You’d never know it, because I write these in advance, but I started this book in the middle of November, and I hadn’t read a book in two or three weeks. That’s a long time for me. I just couldn’t get into the other book I was trying. I finally gave it up and turned to my reliable advanced readers.
I’ve seen Lisa Jewell’s books around a lot, and I knew she did some suspense/thrillers, but now I’ve finally had a chance to read her when I snagged an advanced copy of her latest book.
In Watching You, Jewell weaves together the stories of several people, none of whom you know who to believe.
Joey Mullen and her new husband have recently moved in with her brother and his pregnant wife and are adjusting to life in a ritzier neighborhood. But Joey’s never had her life together, and even though she’s got a job, a husband, and a place to live, she’s still being tempted by the wrong choices.
When murder comes to their quiet little village, no one is sure who to suspect: Joey, who a witness places near the scene, the neighbor boy who spies on everyone, but especially women and high school girls, or the neighbor woman who displays hints of mental illness. Everyone’s got motive and secrets, but the police are going to find the truth.
Jewell’s book is written mostly as the weeks/months leading up to the crime. Interspersed are transcriptions of police interviews with various characters. Jewell never reveals who the victim was until the end, which aids her in keeping readers guessing about the perpetrator as well. While the book was a fast read, I’m not completely sure that the twists had enough hints throughout the story. Plenty of thrillers simply throw a curve ball at the end as a way to catch readers off guard, but a good book will have just enough clues that, once you know the answer, they seem obvious, even though they were obscure during the reading. Jewell planted some, but I think it could have used more, instead of focusing so much on Joey and her poor choices.
That said, Joey’s poor choices were a crucial part of the story, setting up the motive. Joey finds herself enamored with the head of the local school, despite both of them being married. But the Joey isn’t the only one enamored with him, and he’s got secrets to hide, just like the rest of the neighborhood.
Overall, despite how creepy I found several aspects of Jewell’s characters, I did enjoy her book (enough to start in on one of her others). I’m interested to see how her other thrillers hold up. And when you’re considering how to spend your Christmas money, put Watching You on your list, it’ll be available December 26th.