The Watcher by Ross Armstrong

watcherTwo buildings opposite each other, one a new set of flats, one a decrepit block scheduled for demolition. Lily Gullick, a keen birdwatcher, lives in the new building with her husband Aiden, and has developed the unfortunate habit of not just watching birds – she finds her neighbours across the road just as fascinating. Until the day that one of them dies and she comes to believe that murder may be involved.

But Lily needs to deal with the social divide between herself and the people from the old block before she can make any progress. With suspicion growing, not just of her suspects, but also of herself, is she right about the death being murder? And as her suspicions begin to narrow, are they narrowing in the right direction?

The debut novel from Ross Armstrong, this is out on Friday, and it’s another one for fans of the unreliable narrator. The narrative is given in the first person, as Lily gives a day to day update to a mysterious someone, and it bounces about a bit in time. The narrative is an interesting one, making more of a spin on Rear Window/The Girl On The Train than one might expect. But as is often the case with the unreliable narrative, the need to present the narrator herself as suspicious can make the narrative itself a little hard to follow for this reader, at least.

At the end of the day, the plot is pretty straightforward, in terms of the crime that has been committed, but the presentation raises it beyond this. Despite some issues with pacing in the early sections, fans of the genre should enjoy this one. There’s a good surprise about two thirds of the way through, but I would have preferred more of a surprise in the plot itself. Still, it’s Well Worth A Look.

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