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I Am Watching You Paperback – October 1, 2017
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About the Author
For more than twenty-five years as a journalist―including fifteen years as a BBC TV news presenter―Teresa Driscoll followed stories into the shadows of life. Covering crime for so long, she watched and was deeply moved by all the ripples each case caused, and the haunting impact on the families, friends and witnesses involved. It is those ripples that she explores in her darker fiction.
Teresa lives in beautiful Devon with her husband and two sons. She writes women’s fiction as well as thrillers, and her novels have been published in six languages. You can find out more about her books on her website (www.teresadriscoll.com) or by following her on Twitter (@TeresaDriscoll) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/teresadriscollauthor).
- ASIN : 1542046599
- Publisher : Thomas & Mercer (October 1, 2017)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 299 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781542046596
- ISBN-13 : 978-1542046596
- Item Weight : 11.2 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #3,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I feel like warning other people who love mystery not to bother -- unless you are quite forgiving and don't expect any real surprises or things that make sense.
So, SOME spoilers
The writing is flat, the characters are flat, but this didn't, at first deter me from reading it. Agatha Christie is not exactly a great prose writer, and she does manage to surprise the reader and to build interesting cliffhangers and plots.
About 50% into the book I was getting a bit fed up, because there was NOTHING happening. There were chapters ending with stuff like "She couldn't tell anyone what she knew" or "He had done something disgusting" -- not exactly this, but this kind of attempt to create suspense.
Well, if you do that, then DELIVER. Instead, it just kept going on, and on and on in the same vein, with us not finding anything else, just more of these from the same characters.
One girl has a problem with an abusive dad (GROAN) and thinks he may have something to do with her friend's disappearance -- resolved off page. The dad of the disappeared girl has such a big secret he almost kills himself in a barn. The secret turns out to be so pathetic that I got mad at having to read his thoughts for chapters and chapters. Then, shoot, maybe the girl isn't dead, and we have several chapters of EVERYONE looking at the TV at some police negotiation with a kidnapper.
But HEY, it isn't her. The way they saw that it isn't her is sooooo ridiculous that I laughed quite a bit.
In the meantime, chapters and chapters about the woman who saw the girls on the train but didn't tell the police they went off with young men because she couldn't decide if that was slutty, dangerous or normal. She is supposed to be the main character and she goes on and on and on and on about her flower shop.
Then about her son, who got his girlfriend pregnant.
NONE of this has any bearing on the mystery.
Then she hires a private detective because she is getting postcards saying "I'm watching you."
A lot about the detective, his pregnant wife, their baby being born. Not a lot of detecting. Oh, also the "standard police trauma" (he shot an innocent kid) being introduced late in the game and in a perfunctory manner.
There are some police people with a grudge against each other which means zilch to the investigation and changes nothing.
Clues that are not clues (just people acting strangely) are given chapters and chapters and chapters to then mean nothing and often get resolved off book.
About halfway into the story a POV in italics of the typical psycho ("I'm watching you...I don't like her to be watched...etc") gets introduced and is repeated in the same cliché way several times.
FINALLY, the mystery is solved in the MOST RIDICULOUS POSSIBLE WAY. Not through anyone figuring anything out, not by the several police that have been introduced or the private detective -- but because the flower lady SEES A PHOTO.
At this point I was covering my mouth in disbelief that any book that sells this much could be so awkward, badly written and unsurprising.
Just think of the worst, most awkward episode of one of these TV series about crime. It will be better than this, because it will, at least, be forced to have clues and real suspects.
I am AT A LOSS! Truly. I loved Gone Girl, I thought Girl on the Train was disappointing after 60%, this one was just a HUGE waste of time for anyone who truly loves mysteries and wants to follow clues, suspects and be surprised. If you're like that, give this a WIDE berth...
It's hard for me to get used to the British lack of tension in a mystery, if this is what this was. Using a knife as a weapon, though dangerous, isn't as scary as a gun. You can outrun, or outmaneuver a person with a knife, but it's hard to outrun a bullet. She tries to make the use of the knife seem really threatening. Maybe up close and if the assailant has a hold of you, but they have to catch you first. Any smart kid can dodge a knife. I just didn't find this very tension-filled at the end. Sorry for the spoiler alert.
