The Watcher by Caroline Eriksson; Tara F. Chace (Translator)
eBook review copy; 240 pages
The Watcher by Caroline Eriksson is a recommended "Rear Window"-esque Scandinavian thriller translated into English by Tara F. Chace.
Elena has left her husband Peter during a trial separation and has moved
into a subleased townhouse. She's obviously distraught, unsettled, and
unable to sleep or unpack. Her sister is trying to help her with regular
Friday night dinners and checking up on her. Elena, an author, spends
sleepless nights rearranging books in the bookcase. She is also watching
her neighbors through the kitchen window. She discovers they are the
Storm family, husband, wife, and teenage son, Leo. Soon she thinks
something nefarious is happening between the Storms, and Leo, who is
stopping by her house to talk to her, is increasing her anxiety about
them. She is sure she is witnessing a marriage disintegrating and
suspects murder may soon happen. Her watching is also spurring on her
creativity, though, and she is beginning to write a new novel. Soon her
writing is at a frenzied pitch and something must be coming to a deadly
conclusion in both her novel and the neighbors marriage.
The plot unfolds mainly through chapters from Elena's point-of-view, but
there are also chapters from the Husband's point-of-view and excerpts
from the book Elena is writing. At first it is difficult to see what is
real and unreal. The connection between the separate narratives is
tenuous and the relevance of their inclusion is unclear, but the
correlation becomes more coherent as the plot unfolds. The ending brings
clarity to all the narrative threads.
It is an interesting novel and a quick read, although the plot is not
unique and the outcome is not unexpected. There are a few plot points
that were never completely resolved and I wish they were since they were
an ongoing part of the narrative. Elena clearly is unstable and is an
unreliable narrator, but this isn't handled quite as successfully in
this novel as compared to other recent novels that have utilized this
technique. If you enjoyed The Women in the Window, you might want to give The Watcher a try.
My review copy was courtesy of Amazon Publishing via Netgalley.