I read this for "Free Space/Creepy Raven". "I am Watching You" by Teresa Driscoll which is a thriller/mystery.
Eh where to begin. Besides the poorly developed characters, the switching from first to third person, and the slut shaming that was thrown in for good measure, I don't know what to think of this book. The initial premise intrigued me, too bad that Driscoll decided that instead of sticking with one character throughout which would have made the book stronger, she jumped around to four other characters. I started seeing shades of "The Girl on the Train" with this book and for those that read my review of that book, it's not a compliment.
I just ended up losing interest in everyone. I only kept reading to see if I was right about the villain in this one. I was off, but honestly, the author doesn't even lay out any clues for you to get this is the bad guy/girl (being vague on purpose). It comes out of left field and the wrap up is just ham-fisted.
Ella (The Witness) is taking the train and noticed two young girls. She immediately decides she should keep an eye on them when two young men board the train and start talking to them. She eavesdrops and realizes the two men are fresh out of jail and the girls and the men end up talking and drinking together. She overhears the one girl's name (Anna) and is able to piece together that she lives on a farm. Ella is tempted to call Anna's parents or warn the girls for talking to these men. When she walks to get something and overhears one of the girl's having sex in the bathroom (Sarah) she gets upset that she thought they were nice girls and washes her hands of them.
When Ella wakes the next day after getting blitzed she is afraid she may have done something like call the girls mothers. Turning on the TV she is floored to see a broadcast talking about one of the girl's she saw on the train.
Cue a year later.
Driscoll follows several people throughout the book. The chapters are titled "The Witness (Ella), The Father (Henry), The Friend (Sarah), The Investigator (Matthew) and Watching....no spoilers to who that is.
Honestly the whole book reads as repetitive as anything. Ella's sections are just her defending why she didn't get involved (she brings up Sarah having sex in the bathroom and her own son watching porn and reading magazines with a disapproving air) and then realizing she needs to get some help when she starts receiving mysterious postcards in the mail blaming her for Anna's disappearance. Matthew, is dealing with the fact he's about to become a new father and is still adjusting to his life after leaving the police force. Henry keeps going over the last thing Anna said to him. And Sarah is hiding a lot more than you would think about her home life.
Driscoll chooses to tell Ella's sections in first person and the other sections except for the Watching sections in third person. It's hard to keep adjusting to the shift in narratives. Especially because each chapter is only a couple of pages long. I'm baffled that Driscoll just didn't stick with Ella. Maybe she didn't cause there's not a lot there. Ella is a florist, happily married, and has a son. Her focus on Anna would make sense if we got to see any semblance of the things that Driscoll describes after the fact.
Ella apparently got harassed when her name as a witness was released. People blamed her for not intervening. In the day of social media I can believe that something like this could have happened. It would have made sense if Driscoll showed that. Because a year later it seems most people have forgotten her except for Anna's family and the police.
The writing was so so. I realized after finishing this the main reason I got annoyed is that there is literally no clues to who the killer is and why. I think the main reason I loved "The Tokyo Zodiac Murders" is that the author makes sure that there are real clues for you to follow as a reader. You can solve the crime. The author throws out a twist that is ridiculous and you get no hint of who the killer is at all. Heck, I don't care for "The Girl on the Train" but at least the author left enough there for you to connect the dots.
The flow isn't great. The book has bright spots here and there. I liked Matthew and that was about it. I'm realizing now maybe him being the main character would have worked better. Heck Driscoll could have turned this into a series if she had him be the lead.
The ending was just the author trying to tie up loose ends. I honestly think there was a lot left to explain, but I was just glad to be done with this. At least I got it as a Kindle First pick for September.