Monday, January 3, 2011

Julie's Review: They're Watching

Summary: Always a master of the gripping setup, Hurwitz (Trust No One) outdoes himself in this ultra-suspenseful thriller. One gray L.A. winter morning, disgraced screenwriter Patrick Davis steps out onto his porch in Bel Air, retrieves his newspaper, and finds a DVD tucked inside. The DVD opens with a static image of Patrick's downstairs bathroom, shot from outside the house, then shows him entering, using the toilet, and leaving. Other DVDs follow, each more disturbing than the last, until Patrick receives a phone call: "So… are you ready to get started?" Readers will be more than ready, as Hurwitz sure-handedly leads everyone, Patrick included, through this tale of mystery and murder, serving up one shocking surprise after another. Patrick eventually proves that, even though he's been outmaneuvered time after time, he's not entirely the pawn those manipulating him take him for. A rousing conclusion ties up all the intriguing threads.

Review: I started out 2010 with a Gregg Hurwitz book Trust No One and that was an edge of your seat ride. His follow up; They're Watching, was a solid read but not fantastic. Now don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed it and it kept me guessing about all the people involved but I just didn't have the "hooked-in" feeling about Patrick as I did for Nick. Sure, I felt for Patrick; gets his big break and his life goes to hell but that goes with the old adage "when one part of your life goes well, another goes to hell". Well Patrick Davis' life has gone to the dogs.

The book starts off by putting us 10 days in the future and then reverts back to 10 days earlier. When done this way, it can really hook a reader and it worked well for this novel. It made you wonder what had happened to the poor guy in 10 days.

I liked Patrick and I liked his wife Ariana as well and there's nothing like a terrifying situation to bring a struggling marriage together. ;) You see Patrick sold his first screenplay, They're Watching and was working on the film when he was fired for punching the star during a re-writing session. Now he's being sued by the studio and can pretty much guarantee having a label of "not to be worked with" in the business. Not good for a guy who had always dreamed about being in the movie business.

Turns out that that lawsuit is the least of his worries. Someone has been recording his daily life and has now started to put the DVDs in his morning paper. Of course this is where things get a bit messy for him as they start to command him to do stuff for them. As the plan unfolds he begins to think that maybe he's doing some one's good biding but then when the star of the film ends up murdered and Patrick is the only suspect; he has to end up relying on himself to get out of this mess.

While I thought the ending was solid enough, it really wasn't what I expected or truly wanted. I admit it, I was left wanting more. I didn't quite understand why Patrick was targeted (maybe I missed it) and the theme of big business is bad can be a bit much at times; Mr. Hurwitz sure does know how to weave those threads together very nicely.

If you are looking for a strong, solid thriller, then definitely pick up They're Watching, you won't be let down by the ride.

As it is, Mr. Hurwitz has a new book coming out in July called You're Next and it sounds incredibly creepy and thrilling!

Final Take:



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