Title: I Am Watching You
Author: Teresa Driscoll
Published: October 1, 2017
Obtained: Kindle First October Pick
Synopsis: Ella Longfield overhears two teenage girls flirting with two attractive ex-convicts on a train to London, but passes it off as nothing to be worried about. The next day, news breaks that one of those girls, Anna Ballard, has gone missing in the night. A year later, Anna is still missing, her family is torn apart from the stress, and Ella’s life has been turned upside down. As the only witness who came forward, she has received so much hate mail for not reporting the scene she saw on the train that day. One piece of hate mail stands out: black postcards with sinister messages, saying she is being watched. This leads to her and a PI working to figure out who is sending the postcards and, eventually, what really happened to Anna.
When I first started this book, I really felt like it was all over the place. There were so many elements to the story that just didn’t connect. I was intrigued to find out the ending, so I kept reading to find out what happened. Luckily, in the end, all of those little pieces fit together so neatly to create a really great mystery!
Different Points of View
I Am Watching You switches between multiple perspectives. The first is, obviously, the witness: Ella Longfield. She has experienced such a whirlwind of hate after coming forward as a witness after Anna’s disappearance. Her business suffered, she questioned her mental state constantly, and has slightly neglected her family due to all of the stress. She seems like a genuinely apologetic woman, trying to make amends and not involve the police in her problems when Anna’s family has had such a rough time. I really enjoyed getting to know her and experiencing the issues in her own life. At first, I didn’t think most of these issues were pertinent to the storyline but, I promise you, it all makes sense in the end.
The other POVs are Anna’s father: Henry Ballard. He’s a farmer with a wife and another daughter who is obviously hiding something. We get the sense from early on that his secrets pertain to Anna’s disappearance. His own life is in shambles; he has had to sell off some serious acreage to pay the bills. Being a farmer isn’t exactly a lucrative career. Then there’s the friend, Sarah, who was with her that night and is hiding her own secrets. It’s easy to tell that she feels guilty for what she did that night, but we don’t find out until the second half of the book what exactly she did wrong.
The final POV is the private investigator, Matthew Hill, who was hired by Ella to determine who is sending her the postcards. We get a glimpse into his life as well, but his most meaningful experiences involve the police investigating Anna’s disappearance.
Obviously, when you read the title, it’s clear that someone is watching Ella. We get short chapters as the watcher, where it’s obvious this person’s mental state is very fragile. He or she has created an obsession with Ella and wants to be involved in her life.
“I just need space to think. I need the noise in my head to stop and I need all of these people to…stop looking at her.”
I read this book mostly at night before bed, and I seriously got the creeps from it! I was almost afraid to be near windows with the idea that someone was watching ME. That’s how I know a thriller is really good. From then on, I knew this would be a great ending.
Every aspect of I Am Watching You showcases different stages of parenthood and having children. It was subtle, but I figured it out near the end of the novel. We get to experience what it’s like to lose a child, like Anna’s parents; what it’s like to be a new parent, like the Private Investigator Matthew Hill; what it’s like as a child to be neglected and abused by a parent, like Anna’s friend, Sarah; and what it’s like to have your children experience life-altering event as a teenager, like Ella and her son, Luke.
I’m not a parent myself, but it was easy to get into these situations and realize how hard being a parent actually is. Some of them were handled really well, while others were shown in a more negative light.
Like I said, literally EVERYTHING comes together in the end. There is no stone left unturned, no questions that I had to ask about the plot or the characters. Everyone involved in the whole narrative has a role to play in the ending. Although I do enjoy when some books leave things a bit open for interpretation, I can appreciate an author who ties everything up with a nice big bow. That’s how I Am Watching You ends, and I enjoyed every thrill-seeking moment of it!
Memorable Quote: “Because once you become a parent, you learn that love can involve more fear than you had ever imagined, and you never quite look on the world in the same way again.”