The Girl on the Train meets Rear Window, The Watcher is an absolutely addictive and on trend commercial psychological suspense read, with a captivating unreliable narrator and some powerful narrative twists.
She’s watching you, but who’s watching her? Lily Gullick lives with her husband Aiden in a new-build flat opposite an estate which has been marked for demolition. A keen birdwatcher, she can’t help spying on her neighbours. Until one day Lily sees something suspicious through her binoculars and soon her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead. Lily, intrigued by the social divide in her local area as it becomes increasingly gentrified, knows that she has to act. But her interference is not going unnoticed, and as she starts to get close to the truth, her own life comes under threat.
But can Lily really trust everything she sees?
The Watcher felt like something a little different, in terms of its writing style and interesting storyline. The story is told from the perspective of Lily, through her journal-style entries she’s writing to someone – we’re not sure who for most of the novel – and so we see her thoughts, feelings and actions in her own voice. This voice tells the story in quite an odd narrative style, using very short, often disjointed sentences, and though I know this is Lily’s voice, it really made me feel a bit bewildered at points. This really adds to the unsettling (and at times, downright bizarre!) style of the story!
I often felt like I was seeing things through an odd haze, but couldn’t put my finger on why. It just didn’t feel normal. To start with I didn’t really enjoy the confusion, but I became used to this abstract, unsettled kind of feeling as the novel went on. Without giving too much away, the end of the book makes you realise that almost everything is in this book is included for a reason, and I really liked how, at the end, you realise that a lot of what you thought you knew wasn’t quite right! These are often my favourite types of story.
I had no expectations or prior ideas of this book, having purposefully not read any reviews or coverage before starting it. I therefore found that I was really surprised and intrigued by various parts of the novel, and finished the book feeling like I’d read something that was different, whilst still having the element of suspense and mystery that I so enjoy in this kind of story. I did find it a little hard to grasp what was happening at some points, which slowed down my progress of the book, but if you feel the same then I say carry on reading, because it will become clearer (though, if you’re like me, you’ll probably still end it feeling somewhat confused!) Well worth a read though and full of suspense.