I found this an okay read, but I kept thinking, when is something going to HAPPEN! The author's attempts at ending chapters with a hook, left me frustrated. Nothing was revealed until the epilogue. If this is her style of writing, I probably won't read any of her other books. They make me want to throw it across the room, which I couldn't because it would break my Kindle.
Some reviews have made claims to the effect that an astute reader may figure out the ending. I consider myself reasonably astute, but I was so far off on my theory that I was thrilled at the actual ending. I'm impressed if you can figure this one out; you're a much better detective than I am.
The character development is surprisingly rich. It starts off fairly flat, but gains depth and complexity as the story evolves. The author switches perspectives each chapter, and terminates each one with a mini-cliffhanger, leaving the reader somewhat frustrated at the dangling threads. However, by the end of the book, the threads are all tied up.
So, I highly recommend the book, and suggest that you stick with it through the beginning where the tone comes across as dreary and whiny. It more than pays off for your patience in the end.
Top reviews from other countries
This book sees a 16 year old girl go missing after she travels to London (with her friend) to celebrate the end of her GCSEs. Along the way, it explores what happens to a witness who saw the girls travelling up to London, and the friend who "got cozy with" one of the ex-convicts they met on the train.
It is a bad book.
I've seen the book described elsewhere in reviews as slut shaming one of the girls for "getting cozy with" one of the ex-cons on the train (it's used as an excuse to explain why the witness didn't report the girls or the former prisoners). That wasn't slut shaming, it was more... an examination of a middle classed suburban woman's response to how the "youth of today" behave. To my mind I'm not 100% sure how a female character written by a woman can shame anyone in that way.
One of the issues I have with the book is its presentation of class. It's made clear the girl being judged is a bright, sparky, working class kid. Yet here the poor girl is presented as living on spaghetti hoops and cheese sandwiches when she`s not around her "middle classed friends", and it made me wonder how many council estates Ms Driscoll has been to, and how many working class kids she's met. So that's one problem with the book.
Another problem I have is there isn't much description of the characters. Beyond being typically disorganised 20-somethings, I have no idea what Karl and Anthony (the ex-cons) look like. Seriously, go back and read the book again if you've read it already. THERE ARE NO DESCRIPTIONS.
More generally, people are described through their things (middle classed mums and their Agas, farmers and their quad bikes guns boots and dogs, working class families living on council estates, and eating rubbish). In short they're at best short hand descriptions, and at worst it's stereotypes. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think I am.
The final problem with the book is you have no way to work out who the murderer is. I know sometimes you're think "so he's been introduced here so he's a likely suspect" in other books, but you literally had no way to work out who the culprit was. Maybe it's because it's not written from the point of view of the police, who usually drive whodunits forward, so we don't get to see the clues as they come up, but trust me when I say there are so few clues, you won't be able to solve it on your own.
The sad thing is you won't care either, because you won't be invested in the characters.
The story is not very interesting, and not well written. In fact it would have been better to have been told in one tenth of the pages.
1.) Plot coincidences. All authors do it, but the "luck" in certain people being in certain places made my suspension of disbelief extremely difficult to keep up.
2) Unlikable characters. I've never read a book where I have such distaste for every single character. None are sympathetic. The main character, Ella is a complete wet blanket. The way she molly-coddles her pathetic son is so outside of believable that I wanted to put my foot through my kindle. And the way he mopes around makes you just want to grab him by the scruff of his neck and tell him to take some responsibility for his actions!
3.) Flowers. I don't know where to even start with this. Clearly the author loves flowers. I know this as I've just spent hours reading, in minute detail, about them. This served not purpose to the plot, other than at a forced last paragraph. Cut this out and you have a much leaner book.
It's not all bad. Like I said, I kept with it, and I didn't see the ending coming, but there are just a few too many issues with this to make it anymore than average.