Release: October 1st 2017
Received: Kindle First
Warnings: Animal death, Strangulation
I received I Am Watching You through the Kindle First program. I am under no obligation to leave a review, but am choosing to do so.
When I was debating about with Kindle First book to pick this month, my eye was immediately dawn to the wonderful cover for I Am Watching You. Upon reading the description, I was sold. To have the main perspective be that of a witness is such a different concept; I just couldn’t pass it up. Add on the ethical and moral debate of whether or not she did the right thing (or the wrong thing), and you’ve got an interesting base for a story.
Warnings first: There’s a decent amount of animal death described at one point. Being that one set of characters’ lives on a dying farm, I sort of anticipated this, but it was still rough. It’s all mostly contained in one chapter (chapter twenty) so it can be skipped if you want (I’ll admit I had to start skimming rather than reading, as the details/length got too much for me). There’s also a scene with strangulation (I don’t want to say more than that because of spoilers). So just be aware of it.
I was really torn on what to give this book for a rating. My immediate instinct was to give it a four star rating, but if I’m being honest with myself I was pretty disappointed with the ending (more on that later) so I ultimately had to take off half a star for that. I think the book on the whole was a fantastic read; it just had a lackluster conclusion – if it had been changed in any way I could see myself being a lot happier with it.
The novel actually rotates between a few different character perspectives. The main one is Ella (aka the witness). We also get glimpses from a private detective, the missing girl’s (Anna) parents, and Anna’s best friend. These different perspectives lead to confusion, as each one has their own theory about what happened and their own set of secrets. It quickly becomes a game of who done it, so to speak.
I really enjoyed the constant debate about Ella’s actions, or lack thereof. Was Ella in the right for minding her business? Was she wrong for not stepping up and saying something, even though no crime was committed in her presence? Does an adult have any right to just step in and parent for kids that are not her own? Was Ella wrong to judge Sarah the way she did? I feel like all of the answers to these questions would vary wildly depending on the outcome of the situation and who was asked. So many moral debates to sink my teeth into, I loved it.
The writing style is just a bit choppy, with partial sentences and the like. This would have been ok with me, on an occasional basis, but having every character do it did break the fourth wall a little bit for me (it reminded me that there’s a writer behind everything). Though honestly this became less of an issue as time went on – I found myself getting so wrapped up in the novel that I started overlooking little things like that.
Ultimately it was the ending of the book that disappointed me the most. After all of this wonderful build up, it felt like so much of it was either undone or unused. It’s a shame, really. Plus the author did something that’s a pretty big pet peeve of mine. (Serious spoiler ahead) Given the clues and evidence dropped throughout the book, it is literally impossible to figure out who the killer is before he is revealed. Considering how good the rest of the book was, I found this particularly upsetting. There were multiple characters that had been set up as potential killers, and I greatly would have preferred the killer to be one of them. It would have made a lot more sense to me.
Despite my disappointment in the ending, I truly did enjoy this book. I’m wholly intending on looking into more of Driscoll’s works (like I don’t have enough books in my TBR pile), and keeping an eye on any future works from her.