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Watching you : a novel
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2018
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Reviews

Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Jewell follows her New York Times best-seller Then She Was Gone (2018) with another stellar domestic drama, this one set in an affluent neighborhood in Bristol, England. She has created a cast of well-defined characters whose lives are already intertwined at the start, even though they don't know it yet. Everyone has some sort of secret, and everyone is spying on each other, tracking each other, and orchestrating encounters with each other in a brilliantly plotted progression that has a charismatic schoolmaster at the center. Tom Fitzwilliam's neighbor is consumed by her infatuation with him. One of his students is also smitten, although her BFF doesn't trust him. His son, Freddie, in the throes of teenage angst, is confused by the mercurial relationship between his parents. Twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl chronicled her obsession with a handsome young teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam in her diary, and when the revelation of her suicide is stirred into an already bubbling cauldron of resentment and suspicion, it boils over and results in a brutal murder with an intriguing assortment of suspects. Expert misdirection keeps the reader guessing, and the rug-pulled-out-from-beneath-your-feet conclusion—coupled with one final, bone-chilling revelation—is stunning. Best not to bet on anyone. A compulsive read guaranteed to please fans of A. J. Finn and Ruth Ware. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Library Journal Reviews

Private eyes are watching you. Jewell's latest (Then She Was Gone; I Found You) begins at a crime scene where someone has been murdered. The novel then alternates between the past leading up to the killing and the ongoing police investigation. There are people with multiple perspectives in this Bristol neighborhood. Melville Heights is a community where people interact with, observe, and judge one another. There's the newly married and bored Joey Mullen, who with her husband has moved in with her brother and his pregnant wife. Joey becomes infatuated with the local school's new headmaster, Tom Fitzwilliam, who is married with a teenage son, Freddie. Joey is not the only one; almost all his students are in awe of him, but not Jenna, who suspects something between Tom and her best friend, Bess. Neither is Freddie, who doesn't understand why everyone, including his mom, dotes on his father. Now someone is dead and Joey is the prime suspect. But did she do it? VERDICT Jewell weaves a taut multiperspective, domestic/community suspense story that is sure to please fans of Ruth Ware and A.J. Finn. [See Prepub Alert, 8/27/18.]—Susan Moritz, Silver Spring, MD

Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

In the prologue of this crafty conundrum from bestseller Jewell (Then She Was Gone), a dead body lies on the kitchen floor of the Fitzwilliam family's Victorian house in a posh neighborhood of Bristol, England. The author smoothly juggles multiple story lines—some dating back 20 years—centering on paterfamilias Tom Fitzwilliam. For some reason, the now middle-aged, nationally honored schoolmaster seems to effortlessly bewitch women and girls alike, among them his slavishly solicitous wife, Nicola; increasingly paranoid stalker Frances Tripp, the mother of one of his students, 15-year-old Jenna; and Jenna's best friend, Bess Ridley, who has a schoolgirl crush on him. While all the people watching Tom facilitate the serpentine plot, they're also the novel's weakest link, since their respective obsessions remains baffling and at times border on the tedious. That said, prepare to be blindsided by the murder victim's identity, not revealed until late in the game—and an even more stunning final surprise. Jewell does a masterly job of maintaining suspense. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (Dec.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Annotations

"Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England. It's the sort of place where doctors and lawyers and old-money academics live. It's not the sort of place where people get stabbed in the back thirty times with a kitchen knife in their own homes. Someone must have seen something. Newlywed Joey Mullen, for example, recently returned from four years working in Ibiza. She and her husband Alfie are eager to find a place of their own in her hometown. But Joey finds herself distracted by the man next door, Tom Fitzwilliam. He's the principal of the local high school, twice her age, and devastatingly attractive. What starts as an innocent infatuation soon escalates into fixation, and before long, Joey can't keep her eyes off of Tom. Or the principal's son, Freddie, who dreams of working as a spy, and has been developing his surveillance skills by keeping meticulous logs of the coming and goings in the area. And, as he approaches his fifteenth birthday, his attention--and his lens--are turning more and more towards the local women. Or perhaps single mother Frances Tripp, who has long been convinced she is being stalked. Her teenage daughter Jenna is worried these delusions are signs of her mother's deteriorating mental health, particularly now that her paranoia has found a specific target: Tom Fitzwilliam. Frances is determined to keep an eye on him until she can prove that he is behind her persecution. Twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam. Nobody knows why this horrific murder was committed, but someone in Melville Heights knows who did it. As the community's fearful eyes turn on each other, the question remains: Who else is watching?"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

When a murder occurs in Melville Heights, one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England, dangerous obsessions come to light involving the headmaster at a local school, in this place where everyone has a secret. - (Baker & Taylor)

When a murder occurs in Melville Heights—one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England—dangerous obsessions come to light involving the headmaster at a local school, in this place where everyone has a secret. 200,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

“Quickly and assuredly, Jewell builds an ecosystem of countervailing suspicions…Tricky, clever, unexpected.” —New York Times Book Review

“Brace yourself as Jewell stacks up the secrets, then lights a long, slow fuse.” —People

“A seize-you-by-the-throat thriller and a genuinely moving family drama.” —A.J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

The instant New York Times and #1 Sunday Times bestselling author of the Then She Was Gone delivers another suspenseful page-turner about a shocking murder in a picturesque and well-to-do English town, perfect “for fans of Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Luckiest Girl Alive” (Library Journal).

Melville Heights is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Bristol, England; home to doctors and lawyers and old-money academics. It’s not the sort of place where people are brutally murdered in their own kitchens. But it is the sort of place where everyone has a secret. And everyone is watching you.

As the headmaster credited with turning around the local school, Tom Fitzwilliam is beloved by one and all—including Joey Mullen, his new neighbor, who quickly develops an intense infatuation with this thoroughly charming yet unavailable man. Joey thinks her crush is a secret, but Tom’s teenaged son Freddie—a prodigy with aspirations of becoming a spy for MI5—excels in observing people and has witnessed Joey behaving strangely around his father.

One of Tom’s students, Jenna Tripp, also lives on the same street, and she’s not convinced her teacher is as squeaky clean as he seems. For one thing, he has taken a particular liking to her best friend and fellow classmate, and Jenna’s mother—whose mental health has admittedly been deteriorating in recent years—is convinced that Mr. Fitzwilliam is stalking her.

Meanwhile, twenty years earlier, a schoolgirl writes in her diary, charting her doomed obsession with a handsome young English teacher named Mr. Fitzwilliam…

In Lisa Jewell’s latest brilliant “bone-chilling suspense” (People) no one is who they seem—and everyone is hiding something. Who has been murdered—and who would have wanted one of their neighbors dead? As “Jewell teases out her twisty plot at just the right pace” (Booklist, starred review), you will be kept guessing until the startling revelation on the very last page. - (Simon and Schuster)

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