Book Review: Strangers on a Train

STRANGERS ON A TRAIN | Patricia Highsmith
08.28.2001 (first published 03.1950)| W. W. Norton & Company
Rating: 4/5 stars


Guy Haines and Anthony Bruno are passengers on the same train. They have never met before and come from two different worlds. Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce. Bruno is a vengeful, wealthy, but unemployed man trapped under his father’s control, who is looking to escape his reality. Bruno has wild ideas of murder and starts to manipulate Guy into the plan of swapping murders with him in order to commit two perfect crimes. Guy becomes trapped in Bruno’s world as this chance meeting causes his life to spiral out of control.

When I think of classics in the crime fiction realm, Patricia Highsmith and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN are instantly what pops into my mind. Thanks to the encouragement of a Hitchcock movie/book buddy read, I can finally check this one off my list! 

It blows me away that in 1950 Patricia Highsmith debuted with such an intricate and devious novel as STRANGERS ON A TRAIN. This book is filled with twists and turns that could easily stand up to present day writing, albeit with some prejudices that certainly don’t fit today’s standards. 

Highsmith has created a fascinating cat and mouse story between Guy and Bruno where the reader gets a bird’s eye view into both of their lives and the influence that their meeting has on the futures of these men. I really loved the psychological case study aspect of this book and the examination of both character’s personalities and flaws. There were a few times when I would grow bored from what I felt was repetitive information, but overall I was very invested in the story.

This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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