by Jon Steele
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.