] a setting now, not a human right.” Jamie also makes an astute observation about smart phones: “What power these things have, as if words lit on a screen are more significant than those produced by the human voice.”
Overall, I thought The Other Passenger was worth the read. I will be adding Candlish to my list of must read authors.
My review of Louise Candlish’s newest book, The Heights, can be found here.