Review - The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Date Read: March 20, 2017
Source: NetGalley & Edelweiss

From the author of the New York Times bestselling Spellman Files series, Lisa Lutz’s latest blistering thriller is about a woman who creates and sheds new identities as she crisscrosses the country to escape her past: you’ll want to buckle up for the ride!

In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it...

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past?

With heart-stopping escapes and devious deceptions, The Passenger is an amazing psychological thriller about defining yourself while you pursue your path to survival. One thing is certain: the ride will leave you breathless.
My Review

I thought that this book was just okay.  I have been a fan of Lisa Lutz for a long time and have a great fondness for her Spellman Files series.  I knew going into this book that this was going to be a completely different kind of story and I was really looking forward to seeing what she would do with it.  There were things that I did like about this story but other elements were not quite as enjoyable.

The book opens with the death of Tanya's husband.  Tanya immediately leaves town and starts working on assuming a new identity.  Tanya tells us that she didn't hurt her husband, Frank, but we have no idea why she feels like she needs to leave town.  I was really curious about her motivation to run.  That wasn't a small decision and she knew exactly what to do so it was very obvious that Tanya had disappeared before.  Tanya changes her name several times in the story but for the purpose of the review, I am just going to stick with Tanya.

Tanya meets Blue in a bar when Blue figures out that she isn't exactly who she says she is.  They find themselves in a serious situation soon after they meet and they form an interesting friendship.  Both Blue and Tanya are on the run and are both hiding who they truly are from the world.  Blue's character was one that I didn't quite trust.  Blue just seemed to have a more criminal mind than Tanya did.

I did want to keep reading so that I could learn why Tanya felt she had to run in the first place.  If she didn't hurt her husband, it didn't make sense unless she had something else from her past.  The emails that were sprinkled in the book between chapters quickly hinted that there was something from her past that we hadn't discovered yet.  I also really liked the humor that was sprinkled throughout the book.  This isn't a funny story but Lisa Lutz's sense of humor is still very evident in the writing.

I was really disappointed by the ending of this book.  Seriously disappointed.  I read all of those pages eagerly awaiting a big reveal that caused Tanya to be on the run and it just didn't do a lot for me.  The big twist that was supposed to shock me at the end just added another layer of disappointment.

I am not really sure that I would recommend this book.  I do think that a lot of readers will really enjoy this book a lot more than I did.  I did like the book and I do consider 3 stars to be a good rating.  It just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be.  I do plan to continue reading Lisa Lutz's work in the future and commend her for writing a different kind of story.

I received an advance reader edition of this book from Simon & Schuster via NetGalley and Edelweiss.
About the Author

Lisa Lutz is the author of the New York Times bestselling, Edgar Award– and Macavity Award–nominated, and Alex Award–winning Spellman Files series and the novels How to Start a Fire and The Passenger. She lives and works in upstate New York.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


  1. I've actually seen quite a few mixed reviews of this book so I haven't picked it up yet. I managed to find it hiding at a local Ollie's store one day and grabbed it for $1.99 so it sits on my shelves waiting....Great review and hope your next read is much better.

  2. Oh boy! So sad that it built up all that expectation and then was a let down at the end. At least there were some good points too. I like the hint that there might be some unreliable narrating going on.

    Good review, Carole!

  3. I've been on the fence about this one. I like the whole premise of it but I've read a few reviews that said it was confusing and just hard to connect to and then with you being disappointed by the ending I'm just not sure I want to invest my time. I might pick it up at the library if I see it bu I don't think I'll go looking for it.

  4. Kinda like Thelma & Louise only more devious. I dig it. :D

  5. I really enjoyed the one Spellman Files book I read and want to read more. I love her writing. I have a copy of this one to read as well. I am sorry it didn't live up to her series. I definitely get the impression from the description of this one and your review just how different it is from her other books. It'll be interesting to see what I think when I get to it.

  6. Eh, well, that sounds disappointing. I'm pretty sure I'm on a waitlist for this at overdrive. Probably #55 out of 200 or so. Sounds like it may not be worth the wait!

  7. I did try a Spellman file, and that was a fail. But this one is different, and in the end you can never know

  8. Sorry this one didn't work for you, Carole. I've actually heard awesome things about this author. But I do get what you felt. I've just read a book that just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be myself.
    Awesome review, Carole.

  9. Oh man. Hate when the big reveal of a secret is a let down. Bummer the ending was a miss :(

  10. Sorry you didn't enjoy this one as much as you'd hoped. It's so frustrating when the end of a book, especially a thriller, is a letdown. Better luck with your next read!

  11. Oh no, Carole! That's really too bad... I have this book, too, but for some reason, I just haven't picked it up yet. Character motivation is important, and it doesn't seem like you got enough of that.
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  12. Aww that's definitely too bad the ending was disappointing! It sounded like it had a lot of potential. Hopefully her nice books will wow you! Thanks for the review!

  13. Ah, I really hate it when I am waiting for a big reveal and am getting all hyped up for it, but then it turns out to be a disappointment. I am really not for books like that so I don't think I will be reading this one :/


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