This was my second read and I have learned my lesson - just forget about moving from your seat for ANY Reason as it is pointless to do so, because Lisa Jewell Hooks you in very quickly and so just accept that nothing will get done until you read the last syllable!
The opening chapter sees a policewoman processing a crime scene. An unidentified person lies dead on the kitchen floor. We then rewind to two months earlier and cover the weeks leading up to the murder, with intermittent flash-forwards to police interviews with various neighbours.
Several chapters in and I had concluded that the majority of the characters weren’t very nice people. There were a few that had likeability potential, others I just felt plain sorry for, and two in particular that frankly made my skin crawl. It also became clear early on that almost every character was either watching a neighbour, being watched by a neighbour, or sometimes both. They lurked in bushes, took photographs, recorded video, used binoculars, looked in windows, followed one another, and bumped into each other on purpose. Disturbing behaviour, right? At least that’s what I thought...
Then the last half of the book pretty much took everything I thought I knew and threw it out the window. Lisa Jewell is the queen of misdirection, and I’m the sucker that fell for it. I still can’t get over how wrong I was. And that last page – man-oh-man, so good! Aside from edge-of-your-seat crime suspense the author always succeeds at injecting a lot of emotion and heart into her stories. I admit to tearing up a couple of times. ‘Watching You’ is every bit as impressive and memorable as ‘Then She Was Gone’ in my book. Run, don’t walk, to read it!
Neighbors can be the nicest. And the creepiest. Sure, they are good for a cup of sugar. Or taking your mail in when you’re on vacation. But if they are of the peeping Tom variety or get a little too close for comfort and you’re not ready to put the house on the market, what’s a neighbor to do? Exactly. In Lisa Jewell’s newest novel WATCHING YOU, everyone is perfectly cozy in the posh neighborhood when young newlywed Joey and her husband come home to live temporarily with her brother and his pregnant wife. It’s all fine and dandy until they meet handsome neighbor Tom, super star teacher and his sort of weirdo wife and teenage son.
Jewell keeps readers, along with the rest of the neighborhood, looking over their shoulders with this sinister, who’s coming out tonight so engaging thriller.
Finally a thriller that lives up to its billing! Within one chapter, I knew I was ready for an all-night read of WATCHING YOU. Set in an area of Bristol, England, this is the tale of charismatic, yet creepy Headmaster Tom Fitzwilliam, those who love him, those who loathe him and those who fear him.
What is it about Tom that is so magnetic, wonders Joey Mullen, who with her new husband, moves in with her brother and sister-in-law two doors away. He is nearly twice Joey’s age and yet she feels an instant, almost sexual attraction to him. Little does she know that Freddie, Tom’s teenage son, is secretly recording her every interaction with his father.
Jenna Tripp, on the other hand, is unsettled by Tom. A student at his school, she is discomforted by his seemingly inappropriate relationship with Bess, her best friend. Jenna grows so concerned that she finds herself becoming friendless. As if this weren’t enough for the young teen, Jenna is the daughter of a paranoid mother, who is convinced that Tom is stalking her.
Added to the cast of characters are Tom’s enigmatic wife, Nicole; women from his past; Joey’s young husband, Alfie; her brother; and an old diary. Oh, and a violent crime scene!
Working backward from the bloody crime scene, Lisa Jewell spins a tale filled with intricate twists. Just when I thought I had put the puzzle together, the pieces no longer fit. WATCHING YOU is an old-fashioned whodunnit; in fact, I had to reread the epilogue and am still shaking my head. Her characters are...characters, every one drawn so vividly. Despite the intricacies of the plot, the story is straightforward. No weird Quentin Tarantino-esque time travel; no interchanging first person points-of-view - these vehicles for storytelling are getting tiresome for me.
Lisa Jewell has been a favorite of mine since I read her first book. WATCHING YOU might be her best work yet.
Lisa Jewell is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. She keeps the plot twists and suspense in her latest novel "Watching You." It's a quiet neighborhood, but does have it's quirky characters so when Freddie begins his project "The Melville Papers" he quickly notices the strange goings on. But he IS one of the strangest parts, clicking photos from his room. He chronicles the comings and goings of his neighbors, including Red Boots (Joey) who is obsessed with his father, Jenna Trip, a teenager with a paranoid mom who just may be more sane than she appears and the strange goings on in his own house. The novel begins with various viewpoints and chronicling obsessions, but soon comes together after the murder of Freddie's mom. But who was the killer? His dad, a school principal and suspected pedophile? Red Boots -- the neighbor obsessed with him? Jenna's mum? Someone else? As the story comes together the twists and turns keep you guessing. No spoiler alert here (although I did guess the killer, but not all of the "why.") No spoiler here -- you'll need to read to the end like the rest of us.