Although she was not an exceptionally studious child, Hawkins loved literature by Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, and C.S. Lewis. Agatha Christie shaped her love for twisted novel plots. As a finance journalist, she published a book titled ‘The Money Goddess.’
In 2009, she began to publish “chick lit” novels that she enjoyed but was unsatisfied with. Aware she was holding back some of her potential in mystery, she delved into a darker genre. Her fifth book ‘The Girl on the Train’ became one of the best-selling novels of 2015.
Confidently, Hawkins believes she is better suited to the life of a novelist, and rightly so. This article offers a list of her best books.
About three months after its release in 2015, the novel sold over one million copies. Three women narrate the story from their perspectives. The main narrator, Rachel Watson, is a divorced alcoholic with the most unstable account. Rachel’s alcoholism leads her to lose her job, yet she follows her old routine of taking a train to London and back. She enjoys fantasizing about the lives of a lovely couple she can see from the train. She eventually names them ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason.’
Hawkins quickens the curiosity of the reader when Rachel catches Jess kissing another man. Feeling betrayed because she lost her husband, Tom Watson, to infidelity, she tries to help Jason when Jess goes missing.
Soon, the author introduces the narration of Megan Hipwell, initially known as Jess by Rachel. Anne Watson’s narration comes next. Although Rachel is fortunate to witness an event that explains what happened to Megan, she has an unsure account because she was completely drunk. She accuses Megan’s therapist, but there is no evidence against him, and he is released.
‘The Girl on the Train‘ peaks when Rachel recovers her entire memory of the night Megan went missing. She talks to a suspicious Anne about it, and when Tom attacks, she kills him.
Reviewers named ‘The Girl on the Train’ the next ‘Gone Girl.’ Before this novel was published, it had acquired film rights.
Into the Water
After the success of ‘The Girl on the Train,’ this novel was published. It became a Sunday Times Bestseller and got featured on The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers of 2017. The plot follows the town of Beckford, well known to possess a pool where many people have died over the years.
After the unexplained death of Nel Abbott, her sister Jules Abbott returns to take care of her niece, Lena. Many are disturbed, yet some are glad Nel is gone. Nel’s daughter, Lena, insists she knows what happened to her mother. She believes she jumped into the ‘Drowning Pool’ where many women in the town have died. She is also upset about the death of her friend, Katie.
Jules and Nel had a weak relationship because of a childhood incident, but unlike Lena, Jules does not believe that Nel committed suicide. After listening to her last voicemail begging for a meeting, she thinks someone attacked her sister. Jules informs Detective Sean Townsend about this, but he is distressed because his mother drowned in the pool some years back.
While investigations are on, Hawkins uses complicated versions to keep the reader guessing the wrong perpetrator. Almost everyone in town becomes a murder suspect.
The plot unfolds with Patrick (Sean’s father) confessing to the murder of Nel and his wife, Lauren. A few months later, the main characters leave Beckford. Sean goes to an isolated location where he finally admits he murdered Nel Abbott.
Employing her understanding of the human intellect, Hawkins creates a thriller with a twisted plot that hinges on the unreliability of emotions and memory. Critics described the book as “monotonous and unimpressive,” however.
A Slow Fire Burning
This contemporary murder mystery is Paula Hawkins’s third major work written under her real name. Similar to earlier books, ‘A Slow Fire Burning’ uses many points of view, and the narrators are mostly unreliable. The book delves into the persistent effects of different tragedies experienced by three strangers.
When Miriam, a neighbor, finds the dead body of Daniel inside the boat he rented, the prime suspect is Laura Kilbride because she spent the night and fought with him. Still, Miriam believes that Laura may be an innocent suspect caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. She also believes Laura has psychological struggles as she does. Laura got hit by a car as an adolescent and suffered severe injuries. The perpetrator was her mother’s boyfriend. Miriam, on the other hand, was abducted as a child. Her friend died, but she was able to escape.
Another suspect is Carla Myerson. She is Daniel’s aunt who lost her son. Initially, she accepts that Angela (Daniel’s mother) carelessly left her son (Ben) to fall to his death. She tries to forgive and keep in touch with her and Daniel. Unfortunately, Carla stumbles on Daniel’s book showing that as a kid, Daniel intentionally opened the doors, then threw out a toy so that Ben would crawl towards the edge of the stairs, exposing him as Ben’s murderer.
Although Miriam tries to protect Laura and set Theo Myerson up for Daniel’s murder, Laura gets arrested because items like the murder weapon and a scarf with blood are in her house. When the detectives check for fingerprints, it turns out the knife and scarf belong to Theo. Theo was formerly married to Carla. He is also an author that stole Miriam’s memoir and passed it off as entirely his work.
During interrogation, Theo confesses to Daniel’s murder stating that he believed Carla and Daniel were sexual partners. He confesses to a crime he is innocent of because he is aware Carla did it after she saw the book Daniel had drawn.
Eventually, Carla admits to Irene that she has stabbed Daniel to death. She goes to jail, and Laura and Theo are released.
Theo receives letters from someone claiming he stole details from his life and used them in his novel. Finally, he confronts Miriam, who says they are from the man who abducted her many years ago. Working with Theo, she lures him to them, and they possibly kill him.
‘A Slow Fire Burning’ highlights the themes of betrayal, trauma, the power of social status, and secrets. Hawkins raises suspicion of a character based on their narration, then leads the reader to a different route.
Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista
Under the pen name, Amy Silver, Hawkins published this book in 2009. The story is of Cassie Cavanagh, who is content with being a Personal Assistant. She is in a romantic relationship with a man who buys her gifts, and she can afford to be extravagant.
Unfortunately, however, Cassie becomes redundant from work and is in debt. Also, she loses her boyfriend. With difficulty, she accepts prudence and learns about budgeting.
Uncomplicated and predictable, the personality of Cassie Cavanagh is quite relatable to young women.
What other books did Paula Hawkins publish under the pen name Amy Silver?
Amy Silver is the pseudonym of Zimbabwe-born British author Paula Hawkins. Initially, she wrote romance under her pen name, then delved into mystery under her real name. ‘Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista’ (2009), ‘All I Want for Christmas’ (2011), ‘One Minute to Midnight’ (2011), and ‘The Reunion’ (2013) are the four books published under her pen name.
What genre is ‘Into the Water?’
‘Into the Water’ by Paula Hawkins is a story that features suspense, mystery, thriller, and drama. In a small village in England, a strange river is responsible for the death of many townspeople.
Compare ‘The Girl on the Train’ with ‘Into the Water.’
‘Into the Water’ and ‘The Girl on the Train’ are both outstanding. ‘The Girl on the Train’ catapulted Hawkins into stardom, and although critics insist ‘Into the Water’ was not as good as the novel before it, the book became a Sunday Times Bestseller. The opinion of which book is better depends on the literary taste of the reader.
What is the significance of the title ‘A Slow Fire Burning?’
The title of this book can is depicted in various ways. It can refer to the gradual and slow investigation of the primary murder in the book. Cautiously, the detectives gather information to bring the murderer to justice. The gradual revelation of events adds suspense to the plot.
Also, the title portrays the slow-burning rage, hatred, and anguished feelings the characters experience. Their emotions add to the conflict in the story.