Watching Edie

watching ediePublished: 2016
Author: Camilla Way

A chilling psychological thriller


Last week saw the publication of a couple of great psychological thrillers, the first being Clare Mackintosh’s second novel I See You which I reviewed yesterday and the second was Camilla Way’s third novel Watching Edie about a teenage friendship which goes dreadfully wrong.

Edie lives alone in a small, dingy flat in London, she’s about to have a baby but has no friends or family nearby to offer support. She has deliberately shut herself off from the world following a traumatic incident in her teens. Her former best friend Heather suddenly appears and offers support when most needed but the girls parted under a cloud and Edie is suspicious about Heather’s motives. Could Heather’s seeming kindness be hiding something much more sinister?

If there’s one word which sums up Watching Edie for me it’s ‘claustrophobic’, everything about the story is suffocating. I truly understood and felt Edie’s panic and rising dread at how Heather had taken over her life and I was almost shouting at her to get out of the flat. Everything made me feel uncomfortable – in a good way. Camilla Way has created a brilliant atmosphere in Watching Edie.

The time-frame switches between present day and sixteen years previously when the ‘bad thing’ happened. The tension builds up as we wait for events to unfold – and they don’t always do so in the way we expect. As the stories unfold to their entwined climaxes we get to know both main characters a bit better and I certainly found my sympathies torn between the two women. Both are clearly disturbed by events in their past, even before they met each other and this has ramifications across the years.

I wasn’t however as sold on Watching Edie as other reviewers. I can’t quite pinpoint the reason why – perhaps because I never entirely trusted either Heather or Edie I was never fully engaged with their stories. Both were guarded and the lack of reliable narration meant that I was never emotionally invested in their stories.

Watching Edie offers a frightening insight into the lives of teenage girls and the consequences of dysfunctional friendships. It’s a chilling and compelling psychological thriller and while I was never fully involved in the story, I was always aware of how well the book was written and the fantastically creepy world that exists within the novel. A very good book, but not the brilliant one I was hoping to read.

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