About The Watcher
Published: 29th December 2016 (HQ)
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 has received lots of attention on social media and when I saw it’s comparisons to Hitchcock and Rear Window, I couldn’t wait to get started as I am a fan of Hitchcock films.
This book took a few pages for me to settle into due to the way in which it is written, short snappy sentences from probably the most unreliable narrator ever! However, once I got used to it, I loved its flow, the writing style is unique and most definitely adds to the tension that is in absolute bucket loads!
The book is written from Lily’s perspective, almost in the form of a journal so it’s clear that the narrative is straight from Lily’s very confused mind which completely immerses the reader in the plot from the start. Lily lives with her husband, Aiden, in a new build in an up and coming trendy area – however old high-rise flats are being flattened to the ground to make way for these new apartments with residents being evicted therefore there is a lot of tension between the two sides. Lily likes to watch people from her window, almost like a bird watcher (the references to bird watching and the recording of people through bird watching note taking is a great touch) however she sees more than she is expecting when she witnesses a woman, bruised and appearing to be in distress through the window of an apartment opposite hers. What ensues is Lily’s spiral into obsession into finding out what has happened – then with the death of an old lady in the condemned flats, she is adamant that there is a serial killer on the lose that needs stopping.
This book is both brilliant and thrilling, there are so many uncertainties that it becomes so confusing but in a good way – the way in which Armstrong builds up to a reveal, and the reveals themselves, are fantastic.
Upon reading other reviews once I finished, The Watcher seems to be a bit like Marmite – I am most definitely in the love it camp, I’ve not read a book like this and think it’ll be sometime until I do again. This is an exceptionally dark plot, woven brilliantly to build the tension and the unravelling of Lily’s mind which has difficult scenes but completely compelling and addictive.