Customer Reviews: They're Watching
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on July 6, 2010
I have stopped reading thrillers, with a few exceptions and author Gregg Hurwitz falls squarely in those "exceptions".

It seems as though each and every novel he has ever written has been not only suspensful, but so engaging that I could never figure out the "ending" before he chose to tell it to me.

In They're Watching, we, once again, find Hurtwitz is supreme shape - although I have to admit that I had my doubts in the very first chapters as I thought they were, to be honest, boring and drawn out.

However, having said that, I am incredibly happy that I persisted because the rest of the book is an absolute powerhouse of twists and turns that had me baffled and more than a little curious.

Patrick Davis, the main character is actually an interesting "main" because he is not all that likeable, which is also something that I like about Hurwitz - he is not afraid to write characters with flaws. When we first meet Davis, it is obvious that he quite miserable and that his marriage is in deep trouble. However, he hasn't seen nothing yet!!!

Hurwitz truly delivers in this one - like I said, everytime I turned the page, I had no idea what to expect next - and, in the end, the author somehow managed to make me say "how did he do that?" once again.

Loved, loved this book.
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on July 28, 2010
Patrick Davis had it all--a beautiful wife, a Hollywood home, and a screenplay that was picked up by a major studio and made into a movie with an up-and-coming star. But just when he's seemingly poised on the brink of serious success, he's suddenly on the verge of losing everything. With his marriage on the rocks, his career in jeopardy, and a six-figure lawsuit pending against him, his formerly storybook existence has turned into a horror movie. When he starts getting DVDs showing footage of him going about his daily life, he's at first confused, then alarmed, then angry. Patrick's entire life is being meticulously scrutinized. But why?

Then the phone calls begin. And the e-mails. And then the demands. Whoever is watching Patrick knows everything about him--what he does, where he goes, whom he talks to. He can't go to the police, and he has no choice but to do what is asked. But when the true intentions of his stalkers finally come to light, Patrick will have to decide whether to give up or fight back. In the process, he will learn what his true priorities are and how to value what really matters most.

