Louise Candlish (Our House, Those People) just gets better and better and this, for me, is her best yet. The Other Passenger is absolutely gripping, full of breathtaking twists.
The book’s narrator, Jamie, almost 50, travels to work every day on the Thames Riverbus, an expensive and luxurious commute. One morning as he disembarks at Waterloo he’s met by the police, who question him about a missing fellow-passenger and younger friend, Kit Roper. It’s just after Christmas, and Jamie was the last person to see Kit on the riverboat home after work the night before Christmas Eve.
What follows is a beautifully written and complex psychological thriller, the central theme of which is envy, avarice and sexual betrayal. Like so many of Candlish’s novels, the emotional key to this sinister plot is a beautiful house, and the blood-curdling jealousy it inspires.
This terrific and elegantly written thriller is extremely timely. Millennials these days, facing a future of what they believe is penury compared to their elders, who enjoyed free education, a cushy jobs market and affordable houses, are often crushingly envious of the older generation they feel have had an easy ride. So, in this novel, Kit and Melia, trendy young professionals who nevertheless can’t afford to buy their own home are consumed with jealousy when they meet Jamie and Clare, who live in a beautiful Georgian house in an affluent area of South London. So, begins an elaborate and bewildering honey trap which ends in death. But whose death? And who was the killer?
It’s a fascinating and ingenious read, made all the more compelling by the atmospheric descriptions of Kit and Jamie’s daily Riverboat commute: misty, dramatic and other-worldly.
Candlish was inspired by Hitchcock; he would have been proud.