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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranoid, intense and disturbing
I agree with only one point that the negative reviewers of this book make: the cover is misleading. You'd be forgiven for expecting a traditional slasher/thriller but this is something quite different.

I found out about this book in an article online, downloaded it and read it over the next couple of days. I couldn't put it down.

The beginning is...
Published on 4 July 2012 by M Arif

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
Originally reviewed at: (...)
Rating: 3 out of 5 biscuits

The Watcher by Charles Maclean is another great example for the common saying "don't judge a book by its cover". When I looked at my review copy and read the synopsis, I thought I knew what was coming: a fast paced horror story, people dying one by one, the protagonist getting madder by the day...
Published on 15 July 2012 by Vicky @ Books, Biscuits, and Tea


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected, 15 July 2012
This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
Originally reviewed at: (...)
Rating: 3 out of 5 biscuits

The Watcher by Charles Maclean is another great example for the common saying "don't judge a book by its cover". When I looked at my review copy and read the synopsis, I thought I knew what was coming: a fast paced horror story, people dying one by one, the protagonist getting madder by the day. Boy, was I wrong. Even though it's completely different from what I expected, it's an interesting read and without a doubt nothing like any of the horror stories I've read before.

Contrary to my expectations, it's definitely not an easy read. It starts in a rather shocking way which, if you're easily upset, might put you off. If you like dogs, I don't recommend that you pick this up at all. While it didn't put me off entirely, it was enough to make me feel a contempt for Martin from the very beginning. The narrative, on the other hand, is very cleverly written - one minute we see everything from Dr. Somerville's (the therapist) perspective and think that Martin's a lunatic, then we see things from Martin Gregory's perspective and think that Somerville is trying to set him up, to manipulate him. Throughout two-thirds of the story, I had no idea who to belive - Martin or Somerville.

As I said, the plot is very different from what I expected. For me the first half of the novel dragged on a little bit and it didn't really wow me, but the second half was really creepy. It's not even what happens in the story but how Martin acts - as he's getting more and more paranoid and mentally unstable, us readers feel less and less insecure because we have literally no idea what he's capable of or what he might do next.

It's quite a disturbing read, I have to agree with that - but not in a gory way, rather psychologically. If you're looking for a murder mystery, this one is definitely not for you. Since the novel deals with regression therapy, hypnosis and how our subconscious works (rather than who kills whom), fans of psychology or psychological horror/thriller will no doubt find The Watcher rather interesting.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paranoid, intense and disturbing, 4 July 2012
By 
M Arif (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
I agree with only one point that the negative reviewers of this book make: the cover is misleading. You'd be forgiven for expecting a traditional slasher/thriller but this is something quite different.

I found out about this book in an article online, downloaded it and read it over the next couple of days. I couldn't put it down.

The beginning is disturbing, inexplicable and casually violent. The proceeding story weaves through a series of mysterious events and psychotic fantasy as the protagonist is subjected to regression therapy by his psychiatrist, in fact you soon start to feel that your only possible tether to reality is the therapist's reports of the treatment.

