Confessions On The 7:45
Harper Collins Pub.
Oct 6th 2020
Confessions On The 7:45 by Lisa Unger is a riveting thriller. This nail-biting story has at its heart psychological manipulation, lies, deceit, and secrets.
“It was in my head for a while. I did a lot of research on the psychology of a con artist, including reading the book, The Confidence Game by Maria Conapova. It is about the con artist, their scams, how they think, and how they find their mark. I thought how con artists only succeed if someone wants something, because that is what makes them vulnerable to the scam. This is the seed that started me writing this story.”
The plot begins when Selena Murphy misses her regular commuter train and ends up on the 7:45. There she has a chance encounter with the passenger sitting next to her. The woman, Martha, confesses that she is having an affair with her married boss. Selena, having just found out her husband Graham is having an affair with their nanny, is completely overwhelmed. Selena feels comfortable sharing her own situation, and even voices what she would like to happen to the nanny. But problems arise when the nanny does not show up for work the next day. On top of that, Selena is getting weird messages from Martha about meeting again. She begins to wonder if her husband had something to do with the nanny’s disappearance and what role did Martha play.
“I am always interested in those small moments of people’s lives. The emphasis is always on the big moments: getting married, going off to college, and getting a job. But there is that chance encounter: turning down the wrong street or missing a train. This dictates the course of someone’s life. It is loosely based on “Strangers On A Train.” How easy is it for people to remain faithful for a lifetime? I say that, yet I am in a twenty-year faithful marriage. But a lot of relationships do implode and fall apart. There are packs within a relationship, whether with a boyfriend/girlfriend, with the person someone chooses to be their wife/husband, or a friend. It is a negotiation, a set of rules that constantly change. Someone like my character Selena would never cross the line, but her husband did. In this book there is all different kinds of infidelity.”
There are alternating narratives between Selena and another character, Pearl. She is also having troubles in her life, having lost her mother to murder, and being raised by a con artist. It becomes obvious Pearl is also a con artist, a predator who is patient and careful. Readers wonder who is Pearl and why is she relevant to the story? Unger keeps people glued to the pages as they and figure out how all these characters will connect.
This mind-bender is reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers On A Train.” Both this story and Hitchcock’s are a reminder of the delicate facades and masks everyone creates around their lives. The cat and mouse game played by the characters only enhances the many twists and turns the story takes.