The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz (2016)

The PassengerWhen Tanya Dubois discovers her husband Frank’s body at the bottom of the stairs, she panics. She had nothing to do with it, but she instantly goes on the run and assumes a new identity. Again. She can’t afford to have the police looking into her background. We don’t know why, but we know she is escaping a past that involved another person’s death. Now Amelia Keen, she ends up in Austin, TX, where she meets Blue, a woman whose own murky past means she immediately recognizes a fellow liar. Amelia has to trust Blue when circumstances force them into an unlikely criminal partnership. But in no time at all, the past appears on Amelia’s doorstep and she’s on the run again. She sheds identities like socks, steals without shame from fellow travellers on trains and in bus stations, and never stops looking over her shoulder. It’s a fast-paced read, and the narrative is tense and so far as I can tell, realistic. The dialogue is authentic (except for the silly romantic entanglement with cop Domenic), and the various settings right across the United States add an interesting road trip layer. Tanya/Amelia/etc. takes a huge risk by maintaining an email relationship with Ryan, a former lover from the real past she is running from. This device serves to slowly reveal elements of Tanya/Amelia/etc.’s story but never enough to provide the full picture, keeping the reader intrigued to the final pages. I don’t know – were I on the run like this, I’d cut all ties. Why take the risk? The nonstop action is compelling and entertaining, to be expected from the bestselling author of the Spellman Files series. Excellent summer fare.
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About Michelle Mallette
I'm just trying to keep track of the books I've read - what I liked and what isn't worth re-reading. My work as a librarian has included youth services so you'll find a wide range of interests from picture books and teen dystopia to adult sci-fi, road trip novels, and nonfiction. Comments and communication is always welcome.

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