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by Jon Steele

3*

A crippled boy, an amnesiac detective and a high-class prostitute become embroiled in dark forces plotting to take possession of creation through the secrets held in the Cathedral of Lausanne.

Part crime mystery, part dark fantasy, it reminded me a little of a John Grisholm novel in that it was both lacking in surprises yet impossible to stop reading, and the ending was predictably disappointing – a shame, because this novel could have been so much more. The characters are well-drawn, true individuals; Marc Rochat, especially, was a delight and his world – a cathedral populated by long-dead, judgemental bishops, fallen angels, chattering ghosts and talking bells – was far and away best part of this novel. Marc’s universe is one that will stay with me for a long time and I could happily have read a story woven around him, his cat and his cathedral; the crime novel embroidered around this central theme only served to get in the way, and water down what could have been a brilliant fantasy novel in the Clive Barker mould.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I thoroughly recommend it for a long-journey and for the beach; it’s a first-class page turner that is never extraordinary but could have been. The Watchers feels like it started out as a wonderful idea, but the author got cold feet and watered the brilliance down into an airport book, which is a very great shame indeed.

I do wish the author didn’t refer to the cat as a ‘beast’ quite so often. Cats are cats, they are never beasts.

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