Honestly, there is nothing I haven’t liked about The Watcher. It has all the ingredients for an enthralling and heart-thudding, edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller, with a uniquely altered way of narrating events of a complicated and twisted story.
Lily is a female voyeur who finds solace in watching her neighbors opposite her apartment through her binoculars. One night, she goes to visit one of them, Jean, whose body is discovered dead the following morning. Lily is convinced Jean had been murdered, which is when she begins to use her voyeuristic skills to catch the killer. Eventually, the female protagonist realizes there might be something wrong her, mentally.
Can she trust herself? Can she trust what she sees?
Through impressive descriptions of the actors’ characteristics and emotions, the author uses a bit of a Hitchcock-ey vibe while telling the story, sort of like a modern version of Rear Window but that is original in its own way. This is the kind of read that is vivid, invigorating and does not cease to make you feel eager to know what happens next.
At one point midway through the book, the author abruptly gives up on the intensity of suspense, but I later concluded that this specific duration represents a pause that is necessary for the reader to divulge the true self of the protagonist along with her back story, in order to justify her thoughts and actions.
The heart-thumping moments begin to merge, slowly converting to an unexpected and ambushing twist. It is then when the writer brings you face to face with a prolonged and perfectly plotted one-on-one confrontation scene between the watcher and the killer. The horror messes with your mind completely.
On the other hand, Lily isn’t just another female character in a suspense novel but she is deeply flawed and given such a horrifying and dark personality that will often make you shiver. Although, I couldn’t help but feel tremendously attached to Lily’s character as I reached the ending.
If you’re familiar with Talese’s The Voyeur’s Motel, this will interest you widely. But most importantly, this is for readers who are looking for something more disturbing than what they would usually read.
It’s strange to think of this as my current comfort read but, as of now, Ross Armstrong is truly one of the few accomplished writers that are worth my time.