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The Watcher: A Novel of Crime Hardcover – May 15, 2014

3.9 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Who would want to kill Carla Roberts, a quiet, retired divorcée with few friends and presumably no enemies? And what could Carla possibly have in common with ­middle-aged wife and mother Gillian Ward? If there were a connection, surely Samson Segal would know about it. An unemployed 30-year-old living with his brother and sister-in-law, Samson is enamored of the Ward’s close-knit family and spends a large part of his day watching Gillian. When Gillian’s husband is murdered, Samson is a prime suspect. He’s protected by an unlikely source—Gillian’s lover, who is her daughter’s tennis coach and a former police officer dismissed for sexual misconduct. In Link’s skilled hands, seemingly disparate story lines come together in a nail-biting climax. This is the second novel (following The Other Child, 2013) by a best-selling author in her native Germany to be released in the U.S. Fans of Tana French’s twisty crime novels will devour this suspenseful read. --Karen Keefe

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“After reading only a few pages, it is easy to see why she is the most successful female crime author in her home country. This phenomenal, multilayered mystery offers plenty of psychological intrigue and suspense. Fans of psychological thrillers and dark mysteries will love this engrossing novel.” (Library Journal (Starred Review))

“Most readers would never guess that this gripping psychological thriller was the work of a best-selling German novelist. Link’s English-language debut is a dark, disturbing novel of suspense on par with Minette Walters. Link builds a sense of menace in these chapters that makes the reader dread turning the page but keeps you up all night doing just that.” (Booklist (Starred Review))
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pegasus (May 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1605985597
  • ISBN-13: 978-1605985596
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I loved the premise of this book and found myself seriously creeped out by it in the beginning. Definitely not the kind of book you want to be reading when you're at home at night by yourself. But I liked that- I wanted to read something creepy. I thought there was good character development and I was totally on board with everything until about 150 pages from the end (this is a long book). I was devouring this book, but with about 1/4 of the book to go, I already knew how it was going to end. And then it just dragged on and on from there. I pretty much skimmed the last 100 pages. Sometimes authors get to the end and wrap things up too quickly, but in this case, it was just the opposite. She felt the need to spell everything out and it just took too much time. But still, overall a creepy, good read.
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Format: Hardcover
Like tightly-written psychological thrillers? Like a novel that will keep you up until 5am? Like a 'who dunnit' that you will never second guess? Then treat yourself to Charlotte Link's THE WATCHER stat. You will have to look long and hard to find a better read this, or most any, season.

So, bolt your windows, double lock your door, and hold on to your shorts because you're in for a terrifyingly wonderful ride.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I recently discovered Charlotte Link .This is only the second book I read by her. I love the way she writes and describes things and persons characters.She goes deeply in everything she writes in a beautiful way.I love her style. "The watcher" is a psychological thriller and once you start to read is difficult to put the book down.It takes you from the beginning through all the developments.I am not going to say anything about the story but I am sure you will deeply enjoy it if you are into this kind of books.Buy it read it and you will remember me!.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this book on the basis of a review in the NEW YORK TIMES, but the reviewer must have been having an off day. The book starts out creepily enough for the first few pages (maybe that's all the reviewer read.) but falls apart after that. I'm being unnecessarily cruel here,because a lot of the problem involves a very bad, clunky translation. The translator has a shaky grasp of English verbs and almost no knowledge of English idioms. Next time Ms. Link should hire an interpreter, not a translator.
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Format: Hardcover
Charlotte Link is, of course, a top German author who has been writing for years, with many of her books translated into English. I would have preferred to read the original "Der Beobachter" (literally, "The Observer") but I was also curious about this translation.

But first, the story: this one is great if you like in-depth psychological mysteries; if you're just looking for action, this novel may not be to your taste. The psychological analysis of the characters is deep and insightful, and Frau Link has created a set of players that really need analysis. There's the heroine, Gillian, who has a host of problems with her husband, her daughter, and ultimately, with herself; she launches into an indiscretion and then things get really bad for her. There's the anti-hero, Samuel, who is the observer, and whose problems and behavior are bizarre to say the least. There's John, the fallen cop, who has his own issues about commitment and ego.

And there's a vicious serial killer on the loose, and Scotland Yard is baffled. The Yard detectives play a fairly minor role, but they do prove analysis of their own and the whole plot ties together nicely. There's plenty of creepy suspense, and the ending is a study in how to skilfully produce extended tension without losing the reader's interest. It all turns out to be very satisfying, quite believable, and in general, really well done.

There are a couple of issues. The book is long. That didn't bother me, as an "analysis" tale needs a lot of pages, but again, if you want something fast-moving, this may not be it. The other issue, which is a little more bothersome, is that it's really difficult as the reader to identify with the characters, unless you've got similar problems in your own life.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good murder mystery. The culprit is introduced early, but is not suspected until the plot is well developed. Link's style of writing provides an easy read and even though there are a few hiccups of repetition (these may be a result of translation), they do not detract from the overall read.
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Format: Hardcover
I had never read this author before. I liked the premise of the story but it unfolded slowly without a lot of suspense until the last 100 pages or so. I liked all the suspense at the end but it took a long way to get there. I prefer a book that hooks you and keeps you guessing all the way through. A little too subdued and then a good ending.
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Format: Paperback
The prologue sets the stage for the murders to come, though the motive isn't immediately clear when the first victims are two elderly women.
Samson Segal, an unemployed man who passes time spying on his neighbors becomes the prime suspect when the third victim is the husband of beautiful Gillian Ward, who has become an obsession for Samson.
While Samson views Gillian as a perfect woman, he is unaware of her own doubts about her marriage and her performance as a mother, doubts which have led her into an affair with her daughter's tennis coach. John Burton, a former Scotland Yard detective, who has his own character flaws.
When Samson flees to avoid arrest, Burton becomes his protector and they join forces to solve the mystery.
Link is regarded as one of Europe's bestselling crime writers and this novel was absorbing enough to keep me reading. That said, I didn't find Burton a particularly engaging character. I was much more intrigued by Detective Inspector Peter Fielder and Detective Sergeant Christy McMarrow who were given short-shift by the author. And, while it might be the fault of the translator and not Link, there seemed to be a heavy reliance on cliche throughout the novel.
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