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Today we are really pleased to welcome back bestselling author, Lisa Unger
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.
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.
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.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for the story?
Lisa Unger: 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.
EC: You use a mask as a metaphor at a time when everyone must wear one?
LU: You are referring to the quote, “She’d tell herself that she didn’t know them. She didn’t know that beneath the mask, he was a monster.” It is a major theme in much of my work in that we all wear masks. There are conditions of time when the mask slips and the real person is revealed. There are also the blinders people put on for those in their lives. This is also true in the story as well.
EC: The story’s main starting off point is the chance encounter, the ‘what if’?
LU: 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.”
EC: What role did infidelity play in the story?
LU: What does it mean? 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.
EC: How would you describe Selena?
LU: She is attractive, successful, and a good mom in her middle phase of life. She thinks, feels, and wants to have it all. The reality of her situation is very different than the social media version. She is efficient, reliable, understanding, and a fighter.
EC: Selena made some bad choices?
LU: Another layer of the book is how people lie to themselves. People lie for a million different reasons. Selena picks Graham over another courter, Will, because she wants an adventure. Will represented safe and secure but is dull. She also lies to the police to try to protect her family. No one makes great choices all the time.
EC: How would you describe Graham, Selena’s husband?
LU: A jerk, bully, and someone who did not respect women. Selena chose him because of her father. This is true for a lot of women who have seen infidelity, abuse, divorce, or trauma. They all picked the bad guy, because they want to fix the bad man who was their father.
EC: What role did the train play?
LU: It is the ultimate limited space. Selena has been defined as someone’s mom, wife, and best friend. But while sitting on the train, she has time to think.
EC: Would you ever confide in a stranger?
LU: I wound not under any circumstances confide in a stranger. I am an extreme introvert.
EC: What about your next book?
LU: It is a character driven, psychological suspense story out in October 2021. As with this book, wearing a façade mask will come up. BTW: I started writing it before the pandemic.
‘WHAT A READ!… Completely engrossing, undeniably enthralling… The biggest five stars.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘A masterclass in storytelling… Unforgettable.’ Samantha Downing, author of My Lovely Wife
Everyone has a secret. Who would you trust with yours?
On Selena Murphy’s train home from work, a mysterious woman named Martha strikes up a conversation and shares a confession: she’s having an affair with her boss. In turn, Selena shares her own secret: she suspects her husband is sleeping with the nanny.
At Selena’s station the two women part, and Selena never expects to see her again. Until she receives a message. I’d love to continue our conversation. Can we get together? It’s Martha, by the way. From the train.
But Selena never gave Martha her number. She brushes the message off – until days later her nanny goes missing, and Selena begins to wonder if it’s all connected. Who is Martha, really? And what does she want with Selena?
Confessions on the 7:45 will have you gripped from the first page until the last. Perfect for fans of Harriet Tyce’s Blood Orange and A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window.
‘I was hooked from the first to last page… A MUST READ.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘Wowsers what a read… Absolutely loved it from beginning to end… The best book I’ve read in a long time.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘Wow!… Once I started reading I was unable to put it down.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘A “can’t miss” 5-star thriller!… I stayed up until 2 a.m. to finish it!’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘So addictive that I have been unable to put this down.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this book.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘Oh my goodness, I loved this book… I couldn’t read it fast enough.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘Full of twists and turns and it kept me guessing until the very end… By far the best book I have read this year.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘EXCITING AND EXHILARATING… An excellent novel.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars
‘Psychological thrillers don’t get any better than this.’ NetGalley reviewer, 5 stars