I’ll admit that Watching You was the first novel by Lisa Jewell that I’ve read. I do own a few of her other books, but haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. However, after finishing this story, I have to say that I am already craving another one of her thrillers!
Watching You takes place in a small English town called Melville Heights, where everyone seems to know something about one another. A large part of the book’s atmosphere relies on the fact that certain characters are always watching what goes on the neighborhood. From a teenage boy named Freddie, who enjoys taking photos of people and keeping tabs in his notebooks, to a mother who is convinced she is being stalked, many people seem to have their eyes glued on each other.
As someone who grew up in a small town where everyone knew each other, this sentiment really resonated with me. It can be hard to keep secrets when everyone is (seemingly) keeping tabs on you. Thankfully, the rest of the plot, which involves a mysterious murder, wasn’t as familiar.
The book opens with a police transcript regarding a murder. You also quickly learn that a high school student is in love with her English teacher. What could these two things have in common? Well, you have to read through the entire story to find out!
Throughout the novel you meet numerous characters: Joey, a newlywed who falls for a local school’s headmaster, Tom; Joey’s brother Jack and his wife Rebecca, along with her husband Alfie, who all share a home together; and a number of high school students. Their stories are all weaved together, and more police records and interviews are scattered throughout each chapter.
The setting of the book, and the individual narratives surrounding each character kept me totally captivated. I found myself more interested in their unique stories than I did the overall plot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Rather than trying to solve the mystery, I found myself rooting for specific people, and hoping that they would get happy endings.
Because of this, the plot twist totally caught me off guard, and I was left feeling a little mad at myself for not figuring it all out sooner. However, getting caught up in a story is always a good thing, and in the end, I enjoyed the story more than I would have if I spent too much time trying to play detective.
Watching You is definitely a thriller, but it’s also a captivating story about life in a small town. I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, or a character-driven plot.
Watching You will hit shelves on December 26, 2018, and will be available wherever books are sold. Thank you to the publisher for an electronic copy of this book via NetGalley.