‘The Watcher’ is the latest book by Ross Armstrong.
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’ is a peculiar book, with an intriguing plot line and an even stranger lead.
The story is seen solely through the narrative of Lily Anna, a quiet, reclusive character who spends most of her days, watching her neighbours and imagining their lives. She lives in the well to do part of the estate, whilst other people live in poverty. She’s unintentionally snobby and keeps her distance from the poorer residents. But when an old friend called Jean is found dead, she begins her own investigation and finds herself beginning to question her own sanity.
The story is quite fast paced and with even though it flows solely through Lily’s narrative, there’s rarely a dull moment as she constantly speculating and investigating.
She regularly has a conversation with someone called ‘you’ and I found this to really keep me on my toes, as I guessed my way through the story wondering who ‘you’ was.
The story is eerily atmospheric and creepy from the beginning and is very much reminiscent of Hitchcock’s ‘Rear Window’ as Lily watches everything from the sanctuary of her window with only her husband, Aidan for company. The pair of them create stories about their neighbours but Lily invests most of her time and imagination in it. As she looks into death of her neighbour, she finds herself in danger, but she’s fearless and is determined to prove that her friend was murdered despite the circumstances.
Cleverly written with quite an unreliable and unstable lead character, ‘The Watcher’ is an intense story that made for unsettling reading. Filled with questionable characters and situations that made gripping reading, this book makes you wonder what really goes on behind closed doors.
You can pre-order The Watcher from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 21st September.