Monday 21 December 2020

Book Review of 'A Stranger is Watching' by Mary Higgins Clark

This is by far the best thriller I've read this year. Clark weaves her magic as always, and how! Psychological thrillers cannot come better than this, and if they do, they'd still compete for breathless attention with Clark's expertise. 

I have just finished reading the book and I have only just resumed breathing. The break-neck speed of the climax kept me gasping till the last word. Clark's trademark suspense keeps us biting our nails from the first page to the very end..


Steve Peterson, the single parent, grappling with his wife's murder, while being racked by guilt is a compelling protagonist. Neil, the scarred child tugs at the heartstrings, with his helpless private agony. Sharon Martin is the journalist attempting to tackle her professional chaos with a host of her personal love-life woes. 

The other minor characters are etched with enough detailing, to fit neatly into the storyline, rendering their importance invaluable at crucial junctures of unveiling the suspense.


There is a sense of deja vu, as is the case with any of Clark's books, because most of her stories run along similar lines : A brilliant psychotic murderer chasing and killing women. One knows what to expect. And yet, the tension of suspense built up with each turn of the page, and leaves readers with the same thrill as her previous reads.

Multiple themes are woven into the story: Love, Fear, Psychosis, Loss, Parenthood, Suspense, and of course, murder, vie with each other to claim attention. However, the dominant theme is the debate on capital punishment.

A severely deranged killer on the loose, a wrong convict about to be executed and a train station under a bomb seige pitted against the desperate, ultimate race against time - these are the elements that form the crux of the story. The novel keeps readers at the edge of their reading seats. 

The parallel structuring of the storyline allows the suspense to build and subside like waves in a turgid sea. The climax and the end are reminiscent of many of the thriller movies we have watched on the screen. 


Overall, this is a must-read for thriller lovers: A clean 4.9 out of 5 rating for this one. That single point less is perhaps because I could not breathe from the intensity of the suspense, at some points. 

Jokes apart, I'm mighty glad I picked this one up. It made my reading journey feel complete, this year. 

Is my review useful? Do let me know in the comments. And stay safe, while you keep finding new literature to devour.

Happy reading, readers!


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