Review: The Watcher by Jennifer Pashley

Title: The Watcher by Jennifer Pashley
Kateri Fisher Series Book One
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 295 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Summary:

From the award-winning author of The Scamp, Jennifer Pashley is back with a searing literary noir about what it means to live on the margins of society and what happens when no one is watching…

Pearl Jenkins is a nobody. She was a woman who lived as a hermit in the woods. One day, she’s nowhere to be found, and all that’s left behind is a pool of blood and a child no one knew existed, raised completely off the grid and in the grip of Pearl’s manic paranoia.

Kateri Fisher is used to being an outsider. Now, she’s the only female detective in the tiny upstate New York town of Spring Falls, where everyone knows everyone, but no one will talk. It’s fitting that she takes the case that no one else wants. But as Kateri struggles to navigate the harsh rules of a new town while trying to learn the truth about the Jenkins family, only one thing becomes clear: neither she nor Pearl are as invisible as she first thought. Someone’s always watching.

Review:

The Watcher by Jennifer Pashley is a riveting mystery.

Detective Kateri Fisher is still relatively new to Spring Falls. She recently relocated from Syracuse after her personal life entered into a downward spiral. Kateri is walking a fine line as it becomes apparent she has not quite conquered her demons. She is an intuitive investigator who takes a compassionate approach as she interviews suspects. But underneath her kindhearted exterior is a steely determination that proves to be invaluable on her current investigation.

Kateri and her partner Detective Joel Hurt’s newest case is a little perplexing.  During a welfare check at Pearl Jenkins’ home, Kateri finds a bloody scene but there is no body.  Their search of the home turns up an unexpected discovery: a young girl that no one knows lived with Pearl or her nineteen year old son Shannon. While the forensic team continues searching for evidence and hopefully Pearl, Kateri goes to the hospital with five year old Birdie who is clearly traumatized.

Finally locating Shannon, Kateri initially believes he is not involved in what happened to his mother. But she and Joel both believe he knows more than he is telling them. She is also rather curious about his involvement with newcomer Bear Miller.  He does not have anything of note in his past, but Kateri is certain there is more to this stranger than she has uncovered. And as the situation begins to look grim for Shannon, she is determined to follow her instincts and keep digging for answers.

The narration seamlessly shifts between Kateri’s perspective in the present and Shannon’s in the weeks leading up to the discovery at his house. Shannon is a sympathetic young man who is forced to grow up way to fast. He is very mature for his age, but he is soon embroiled in something that is way over his head.

The Watcher is a multi-layered mystery that is fast-paced and engrossing.  The storyline is intriguing and Kateri and Joel are engaging and likable characters. The investigation moves at a brisk pace and Jennifer Pashley brings this spellbinding mystery to an unpredictable conclusion.  I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this well-written police procedurals to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Jennifer Pashley, Kateri Fisher Series, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Watcher

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