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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Watching by Julie Hodgson is a psychological suspense thriller that follows the protagonist Hazel, as she watches the outside world from her own window. The story weaves back and forth between past events in Hazel's life and the life she finds herself in now, wheelchair-bound and mostly alone with her thoughts, a bit of music that plays like theme songs for certain sequences, the news she waits patiently for between songs to listen to, and a couple whose questionable married life she witnesses from her window. She drifts in and out of reality, haunted by memories of a distant and abusive mother and her married adult life, from which her deceased husband has left her a cryptic note from the afterlife: “Why did you kill me?”
Julie Hodgson has written an excellent piece of fiction with Watching. Hazel, through her memories and vantage point, is a fully developed character and the story itself is almost instantly engrossing. The point of view is Hazel's and as the story progresses the reader begins to observe the unraveling of her psyche as she slips into moments of memory loss that leave her in places and situations of which she has no recollection. This works wonderfully in making Hazel something of an unreliable narrator and she twists and turns in surprising ways that play well into a fast-moving plot. I think this novella will bring a lot of pleasure to readers who have enjoyed the likes of Chuck Palahniuk, Dennis Lehan, and Paula Hawkins.