Are You Watching Me? - Sinead Crowley

Genre: Crime/Thriller 
Synopsis: Liz Cafferky is on the up. Rescued from her dark past by the owner of a drop-in centre for older men, Liz soon finds herself as the charity's face - and the unwilling darling of the Dublin media. Amidst her claustrophobic fame, Liz barely notices a letter from a new fan. But then one of the centre's clients is brutally murdered, and Elizabeth receives another, more sinister note. Running from her own ghosts, Liz is too scared to go to the police. And with no leads, there is little Sergeant Claire Boyle can do to protect her.


Review: Having read and loved Sinead's first novel - Can Anybody Help Me? - I was really excited to get my hands on not just a copy of this, but a SIGNED copy, which I won! Yay! I loved the concept and plot of her first novel, despite thinking the writing could use a little work in places (and the editing definitely could). I'm delighted to say that I thought the writing in this novel was a definite improvement over her first novel - the beginning was maybe a tad cheesy, but once it got going, it really found its feet. Naturally I'm biased, but I love reading Irish books. That is, books by Irish authors, set in Ireland, with a distinctly Irish tone. Some authors overdo this and make their books a bit of a caricature of the country, but Sinead does justice to our fair little island in her depiction of it. The places and atmosphere are described fantastically.

As with the first novel, I didn't find myself particularly taken with Claire Boyle - my interest was in the incidental characters of the plot. While admittedly they mostly felt a tad flat, it was still really fun to read Liz's character (she reminded me somewhat of Rachel from The Girl On The Train), and there were a couple of characters who really rang true (I love Flynn!). The plot itself was a little underwhelming. For a thriller, it was decidedly unthrilling (though that is NOT to say bad - just gently-paced and not hugely exciting). Compared with the level of suspence and anticipation I felt throughout her entire first novel, I felt this story was a slight step backwards. I also felt the subplot of Claire's domestic qualms with her husband under the pressure of adapting to having a baby was a little disjointed from the rest of the novel - Claire's pregnancy fit in well with the first book as it was about a mammies' forum.

All that said, and for all my nitpicking, it is a solidly enjoyable read, and I have no doubt that as soon as Claire Boyle returns in Sinead's third novel, I'll be scrabbling for a copy as early as possible. A light, easy novel that mightn't contain the most satisfying story in the world, but which is certainly a pleasure to read.

Rating: 4/5

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