Thursday, January 18, 2018

I Am Watching You: Teresa Driscoll: review

I Am Watching You: Teresa Driscoll
-Review by Divya Dubey

[Published in India Today mag,]

Perhaps one of the best psychological thrillers released this year, I Am Watching You by journalist and former BBC news presenter, Teresa Driscoll, is a novel about the mysterious disappearance of the sixteen-year-old Anna Ballard from a club in London.

The book begins with Ella Longfield, the ‘witness’ watching Anna and her best friend Sarah being chatted up by two young men on the train. Ella is bored to death by the book she has bought and to pass the time she finds herself overhearing the conversation between the four youngsters. Anna and Sarah are travelling to London to celebrate the end of GCSEs – a gift from her parents. The girls are travelling solo for the first time.

Teresa Driscoll

Soon Ella’s curiosity is piqued further when she realizes that the two young men are ‘fresh out of prison’. She is shocked when, at an impulse, she follows the girls around and catches the second one locked in the toilet having sex with a man she has just met. Ella is in a dilemma. On the one hand she is tempted to trace the girls’ parents and raise an alarm; on the other she is doubtful about interfering in their personal lives as a blabbermouth ‘prude’.  Finally she decides to maintain silence.

But the next day she wakes up to the news that the gorgeous green-eyed beauty, Anna, has suddenly vanished. The police step in. Anna’s family and friends are questioned and so is Sarah, but there is no progress. They all seem to be guarding their own secrets.

Wracked with guilt, Ella informs the police about her own role in the matter. Somehow her name is leaked and she has to face a trial by the media and the public who roast her relentlessly for failing to look out for the young adolescent. To the extent that she has to disappear from social media and close down her flower shop temporarily.

A year later Anna is still missing. On the anniversary there is yet another appeal on television leading to new developments. Some people have not forgotten. And now Ella has begun to receive threatening anonymous postcards. Someone is watching her closely and constantly.

Like any good suspense thriller the pace of the book never dips. Eve
ry thread is developed well and tied up neatly. Each chapter ends with a cliffhanger. And Driscoll manages to maintain suspense throughout, heightening it at times, revealing just the right amount of information at the right time. Apart from the overuse of one refrain, ‘You disgust me, dad’ in Anna’s dad Henry’s musings, the book seems to have no real flaw. Certainly a treat for crime fiction lovers.   

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