by Charles Maclean
I wish I’d written this ...
... because it's one of the most enigmatic novels I've ever read.
This had me wondering what the heck was going on all the way through — in a good way! — then left me with a choice to make at the end: is the truth this ... or is it that? As a depiction of a man's descent into madness, the story is terrific and very disturbing. If, however, it's NOT a depiction of a man's descent into madness, but rather the myth-like tale of a mission that spans centuries and multiple lifetimes, then it's also terrific. From page to page, it asks who's manipulating the truth, the doctor, the patient, or a narrative none can control? Are the characters who they appear to be or are they manifestations of Jungian archetypes? It's a crazily deep book that has the power to haunt your imagination for long after the final page is turned, and one that is immensely enriched by any knowledge you may have of Jungian psychology and/or mythology (though that's not to say you NEED this knowledge). If I have any reservation at all, it's that the central protagonist's grasp of reality is so frail that it sometimes feels difficult to engage with him and properly invest in the traumas he experiences. You want to be on his side, but then he does something despicable and you feel repelled. As a reader, your loyalties are made unstable. This, I'm positive, is intentional, but it has a much more positive effect after you've finished the book than it does while you're reading it. So, all in all, THE WATCHER offers a disorienting, frightening, but marvellous insight into the darkest realms of a mind gone awry. Wow, I wish I could reach such a level of profundity in my writing!
The first paragraph
From the publisher
Friday, rush hour. Martin Gregory just manages to catch the 4:48 train. Tomorrow is his wife's birthday and he plans to devote the weekend to her and their beloved dogs. But when he rises in the morning, Martin does something so horrific, so inexplicable, and so out of character that his only option is to run. A lost horror classic back in print at last, THE WATCHER chronicles Martin as his quest for understanding plunges him through shifting realities and twisted corridors of time, and into the deepest recesses of the human mind.
“The number one horror novel of all time!”
“An extraordinary book, unlike anything else I've read.”
—Charlie Higson, author of THE DEAD
“If you are easily upset ... stop right here.”
—THE NEW YORK TIMES