Published October 6th 2020 by Park Row
Description: From master of suspense Lisa Unger comes a riveting thriller about a chance encounter that unravels a stunning web of lies and deceit.
Everyone has a secret… Now she knows yours.
Selena Murphy is commuting home from her job in the city when the train stalls out on the tracks. She strikes up a conversation with a beautiful stranger in the next seat, and their connection is fast and easy. The woman introduces herself as Martha and confesses that she’s been stuck in an affair with her boss. Selena, in turn, confesses that she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny. When the train arrives at Selena’s station, the two women part ways, presumably never to meet again.
But days later, Selena’s nanny disappears.
Soon Selena finds her once-perfect life upended. As she is pulled into the mystery of the missing nanny, and as the fractures in her marriage grow deeper, Selena begins to wonder, who was Martha really? But she is hardly prepared for what she’ll discover.
Expertly plotted and reminiscent of the timeless classic Strangers on a Train, Confessions on the 7:45 is a stunning web of lies and deceit, and a gripping thriller about the delicate facades we create around our lives.
This was a twisty, suspenseful domestic thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. When I started reading this one, it seemed like there were two different stories, maybe even three. I was not sure how these characters fit together, but once Lisa Unger shared those couple of tidbits to allow me to figure it out, I raced through the rest of it.
We know from the synopsis that there are two women who meet on a train, the 7:45, and share secrets. It is easy to tell strangers things that you don’t want to tell your friends. Selena has a troubled marriage and shares that her husband is having an affair with the Nanny. Martha tells Selena that hse is having an affair with her boss, a married man. What happens next is the thing of nightmares. The story is told from their Points of View. There are many characters in the story, and some of them change names, which adds another twist. The final twist is that the nanny disappears. As this mystery plays out we will learn more about Martha, who she really is, how and why she is determined to be a part of Selena’s life. Geneva is the really hard one to figure out. What really happened to her. I do not want to spoil this one for anyone, so all I will say is you need to read this one to find out more about these characters and their situations. As I have come to expect from Lisa Unger, this was a well plotted story, with great characters and twists. A psychological, domestic thriller that you will not want to put down. I was gifted a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.
About the Author: Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 (Oct. 2020). With millions of readers worldwide and books published in twenty-six languages, Unger is widely regarded as a master of suspense. Her critically acclaimed books have been voted “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, IndieBound and others. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.
Q&A With Lisa Unger
Q: Please give the elevator pitch for Confessions on the 7:45.
A: Selena Murphy is a young mother who is having a terrible day. When she gets on her commuter train home, it stalls, dying on the tracks. The beautiful stranger sitting next to her strikes up a conversation with a confession. Maybe it’s her awful day, or the drink she shouldn’t have had, or the dark of the train, but, whatever the reason, Selena shares a secret of her own. When the train comes back to life and Selena is finally headed home, she’s embarrassed. What would lead her to confess her darkest secret to a complete stranger? She hopes she’ll never see the mysterious woman from the train, ever again. But, of course, she will.
Q: There are so many twists in the story. Did you know the ending before you plotted all of the surprises?
A: When I sit down to write, I have no idea what’s going to happen, who’s going to show up or what they’re going to do day to day. And I certainly have no idea how things will end. It’s kind of a crazy way to write a book, but I’ve never done it any other way. I write for the same reason that I read, because I want to know what’s going to happen.
Q: Why do you love Selena and why should readers root for her?
A: As most of my characters are, Selena is imperfect. The pressures she experiences from the world around her are matched by those she places on herself. She is struggling, but she also knows she has reserves of strength from which to draw to overcome the obstacles she faces, some of which are catastrophic. I think we’re all stronger and braver than we believe ourselves to be, so when we’re rooting for Selena, we’re really rooting for the warrior within us all.
Q: Which came first: the characters or the plot line?
A: The characters, always. My stories always begin for me with a voice, someone with a story to tell.
Q: How do you come up with your stories? Is anything based on or influenced by real life?
A: Everything in fiction is autobiographical — and nothing is! If we’re writing from a deep and authentic place, then all of our experiences, our observations, the people we meet, the situations we observe, the conversations we have and overhear, inform our fiction. Sometimes inspiration comes from the news, from travel, from questions I have about people and the world. My fiction is always influenced by my real life but in really layered and mysterious ways.
Q: How do the ideas come to you for these bestsellers?
A: Every novel begins with a germ. A little zap of interest that starts me on an obsession for a particular topic. It could be a news story I read, or a sentence I hear or just an image that inspires me. One time it was even a piece of junk mail! Then, if that obsession connects to something larger that’s going on with me, I start to hear a voice or voices.I follow those voices, and they carry me through the narrative.
Q: Which of your books would you like to see televised or produced by Hollywood as a movie?
A: Any of them! Currently, THE RED HUNTER and UNDER MY SKIN are under options. So fingers crossed there! If I had to choose some others, I’d pick FRAGILE or INK AND BONE. I’d love to see my fictional town The Hollows come to life on the big or small screen.
Q: If Confessions on the 7:45 were made into a movie, which actors would you choose to play the lead roles?
A: I would cast Scarlett Johansson as Selena and Gal Gadot as Martha. The supporting cast would be important, too, and Anne Hathaway would be perfect as Geneva and I’d love to see Bradley Cooper as Graham.
Q: What was your last 5-star read?
A: I’ve read so many fantastic books recently! GOOD GIRLS LIE by JT Ellison, IF IT BLEEDS by Stephen King, and LITTLE SECRETS by Jennifer Hillier are some of my favorite recent reads.
Thanks for answering our questions Lisa.