A small English town is rocked by the disappearance of a local woman, Tina. As the search continues, someone is targeting her former best friends for revenge. Lauren, Jess, Claire. They all hide secrets. Who knows what they did? Who’s watching them? The truth is stranger and far more sinister than they can ever imagine.
Hi and welcome to my review of We Watch You!
It is such a pleasure to talk to you about We Watch You today! Some of you might know N.S. Ford from her book blog where she shares reviews and discussion posts, and it was she who rekindled my interest in Daphne du Maurier with some excellent recommendations. I knew she was working on her own novel and considering her bookish tastes I thought her book might be a good fit for me. As soon as I laid eyes on the cover and the blurb, I knew I had to read it so I was thrilled when I was offered an ARC. I’m so happy to report neither she nor my spidey senses led me astray!
We Watch You hits the ground running by means of a prologue that talks about the human capacity for self-delusion and ends with the ominous words of the title: we watch you. Who?! Why?! Diving into a novel from a new-to-you author, you usually don’t need to read a lot to know whether or not their writing gels with you, and for me, that prologue was enough to know I was on to something good.
The principal storyline is told from the perspective of Lauren, who has just found out that Tina, one of her oldest friends with whom she has fallen out, has gone missing. Lauren is on the autism spectrum, which is most noticeable in her sometimes somewhat awkward social interactions. I really loved her, despite her naiveté and occasional guilt trip. One reveal seemed quite inevitable to me, but obviously not to Lauren, and I just wanted to shake her and shout at her to smell the bloody coffee!
Alternating with Lauren’s POV are old blog posts from the missing girl, letters and reports. This is definitely a set-up that worked for me, it keeps the pace up and it reveals much about the characters while simultaneously triggering all sorts of questions. It also makes for a very addictive read, because I always wanted to known what was around the corner.
We Watch You is a gripping psychological thriller that carefully peels back the layers to expose quite a few festering issues. Well, with most of the characters hiding things from each other, and often themselves as well, I guess there is lots to lay bare! How did four friends become three friends and an outlier and how does that bear upon the disappearance of Tina? Was she kidnapped, was she killed, did she run away, did she kill herself?! And how are her former friends connected, and all the mishap that is happening to them?
The search for the truth leads to the kind of finale that one does not expect from this type of story. Not gonna lie, I’m pretty sure it won’t work for everyone but I do love me a bit of a genre mash-up and I bloody loved that ending! With one of the characters hinting at something, I had this feeling about where this might be going, and I was over the moon when it turned out I was right!
We Watch You is a fab debut, I had a great time with it, and I honestly can’t wait for whatever N.S. Ford comes up with next!
We Watch You will be out in digital formats on 1 October. You can preorder it here.
Massive thanks to the author for the eARC. All opinions are my own.