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Book Review: I Am Watching by Emma Kavanagh

I absolutely love the cover of this book – it’s so pretty and really on trend this year. I read a pretty neat article by The Spines on all the trends and covers to look out for, I Am Watching – Nails. It.

I Am Watching by Emma Kavanagh

Genre: Thriller & Mystery

BUG Rating: 3.5/5

Overall: Quite a slow start, but the second half of the book was fantastic! The ability is totally there, I would have liked to have seen a bit more substance/wow moments earlier on. Super dark, gory, twisty moments in the end!

But then, wasn’t that the thing with serial killers? Weren’t they all, when you looked at them, perfectly normal? Right up until the monster in them was unleashed.


From a distance, they seem to be sleeping. Three bodies, sitting propped up against the ancient stones of Hadrian’s Wall. A closer look reveals the horror of their too-white faces, and the ring of vivid red bruises around each neck. 

The victims were found by schoolgirl Isla Bell, out on an early morning run along the historic site. That day changed the small, close-knit community of Briganton forever, and it also shaped the course of Isla’s life. Twenty years later, she’s a professor of criminal psychology at the University of Northumberland. She specializes in studying the brain function of psychopaths and serial killers, wrestling with the question that still haunts her: why? Why did Heath McGowan kill those people–and two more besides–before he was finally caught by Isla’s police detective father? 

At last, Isla has a chance to get answers. Heath, previously unforthcoming about the murders, agrees to take part in her research. Isla’s husband, Ramsey–the only one of Heath’s victims to survive–cautions her against the meeting. But no matter how ready Isla feels to peer within a killer’s mind, there is no way to prepare for the fresh horror about to engulf Briganton. Another body is found, displayed just as 
before . . . and then another. Is this a copycat, someone inspired by or receiving help from the serial killer behind bars? Or could the truth be darker still?

I loved the storyline, and felt it had a lot of potential. However, on several occasions early on, I nearly gave up – it was very slow paced, it was only in the second half that the book really picked up the pace and had me on the edge of my seat. The plot itself focused around the small village of Briganton which was rocked by a sadistic serial killer 20 years earlier, who artistically displayed his victims along the historic wall in the village. Fast forward to present day and criminal psychologist/ scientific professor, Isla, is studying the brains of serial killers, including working with the convicted killer, Heath McGowan, who was the infamous ‘killer on the wall’.

This project is very close to her heart, for one, she originally found the victims of the wall 20 years ago, secondly, her father ‘the great Eric Bell’ headed the investigation and brought McGowan to justice; and finally, her husband, Ramsey, was nearly a victim too. He had been found just in time by Isla. But now – everything changes as another victim appears at the wall, it can’t be McGowan, he’s firmly behind bars … a copycat? Can Isla help unmask the killer before it’s too late…………

See – look how freakin’ awesome the storyline is. Discounting the first half of the book, it was a gripping page turner with some dark and twisted passages, which I loveeeed! I just wish there had been more of it. And boy – the twist! It was such a great ending. The characters (+ character development) were fantastic, I connected with them ALL! I am torn on the rating for this one, The first half really let this book down. I’d rate the first half 2/5 and the second 4.5/5!

I received a free advanced copy of this book from NetGalley / Kensington Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions are my own. 

  • Andi Preston
    April 7, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    I am intrigued by this review…I may have to try this one as mystery/thriller is my favorite genre. Absolutely love your photo of the cover!! I need to get more creative with my blog photos.

    • bookedupgirl
      April 9, 2019 at 7:52 pm

      Thanks for your comment 🙂 I really loved the ending, it was such a slow start, but definitely worth preserving! Loved to know what you think..

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