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The Other Passenger    by Louise Candlish order for
Other Passenger
by Louise Candlish
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2020 (2020)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Louise Candlish's The Other Passenger is a psychological mystery (or 'commuter horror story') told from the point of view of fortysomething Jamie Buckby, as he digs himself every deeper into a morass of his own making. Much of what happens occurs on a river bus traveling from St. Mary's Pier to Waterloo on the Thames in London.

Jamie works in a cafe, after his claustrophobia caused a breakdown that ended his previous career. He lives with his partner, Clare, in a mansion owned by her parents. There are hints of dissatisfaction on both sides - she pushes him to find a new career, while he is content with his low pay/low stress job. When they meet an engaging young couple, Kit and Melia, all their lives change. Childless themselves, Clare and Jamie jump at the opportunity to make new friends, who seem like 'the bee's knees', and are in the same situation. Jamie is immediately attracted to Melia.

Readers know that something serious has happened, in the first chapter, when Jamie is interviewed by police about Kit's disappearance, as soon as he disembarks from the boat. The story then moves back and forth in time to reveal how this happened. Jamie and Kit have been taking the river bus together daily and making more friends on the journey. Eventually, Melia and Jamie have an affair, which she initiates - readers wonder why someone so much younger and so lovely would be interested, and he seems weak. Clare finds out after Kit's disappearance.

The plot twists and turns around each of these rather unlikable leads to a rather surprising conclusion (in which only some get what they deserve) with a final twist at the end. If you enjoy psychological mysteries, dive into The Other Passenger.

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