BOOK OF THE DAY

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Watching You
By Lisa Jewell
Atria
$2600
ISBN 978-1501190070
Publication Date: December 26, 2018

Watching You

Review by Melissa

A clever play on perspective, taking things out of context and assumptions—something most of us are quick to make—collide in this compulsively readable watchable storyline.

The central theme of being watched or being the watcher is what elevates this novel from what I consider typical suspense to something much creepier in feel. There’s a host of participants running rampant throughout, the mystery found in deciphering which of the watchers/watched are in fact driven by dark motives.

Is it the headmaster, Tom Fitzwilliam, a man that garners way too much attention?

Or maybe it’s his young newlywed neighbor, a woman with a crush who tends to put herself in precarious situations.

Is there some modicum of truth to the nonsense the crazy mother of one of Mr. Fitzwilliam’s students is constantly spewing outside of the painted houses of Melville Heights?

And what about Freddie, Mr. Fitzwilliam’s teenage son—is it possible he’s guilty of more than just watching all of his neighbors and chronicling their every move?

One thing I’ve come to expect from Lisa Jewell, an oddball cast; my thoughts and feelings for said characters typically running the gamut. This time, not so much. Instead, I wallowed in neutral territory where this nosey bunch was concerned—not particularly enamored or filled with disdain—finding them just interesting enough to keep me engaged.

Naturally, as the majority of suspense novels tend to, Watching You starts off with a dead body. A woman’s lifeless corpse strewn across a kitchen floor, accompanied by one piece of pivotal evidence lying in a pool of blood. Something not easily explained away by the owner, yet in hindsight, maybe too obvious?

For those readers that fancy themselves part-time literary sleuths, this is one sure to keep you guessing. Lisa Jewell—and just about the entire cast—put in quite a bit of work, the goal being to throw readers off the scent. Unfortunately, I figured things out earlier than I would have hoped to. Don’t worry, the answer is not blatantly obvious and in no way did figuring things out hinder my experience. In fact, of the four Jewell novels I’ve read to-date, this is the one I struggled the most to set down for any length of time. Meaning, I had to force myself to put it aside to play pretend at being a functioning adult.

Oh, and did I mention the short chapters? Creepy vibe + murder plot + short chapters = reading frenzy.

*Thanks to Atria for providing a review copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.