Title: The Watchers
Author: Jon Steele
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Publisher: Blue Rider Press
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Jay Harper is a private detective who has little memory of who he is, but when he’s asked to go to Lausanne, Switzerland to track someone down, he can’t refuse. There, he meets Katherine Taylor, a beautiful American call girl. And from the belltower of Lausanne Cathedral, a hunchback named Marc Rochat watches over Lausanne. The lives of these three people will come together in the most unexpected way as they race against time to prevent a disaster of epic proportions.
The Watchers is a novel that is very difficult to categorize, much less summarize, hence the sketchy description above. It’s a supernatural character driven novel centering around Marc, who is arguably the main character. But how Marc is connected to Katherine and Jay is baffling, to say the least. As the reader settles into the novel, they will wonder how these very disparate storylines might come together, and what, if anything, they have to do with one another.
Indeed, this sense of confusion continues through the novel. It’s only once the reader is past the halfway points that things seem like they may start coming together. This may make The Watchers sound like a difficult, cumbersome read, but surprisingly, it’s not. The character of Marc is so charming and appealing that I enjoyed getting to know him and spending time with him, though I had no idea where his story might be going. I chose to put my trust in the author, and was rewarded at the end of the novel with an explosive plot twist.
It’s Jon Steele’s writing that really brings The Watchers together. Without it, it would be a jumbled mass of stories that didn’t make much sense and likely would be painful to read. His poetic writing style softens the rough edges of the book. It makes the story flow naturally and beautifully, so though the reader might be in a state of confusion while reading, it just doesn’t matter that much.
If you’re a reader who needs your book to make sense, who wants to see where the story is going early on in the novel, then this is not the book for you. That’s not to say that The Watchers is absolutely shocking, because if you pay close attention, you can see what might be coming. But it’s a vague novel, full of subtle hints, and if you come in with preconceived notions of a straightforward read, you will be disappointed. If you’re in the mood for something artistic, for an unexpected read that you’re willing to just go with, no matter how strange it seems at times,then The Watchers might be just the novel you’re looking for.