Hardcover: 432 pages
1 Aug, 2013
There is something quite visceral about the intensity with which Michael Robtham instils in his settings, characters and scenarios and never more so than with his latest psychological thriller, Watching You, which sees the return of Professor Joe O’Loughlin and his unwanted cuckoo, Mister Parkinson, in a thriller that will have readers once more hankering for more as soon as they’ve finished.
Marnie Logan often feels like she's being watched. Nothing she can quite put her finger on - a whisper of breath on the back of her neck, or a shadow in the corner of her eye - and now her life is frozen. Her husband Daniel has been missing for more than a year. Depressed and increasingly desperate, she seeks the help of clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin. Joe is concerned by Marnie's reluctance to talk about the past, but then she discovers a book packed with pictures, interviews with friends, former teachers, old flames and workmates Daniel was preparing for her birthday. It was supposed to be a celebration of her life, but it's not the story anyone was expecting at all.
This, make no mistake about it, is a novel that is at times as unnerving as it is thrilling. Rather like one of those implausibly high vertical waterslides that seem to vanish into a mist just below your feet, you know in all good sense to leave well alone but something inside, imploring you to let go and enjoy the ride, makes you feel empowered once you have reached the end to the extent that repeating the experience is a must.
This is the power Robotham’s prose can have when at its best and, although this is more explicitly “in-your-face” than any of its predecessors, it the Robotham’s skill in recognising when less is very often more that truly makes him stand out as a writer and so engages the reader from the outset.
Ostensibly, this is a novel that explores stalking yet it is so much more than that as the author’s ability to twist scenarios into such beautifully designed patterns at such a heady pace is a joy to behold, so that with each passing phase something new has been discovered almost without it being noticed directly.
Exciting, enthralling, enticing and exquisitely crafted, Watching You is one of the finest examples of Crime Fiction writing on the shelves at the moment.