Ever since reading The House We Grew Up In, I have been a huge fan of Lisa Jewell’s writing, and am very happy she has taken the plunge into writing psychological thrillers. Jewell is a master of characterisation, and her portrayal of flawed and disturbed characters usually drives the story for me! Watching You is a very apt title for her latest novel, as everyone in this book is spying on one another. Joey watches Tom, Jenna watches Bess, Freddie uses his telescope to spy on the whole street, and Jenna’s slightly crazy mother thinks she is being watched by just about everyone else (she has a point). With all this spying and lying going on, there is a constant sense of menace and tension in the air, belying the idyllic setting of the colourful painted houses in this expensive neighbourhood.
As usually is the case with Jewell’s novels, no one is quite who they initially seem. Dark secrets simmer just below the surface and will ultimately lead to murder – and I dare you to predict the ending of this one! Most of Jewell’s novels take part in a small, closed setting, and this one is no exception, featuring neighbours in the small housing community of Melville Heights, much like one of her previous books The Girls (which I loved). The author uses multiple POVs to bring her story to life, which in this context worked very well for me. I love slow burning, character driven novels where people present only the parts of themselves they want others to see. Jewell does a great job in gradually stripping them of their masks, layer by layer, until the ugly core is revealed. Most of the characters here surprised me with their revelations, which made for some very interesting dynamics.
It is impossible to go into this story any further without revealing something that may spoil the surprise for other readers, so I will just say that it starts with a bang (or more accurately, a corpse) and then takes you back in time to unravel the mystery. The path to enlightenment may contain some clues but is also paved with red herrings, so the armchair detective has his / her work cut out for them. Tense, creepy and utterly addictive, the story soon drew me in and I was utterly absorbed with these dysfunctional characters until the very end.
*Thanks to NetGalley and Century for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.* I have read a number of Lisa Jewell's books previously, so was expecting good things from 'Watching You' and it did not disappoint. Joey Mullen has returned from working abroad and settled in to life in Bristol with her new husband, Alfie. Then the local headmaster catches her eye and nothing will be the same again. Freddie Fitzwilliam likes to watch people. He knows he is different, but he doesn't know why. And he knows something isn't right with his parents. Jenna and Bess seem to be typical teenage girls, best friends for years. However, Jenna's home life is not all as it seems. So many threads to this story, that all come together in an action-packed and thrilling climax. I read this book voraciously, keen to know the next piece in the puzzle. An enjoyable and fast-paced read.
This is Lisa Jewell’s sixteenth book and while I read her early ones, somehow she fell off my radar. Over the last number of years I’ve been reacquainted with her more recent books and I think they have all been 5 stars from me. In this latest book ‘Watching You’ it’s a case of ‘Who’s Watching Who?’ My goodness this was a great book. It was so convoluted with threads twisting round, red herrings everywhere that I’m not even going to attempt to explain the storyline. Think teenage crushes, obsessions, family, friendships, secrets and revenge. It all came together at the end with my heart in my mouth for the last few chapters and it was something I never saw coming. What can I say.... Lisa Jewell has excelled again and I can’t wait for her next one. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an ARC to read.