Top positive review
Reviewed in the United States on May 3, 2017
I bought this one on a whim. The title made me smile—for some reason it struck me as rather spoofy rather than an attempt at “me too, me too” as most books with “Girl” titles are doing. The cover was great, the blurb sounded good, and it only cost 99 cents, so I took the plunge.
This is a simple book. There are no literary gymnastics on display. It’s a straight up tale without a myriad of threads to work through and try to put together. There is no constant back and forth through time. There are no alternating points of view. Plain old 3rd person narrative. Kinda nice…
Leighton Jones was an average cop at best. His career took a downward turn after a certain traumatic event. His boss didn’t like him for unfair reasons. He is forced into early retirement at age 60. Vicki, a young woman in her early 20s, is worried about her friend Laurie. Laurie was taking a bus to visit Vicki, but never showed up. The police force isn’t impressed that there is a crime involved, so Vicki asks Leighton for help. Leighton isn’t terribly impressed either, but what the hell.
What we have here is a little gem of a book. Its strong points are the pure creepiness of the story and the touching (platonic) relationship that develops between Leighton and Vicki. These two folks are damaged, and we get to know them pretty well. I was impressed with how fleshed out these characters are considering the novel is only 208 pages. The creepy titer stays strong throughout this macabre read. We never find out much about the baddies, which bothered me at first, but after thinking about it, I think Mr. Brown handled this beautifully. I also want to point out that the author does a fabulous job with the hot, dusty, arid setting of southern California. I could practically feel the sweat pouring off my brow and the grittiness of my irritated eyes. I could almost see the wavy mirages hovering over the long endless highways.
And that bus.
I highly recommend The Girl on the Bus for those looking for a fast, sinister, atmospheric read. Don’t get hung up on the title. Trust me, I enjoyed this book more than The Girl on the Train and never had the desire to pick up Gone Girl. I have my eye on this publishing house, Bloodhound Books. They only have about 48 authors and 60 books in their stable, all thrillers or crime fiction. I have now read 3-4 of them, all winners. I tried to scan their website last night looking for another little treasure, but it was a very slow go as almost every cover and title made me stop to read the synopsis. They don’t seem to use Net Galley, but their prices are rock bottom. Keep your eyes on Bloodhound Books. They are rapidly becoming a favorite publisher of mine.