The Passenger

Originally published March 2016

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be someone entirely different, even for just a day?

Sure you have—we all do it. Daydream about trying someone else’s skin on. Maybe it’s to imagine a better life. Or maybe it’s to ponder worse, so we can find grace and perspective for the soul we really do inhabit, day in and day out.

In the case of Lisa Lutz’s latest, “The Passenger,” becoming someone different was a necessity for Nora Glass. How necessary, though, even she didn’t know.

I absolutely do not want to spoil even one page of this fantastic tale by delving into too many details. It’s safe to reveal that from the outset, readers are presented with few salient details other than the knowledge the central character, playing the role of a Wisconsin barkeep on the lam, is not who she says she is. And it’s a mystery that simply will not let go of you until you reach the end of the book’s 300-plus pages. It makes for a thoroughly entertaining, very quick read.

And if you want to get all introspective when you put the book down, consider this: Maybe things that appear to be the worst thing to happen, really do happen for a reason. And just because that reason isn’t immediately, or even ever, revealed, it doesn’t make it any less necessary. A lot of people believe in destiny. In Nora’s case, the invisible hand of Mr. Oliver is guiding her fate, and it may actually have an altruistic chord to it.

If you love thrillers, mysteries, or even just tales of survival, “The Passenger” should be on your bucket list. With a plot twist at the end, readers are left hopeful that even Nora will find some peace inside her old self, even if it takes another 10 years to get there.

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