They're Watching is a tightly constructed thriller. Author Gregg Hurwitz spins out the suspense in the first-person narrative little by little until the tension is so high there's nothing to be done but stay up all night and finish the book. The plot manages to avoid being formulaic while still giving readers the twists and turns they expect. The author is to be commended for telling a great story full of intrigue, betrayal, and high stakes without resorting to the graphic sensuality and violence adopted by many of his peers. Utterly entertaining, They're Watching is an ideal escape for mystery/thriller aficionados. With sympathetic characters, great pacing, and superb writing, this book should easily secure Hurwitz's place among today's premier writers in this genre.
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on July 27, 2010
I'll leave it to others to discuss the plot. I just have to say that this book was riveting and very hard to put down. When I couldn't spend time reading it, I was thinking about the next time I could lose myself in it. This was my first Hurwitz book and immediately after finishing it, I logged onto Amazon to buy two more of his books. There are many unexpected twists and turns and when I thought it couldn't keep up this level of entertainment, it managed to keep me enthralled. I definitely recommend this book.
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on July 15, 2014
It has always puzzled me how an author can write one excellent book only to have another of their books be a complete bomb. This has happened often in my reading lately and has happened with the two books I've just read of Gregg Hurwitz. His YOU'RE NEXT was a wonderful read and THEY'RE WATCHING, which I'm reviewing here, was "OMG, when will it ever end?!" OR, how the first half of the book can be readable/somewhat interesting and the second half reads like the instructions for a root canal.
The biggest flaw throughout the book was its TOTAL unbelievability. The first half = a struggling novelist/screenwriter Patrick Davis whose book is in movie production has a physical altercation with the lead actor, causing Patrick to be fired from the set w/ a lawsuit pending. Thereafter, and things not going well between him and his wife, he starts receiving electronic secret messages that ORDER him to do certain preposterous things for which he feels a sense of responsibility but that make NO sense other than he will do their bidding. (One example: he is ordered to pick-up a duffel bag containing $27,000+ and take it to this house (fake), to this woman (fake/actor), for her to use for her sick granddaughter's (there is none) operation; w/out this money, she will die.) "They" have completely rigged his home with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and have tracking devices in his shoes and on his car so that they know his every move = all designed to control and keep him on edge and in-line but.... WHY would he ever play their game in the first place ? They obviously aren't going to harm him because IF they wanted him dead, he would be by now, so doing all these strange things he feels he must do stretches one's credulity, big-time. Then the actor is found dead, beaten to death by Patrick's golf club, so now he's wanted for murder, and so that he continues to follow orders, they show him a picture of his wife who looks very dead.... he sees but has no proof of a dead body, just a photo, yet Patrick continues to believe in this far-fetched mission, while I'm shaking my head in disbelief.
The second half of the book is the root canal part: it seems that the lead actor was making a documentary about the harmful effects of high sonar decibels on whales and a Senate vote to stop this is imminent. Two huge corporations involved in sonar research, development, marketing want the documentary stopped and decide that only by killing the actor would movie production shut down. All well and good? NOT !! Perhaps billion dollar corporations would/could just contract to have someone killed and have the mess covered up OR put money into lobbyists' hands or Senators' election funds. EVERYTHING that they did, day after day after day, to pin the wrap on Patrick was just ludicrous; I can't believe that they would go to those extremes.
At first, all the hoops they put Patrick through aroused my curiosity, but it just went on and on, becoming more bizarre. Everything hinged on damaging information contained on this one disc that had been hidden in a FedEx package, which was miraculously found, Patrick was free, reunited w/ his wife, and at the end we find him working in a nice teaching position, happily ever after, with the mess over and done with. Egads! I couldn't delete from my Kindle fast enough!
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on July 23, 2010
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Gregg Hurwitz writes suspense novels and comic books, most notably Marvel Comics' Foolkiller, Punisher, and Moon Knight series. His Tim Rackley series about a US Marshal that specialized in tracking down dangerous criminals garnered a large number of fans. But over the last few years he's stepped off into Alfred Hitchcock's suspense territory. He has repeatedly kept me in my chair way up after my bedtime as I struggled to turn one more page and stop for the evening. I can't. Until I finish the book or I collapse from physical exhaustion, I keep turning those pages. I'm betting most readers do.

In They're Watching, he's written another humdinger of a thriller. I don't use that term loosely. They're Watching physically exhausted me as I clung, white-knuckled and insanely curious, to the book and made my way through the winding trail of clues and murders page by page with anxiety that increased like a house on fire.

The opening set piece where screenwriter Patrick Davis shows up at a house with a butcher knife under his thigh and someone throws a grenade into his lap was intense. But I think the novel could just as well have opened with the mysterious DVD that arrived in the newspaper. That DVD shows footage of Patrick in his house - and it's no more than a couple days old.

Hurwitz hooked me with style, reached out and grabbed my attention, and made me think I could easily figure out everything that was going on. Man, I was wrong. Again and again, I was wrong, wrong, and wrong. Every time I thought I had a handle on who was doing what to whom, the ground beneath me shifted and I had a whole new view of the horizon.

They're Watching may be the most intricately plotted Hurwitz novel ever, and Patrick Davis one of his most compelling characters. In some ways, character has to be sacrificed for the stream-lined rush of a suspense novel. Patrick isn't a deep guy on the page. The reader never finds out everything about him or his wife, but enough is presented that he feels like someone the reader knows. Patrick is a guy that everyone can care about. He's not superhuman, doesn't have an ex-spy bag of tricks or a friend that's in Special Forces to guard his back while he figures things out.

The people in Patrick's life for the most part are just as ordinary as he is. His fellow teachers at college are well done, on stage just enough and to such a degree that they were people I know. I loved how commonplace they were, yet knew just enough to help here and there. And I loved the humor and compassion they showed him.

