I’ll start by explaining what I’ve been up to this month. I decided to dedicate my entire October (and possibly November too) to reading purely ‘Indie’ and self-published books. (This just refers to my pleasure reading – not novel research.)
My reviews are never harsh as I try to find some merit and positive in the work. I don’t use fancy words or talk about books as if I’m writing for an English degree. In a nutshell, I review not critique. I review as a reader, not as a ‘reviewer’ as such, so I give real reviews from a reader to readers. Basically, the majority of people who pick up and book and search for a review of it, want to know if it’s any good. If it’s worth their time. I try to give them that information without having to wade through all words in the technical jargon heap.
I’m was also not going to go on and highlight any typos that I may have come across. I look beyond the odd mistake and concentrate on the story itself (unless of course, the work was so badly littered with typo errors that it hampers the story).
Furthermore, I rarely give 5/5 for a work, usually the highest I go is 4, I don’t know why, it’s like I’m saving the 5/5 for that piece of work that truly grabs and entertains me.
That said the highest I generally go is 4/5, which a translation to the ordinary reader is still ‘pretty damn good!’
Now onto my first Indie book review. The Watcher by Sam Croft
In 1888, two brothers, Jack, a criminal recluse, and John, a society gentleman, live in opposite ends of Victorian London. When John falls in love, unspoken bonds are tested, unwittingly exposing secrets guarded since his childhood.
Horrified by links to the London underground, and appalled by the extent of his brother’s jealousy, John soon realises that these secrets not only affect his past, but also threaten to affect this future.
The Watcher is constructed around facts of the Jack the Ripper case, incorporating popular myths and theories. Through fiction, it examines the Whitechapel murders in a way that has never before been explored.
Why did the murderer have committed such terrible crimes? What might have made him into such a monster? Why did the murders start then just as swiftly end?
The novel explores the infamous Whitechapel murderer Jack the Ripper in a way never before seen.
The plot is clever, well researched and well thought through. Her writing is easy on the eye, meaning that it flows nicely and is easy and enjoyable to read.
I was intrigued by the characters Croft created and was eager throughout to find out more about them.
She effortlessly captures the two moods of a society gentleman contrasted with the criminal Jack and describes Victorian London as if the reader is actually there themselves, following the characters, and watching the two brothers go about their very different, but equally entwined lives.
And it is only at the very end that you discover the meaning behind the title of the book: The Watcher.
The only negative was that I was not fully surprised by the direction te novel took, but that may be from my extensive reading and from my brain’s inability to not skip ahead and try to guess the plot.
But even with this, the book was still enjoyable and well worth a read.
To that end, I would give the novel 3/5.
Aka not bad, not bad at all!