Thursday, 23 February 2017

Book Review: WATCHING YOU by Arne Dahl

Title: Watching You
Author: Arne Dahl
Random House UK, Vintage 
February 2017
Expected publication: 6 July 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Someone is watching.

At each abandoned crime scene there's a hidden clue: a tiny metal cog, almost invisible to the naked eye. Someone is sending Detective Sam Berger a message, someone who knows that only he will understand the cryptic trail.

Someone knows.

When another teenaged girl disappears without trace, Sam must convince his superiors that they’re dealing with a serial killer. As the police continue the hunt to find the latest victim, Sam is forced to unearth long-buried personal demons. He has no choice if he is to understand the killer's darkly personal message before time runs out.

Somebody is killing just for him.

My thoughts:

"The aspen leaves are trembling."

And so will you .....

Wow! What a wild emotional rollercoaster ride this book turned out to be! Whilst some of the opening scenes were somewhat dark and confronting, I was settling in to read what I thought would be a fairly typical Scandinavian murder / mystery. And for a while, the story seemed to flow along a well-trodden path, as detectives Berger and Deer follow a lead to a derelict farmhouse where they hope to find a missing 15-year-old girl who they fear has fallen into the hands of a depraved predator. But they are too late. The house is empty and booby-trapped, with only a blood-splattered wall as evidence that the girl may have been held – and tortured – there. Worse still, Berger is convinced that the case is linked to the disappearances of two other teenage girls, who may have been taken by the same perpetrator. Can he make a connection between the cases and find them before it is too late?

“Time wasn’t on his side.”

Tic-toc, the clock is ticking! Clocks and time feature largely in this extremely clever and breath-taking thriller, written by a master of the genre. It was about there that the novel took a completely unexpected turn, even though there had been tiny clues like a trail of breadcrumbs leading up to this point, which I had totally overlooked, too comfortable in my assumptions. Until the rug was pulled out from under my feet so completely that it felt like falling headlong into an abyss. WHAT THE...?!?!?! Suddenly the whole world I had created in my mind came tumbling down. Who could I trust? What was real and what was merely a figment of my own complacency? Could I take anything for granted in this novel?

I loved how a large percentage of the action played out in tense and lively dialogue, which served to draw me deeply into the story almost immediately and created a movie-like imagery which haunted me even when I was not actively reading. This is a fast-paced novel, with non-stop action and some confronting scenes that will follow you into your nightmares. I read that Dahl was once quoted as saying that he didn’t want to dwell on evil but wanted to understand its roots in the past. Which is exactly the route Berger takes when trying to track down this perpetrator, and may be one of the things that sets this novel apart from your average murder / mystery. Whilst it certainly gets the adrenaline pumping, it also contains some deep and terribly sad scenes that challenge your own ideals and beliefs like only an author with a solid understanding of the human psyche can pull off.

 There was nothing to fault in this masterful novel, one of the best I have read in a long time. How is it possible that I have not come across this author before now? A must-read for any lover of the murder / mystery genre, and readers who enjoy Scandinavian fiction at its finest. Try to let go of all expectations and preconceptions – this is a writer who has made it his mission to avoid formulaic writing and prefers endings that leave the reader thinking after closing the book. Which it certainly did! And since the last paragraph – despite the final shot aimed straight at the reader’s heart – opens the door for a re-appearance of our detective duo in future novels, I will definitely be watching this space!

Watching You has previously been released in other languages, but unfortunately we will have to wait until July to find it on our shelves. Put it on your wishlist today!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. 


He stepped into the valley of the shadow of death. He stopped on the hall mat with his whole body dripping. He could feel water trickling down his face, neck, ears, scurrying downward. It was like his whole body was weeping.

Intuition is nothing but a concentration of experience.

“I’d sanitised my memories.” “That’s how we survive,” Blom said.

All light was an illusion, a reassuring veneer of lies that allows us to live, gives us the strength to become adults.

Carpe motherfucking diem.

Image result for 5 stars

If you are multi-lingual, you can access this title now (click on covers for details):

Sieben Minus Eins Utmarker (Sam Berger och Molly Blom, #1) Skyggezone (Berger & Blom #1) Sedm mínus jedna (Sam Berger a Molly Blomová, #1)

No comments:

Post a Comment