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Someone Is Watching


Someone Is Watching

Come for the mystery when you approach SOMEONE IS WATCHING. Whether it is a stand-alone novel or, perhaps, the first in a new series (more on that in a minute), the book has a primary mystery and a couple of secondary ones rolling around between the covers. And let me say at the outset that, in all probability, you will guess the solution to one or more of the puzzles before the end of the novel. Yes, I got all of them, and during fairly early days. Which brings me to my second suggestion: stay for the characters. The primary and secondary players are some of the most sharply and clearly defined characters Joy Fielding has presented to date.

The chief protagonist is Bailey Carpenter, a hotshot, up-and-coming investigator for a top Miami law firm, whose personal life is a hot mess. Bailey is a heartbeat away from litigation over her father’s estate, which was left entirely to her and her brother, leaving her half-sister and four half-brothers in the lurch. She is also involved in a destructive relationship that has the potential to harm her professionally as well. Nonetheless, she is very good at what she does, which is trace people, observe, and dig up dirt. Bailey is involved in an assignment that consists of locating a deadbeat dad when the worst happens: she is violently raped.

"Fielding’s cinematic, first-person present narrative, told by Bailey, makes the story more immediate and suspenseful, particularly as it reaches its rapid-fire conclusion."

Fielding, using Bailey as a canvas, paints a frighteningly realistic picture of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder at its most up close and personal. Once strong and confident, Bailey becomes an emotional wreck, afraid to leave her home or take care of more than her most basic needs. She becomes close to Claire, her half-sister, a nurse who, despite the possible litigation over their father’s estate, begins assisting and nudging her back into the world.

Bailey also starts using her binoculars --- an important tool in her job as an investigator --- to observe what is going on in the outside world. Her attention is attracted to a neighbor some distance away, who enjoys...nocturnal performing, if you will, alone and with others, in front of his window, curtains pulled open and all. Bailey is both attracted and repelled, as is her half-sister, and their viewing becomes a nightly occurrence. However, she soon realizes that he is watching her as well.

There is another problem: Bailey fears that she may be hallucinating as the result of the aftereffects of the attack upon her. Things that she sees and hears, including threats from her neighbor and, even worse, another man in her building, are demonstrated not to have occurred. The police are all too quickly ready to disbelieve what she says, until her only allies are Claire and Jade, Claire’s precocious and colorful teenage daughter, in whom Bailey senses an unlikely yet real kindred spirit. The question remains, though: will the two of them be enough to protect her? It’s a valid question, because regardless of whether Bailey is hallucinating or not, her rapist is still out there.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING is not for the squeamish. While it does not go overboard on violence, Bailey’s emotions are strongly and colorfully described, and agonizingly so. In any event, it’s an intriguing story that’s wonderfully told. Fielding’s cinematic, first-person present narrative, told by Bailey, makes the story more immediate and suspenseful, particularly as it reaches its rapid-fire conclusion. It’s a perfect beach book for spring break, for so many reasons, not the least of which is that it will serve as a reminder to keep your room door chained.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on April 2, 2015

Someone Is Watching
by Joy Fielding

  • Publication Date: March 24, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0553390635
  • ISBN-13: 9780553390636