Title: Watching You
Author: Lisa Jewell
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: December 26, 2018
Page Count: 336
My rating: 4 stars
About the book:
The instant New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the “riveting thriller” (PopSugar) Then She Was Gone delivers another suspenseful page-turner about a shocking murder in a picturesque and well-to-do English town, perfect “for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive” (Library Journal).
Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.
As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.
One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.
Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…
I have to admit that Watching You is only my second Lisa Jewell novel but with enjoying both of the ones I have read I do see why reviewers are usually raving about her stories. This is another great psychological thriller that is easy to become captivated by once you pick it up. The story is told from multiple points of view but still became easy to follow once getting started.
The book begins with a short diary entry from a young girl in love with her teacher in 1996 before jumping ahead twenty years with a prologue of a murder investigation. You may at this point think what in the world? Who’s murdered? What is going on? But then we get into the meat of the story which jumps back about two and a half months before the murder.
What Lisa Jewell has then done is take us back to this neighborhood before the murder ever happened and slowly introduce all the cast of characters that each have their own secrets and lies to follow. At the center of the story is Tom Fitzwilliam who is a teacher who seems to have a sort of charismatic way of drawing in those around him. Then between the story building up to the murder date we have flashes of the investigation after the murder.
I will admit it took a a few chapters to settle in and get used to the set up with this one but it was hard to put down once I found that groove. This is a bit of a slow build story but that pace complimented the amount of characters and situations happening to give the reader time to familiarize with it all and I didn’t find it to drag the book down the way a lot of slower paced reads are. By the time the ending of the book came around I had guessed this or that and the other but still ended up surprised at how it turned out so I definitely recommend checking this one out.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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About the author:
Lisa Jewell was born and raised in north London, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA TODAY bestselling author of over twenty novels, including The Girls in the Garden, The House We Grew Up In, and The Third Wife. To find out more, visit Facebook.com/LisaJewellOfficial, or follow her on Twitter @LisaJewellUK.