Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I'll Be Watching You by Charles De Lint

I'm a huge fan of Charles de Lint as anyone who has read this blog for some time knows. He writes some of the best fantasy out there in my opinion, mostly in the Urban Fantasy genre...one of my favorite of the fantasy sub-genres. I'll be Watching You is one of several books that he wrote under the pen name Samuel Key where he takes a departure from fantasy instead focusing on horror and murder-mystery type novels. It works...I'll say that much, but at the same time this is my least favorite of the de Lint novels that I've read. Much of the book felt awkward to me and that may be because I had a pre-conceived notion of what a de Lint novel should be. His imagination just doesn't seem as free to roam with this one and it almost felt like he was held back when writing this novel. It feels like maybe an amateur de Lint book. I know...it sounds like I hated it, but that's far from the truth. Once I really got into this one, I REALLY got into it and couldn't put it down. It becomes fast paced about 150 pages in and then it just doesn't let go, and his imagination is still certainly here as he comes up with some pretty inventive ways of killing people...I just wanted some supernatural element to enter :p But that's my own bias. I understand that this wasn't one of those books of his, so I partly feel bad for even judging it on that. So er...what's this book all about anyway? I bet you want to know that. Rachel Sorensen is a woman who has long been kept under her husband's abusive hand. Once an artist, she's now become lost in fear. As the book opens, she's left her husband after he once put a gun to her head and tried to kill her while off of his medication. And now she lives in fear that he'll come back to finish the deed. She's taken steps to remove herself from him and hide herself, yet he still manages to track her down of course. While Rachel thinks she's worthless, there is a man across the street from her apartment building who does not. We soon meet Harry Landon, once a famous photographer who has now disappeared into the shadows. He's become infatuated with Rachel, convinced that she's the goddess who will restore beauty to the world. He just has to "release" that goddess who's trapped inside her body. He watches her every move from a telescope in his apartment, taking pictures of her through her window, dressing up in disguises to follow her, and slowly working his way into her life. He's become obsessed. And he wants no harm done to her. When Rachel's ex-husband comes back to claim her life again, he's killed by a mysterious man who Rachel begins to think of as her guardian angel, the same man that is watching her every move unbeknownst to her. However, things begin to seem less angelic as people start dying all around her for the smallest of offenses. So I know that I kind of sounded like I was trashing this novel at the beginning of the post, but it's really a good book with just a few "oh brother" parts to it that are way to predictable. Like I said, I just don't think this is his genre, but it still made for an excellent RIP read and it was truly a riveting story that kept me awake late into the night....and looking over my shoulder all the time by the way. Now that you have this schizophrenic review to go on, I hope that you do decide to read this one if you're looking for a good murder-mystery...just promise me you'll try some of his fantasy too ;)

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