The writing is skilful and provocative. I enjoyed puzzling little mysteries out (I'm still working on a few). There is a definite 'symptom' that precedes several of the main character's worst episodes and every time it made an appearance, the anticipation of what would happen next was horribly intense. I will definitely have trouble getting rid of some of the images now stamped on my brain but I intend to read it again. I will, no doubt, pick up all sorts of previously undiscovered references and clues...but maybe not very soon. I need to read something light next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 7 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
I picked this up after stumbling across Charlie Higson's glowing review. I was not dissapointed.
While the blurb and indeed the beginning of the novel may seem rather dull by modern standards (especially in the post-American Psycho literary landscape where violence in books has escalated massively) the reader could not even begin to fathom where the plot eventually ends up from this grotesque beginning. Simply put, 'The Watcher' is incredibly original. I won't spoil too much but I would encourage anyone with a penchant for the weird, uncanny and intriguing to give this somewhat forgotten gem a chance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Story That Stays With You, 31 Oct. 2012
This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
I felt a little uneasy when the death of the dogs was telegraphed in advance. I thought this was going to be a typical slasher story, but thankfully it was so much than that. Unfortunately, as typified by the bad reviews of this book, readers who want an ever more bloody and rising body count will be disappointed. This is a psychological horror story that really makes you think.
The story telling alternates between the protagonist, Martin Gregory's view of reality and that of his shrink, Dr. Somerville. It is impossible for both to be true.
Is Martin Gregory a 'Watcher' the latest incarnation of a long line of 'The Chosen' who stretch back to the dawn of time, who keep watch over the Earth to prevent an apocalypse and the end of mankind? Is Dr. Somerville likewise the latest incarnation of the representation of evil which want to bring about its end? Or is Martin Gregory just insanely deluded?
And just when you think you have the answer the plot twists and turns to leave you wondering once more. One reviewer commented on there being no definative answer at the end - exactly and that the beauty of it.
There are some plot lines that didn't go anywhere like the mysterious bruising (never explained)but this is one of the best books I've read in a long while.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it!, 14 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
Five stars!
Among the best things I've ever read. The way the author juggles time and what's going on inside the main character's head, cranking up the voltage to almost unbearable levels, borders on genius. It's all here: psychoanalysis, spirituality, thriller, fantasy and more. After reading the last line, I had to go back and start the book over. Even at the third reading, I discovered new angles and undercurrents. Read without fail!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 29 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
I read a lot - probably three books a week - and this is the first one in years to really blow me away. It's very clever - it employs the whole unreliable narrator trick very effectively. It also becomes very tense towards the end. I was reading it in bed and I couldn't get to sleep for thinking about it. I was exhausted but I had to put the light on and finish it even though I had to literally hold both my eyelids open. Outstanding.
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3.0 out of 5 stars But the worst problem is that the story doesn't really go anywhere, 17 Oct. 2014
This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
***SPOILER ALERT***
Disappointing as I read that it is one of the horror greats. In retrospect I suspect this was publisher guff, promoting a reprint of an otherwise largely forgotten book. The prose and characterisation are modest, certainly nothing to rave about. But the worst problem is that the story doesn't really go anywhere. I believe the ending is supposed to be ambiguous, but the only sensible interpretation in my view is that the protaganist has had a nervous breakdown. This would be OK if the book was a great portrait of psychological breakdown, but it isn't. And worse, it positions itself as a supernatural chiller. The book fails by either measure. The beginning is reasonably horrible (i.e. what you want from a horror story), but will be more effective for dog owners than non-dog owners. After that it really ceases to be horror at all.

Footnote - I initially scored this 2, but finally gave it 3 on the basis that my disappointment was in large part due to the hype. Coming at this cold, I suppose it is OK, but no more than that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge it by the box, 1 May 2015
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This review is from: The Watcher (Paperback)
I purchased this book as i expect a lot of people have thinking this would be a gruesome horror story. How wrong I was. The way it starts you think that Martin Gregory will turn out to be nothing more than a maniacal killer. Quite the opposite. He is a very complex character that as the story unfolds you find a deep sympathy for him and a willingness to help him through his ongoing mental issues.

I must admit when the story started to change I at first found it difficult to follow but as it gets further into it I became engrossed in all that was happening to him and his fragile mind. All the different personas and the paranoia from the regression and him thinking Dr. Somerville is unwilling to believe his theories.

Great read, almost like 2 books in one. Certainly not as disturbing as some make out but i would reccomend this to most.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Different from what I expected, 6 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: The Watcher (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book from start to finish even though from the blurb and critic reviews I was expecting more horror. The ending lets it down a bit in my opinion but I would still recommend it. Don't expect Gore galore as I did from the the way in which the story begins but more of 2 sides of the story, the shrink and the patient
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Watcher by Charles Maclean, 3 Jun. 2014
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A good story, but would have liked a better conclusion. I felt that the end let the story down and left me feeling a bit disappointed.
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The Watcher by Charles MacLean (Paperback - 5 Jan. 2012)
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