I felt the relationship Patrick and his wife Ariana was a little too manufactured, especially the infidelity that broke them apart, but that angle served the plot well enough. The relationship (especially with the broken dashboard in the car) should provide a good visual in a movie - which is where this story should ultimately end up.

Another key element of the story is the setting. This novel simply couldn't have taken place in any other location. It had to be LA. Hollywood had to be around the corner. Actors/actresses had to be readily available. There had to be room to run and ecological concerns and the threat of corporate business.

I had a great time with this book. The noose around Patrick's neck grew tighter and tighter, and the ways he (Hurwitz too!) figured out to get out from under the murder frame and stay out of jail were ingenious. This book is simply so well plotted that I don't think anyone will figure out everything, but the pieces fit together as well and as prettily as a Turkish ring puzzle.

To get a Hitchcockian movie experience trapped between book covers, Gregg Hurwitz is a craftsman and master stylist. Block out plenty of time for this one, folks, he's gonna nail you to your chair and fill your brain with questions and what-ifs.
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on July 18, 2012
This book was awesome! I've never read Mr. Hurwitz before and can't believe this book was only $2.99. But since, I'll definitely be checking out his other stuff, we'll both get our money's worth out of this exchange! Patrick Davis is a very relatable character, and I loved the relationship between him and his wife. This crazy conspiracy that hits their lives is very intricate and out of the blue and every time I turned the page, the story itself took another turn! I love his dialogue and the characters are described so well. Definitely, give this one its due people!
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on September 2, 2010
The two stars of this book are Patrick and Ariana Davis. Patrick is in a marriage that is failing.After selling his first screenplay he is fired from the movie and
has to go back to teaching screenwriting in a community college. Suddenly DVDs are being delivered to him. He is suddenly aware that he and his wife are being watched.
The DVDs are shot from the front of the house and from the roof of his neighbir's
house. Patrick brings professional help and discovers that there are monitors and microphones all through his house. The more he investigates the scarier it becomes.
He becomes implicated in the murder of a Hollywood star. He discovers that a corporate powerhouse named Festman Gruber is involved in the plot. This company has retained the services of a security company named Ridgeline. Davis calls upon the
services of North Vector to offset the opposition. Davis has to resort to some underhanded tactics to prevail. This is an outstanding movie. Be sure to see it.
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on July 19, 2011
This was my second Gregg Hurwitz novel. Although I did not think it was as good as You're Next it was definitely worth the read. Patrick Davis is an aspiring screenwriter who gets his big break - a huge movie deal with a top name actor. Unfortunately his break is short lived - he has a run in with the actor and is fired from his work with the movie and has a lawsuit filed against him. His life is made even worse by his marital difficulties that result from his focus on becoming a successful screenwriter. When things look the bleakest, it gets worse. Someone begins to blackmail him and then frames him for murder. Although there are slow parts of the book the end is quite worth while. This is a fun read with interesting characters, and nice plot twists (although not realistic).
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VINE VOICEon July 22, 2010
See book summaries above. Gregg Hurwitz is on my 'must read' list for a reason. His thrillers and mysteries have entertained me
for many years. In They're Watching he creates a mystery thriller that kept me guessing all the way through. Along with the guess work,
he ratchets up the suspense. Likable characters and a fast moving plot should please all his fans.
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on April 16, 2016
I nearly gave up on this book, as it took me a while to invest in the main character and his plight. I'm so glad I persisted! Failed screenwriter Patrick Davis is under surveillance by unknown people for an unknown reason, being sent hither and yon on obscure missions for reasons he can't begin to fathom. Suffice it to say that things are almost unimaginably convoluted, and for the last 200 pages I couldn't put the book down. A crazy plot just this side of plausible, reflecting the cynicism and paranoia of US life in the 21st century, this is a gripping book.
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