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?
Ross Armstrong has created an atmospheric and creepy story in his debut novel The Watcher and he takes the reader on an unsettling ride. I have to admit I was drawn to this novel from the comparisons to Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train which is one of my all time favourite thrillers. I can see why comparisons have been made, but The Watcher I found was quite different and in my opinion, darker. There is a real sense of menace from the opening pages that carries right through to the end and Lily was a character who I really engaged with. There was some great characterisation in this book.
Lily Gullick is a keen birdwatcher. She has just moved into an apartment in a new block of flats with her husband, Aiden and she enjoys nothing more than spending her time watching her neighbours. But when her elderly neighbour Jean is found dead, Lily makes it her mission to uncover the truth about what happened and to find the person who committed the crime. But someone is determined to stop her from finding answers and Lily soon finds herself very close to danger.
I loved Lily’s voice in this book. Ross Armstrong drew me into her world, and she made for a great protagonist. I admired her determination to get to the bottom of what had happened to Jean, even though she had only met her once, if you were in a spot of trouble, she would be a good person to have on your side. I do also love an unreliable narrator, and Lily really made me unsure of who, around her, I could trust, and if I could even trust her.
The twist which comes towards the middle of this book is devastating, Ross really took me by surprise and there were times when I wanted to reach into the pages and just give Lily a hug. Ross’ writing is pacey and hugely addictive, although some may say that it is a bit of a slow burner, for me, there was never a dull moment, and it is Lily’s character that really drives the story and hooked me as the reader.
The Watcher is an impressive debut. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ross Armstrong does next. Thank you to Anna Massardi at HQ for inviting me to take part in this tour.
Publication date: 21st September 2017
Print length: 384 pages
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