Book Review : When I wasn’t watching by Michelle Kelly

September 23, 2014 Book review 0 ★★★½

What was really interesting about this book was that it dealt with the aftermath of a horrific crime.  Lucy’s son was killed by a teenager in very traumatic circumstances and now the murderer is due out on parole release.  It is a still crime novel as a new crime is committed but the focus is equally on the past crime and the fallout from that.

Book Review : When I wasn’t watching by Michelle KellyWhen I Wasn't Watching by Michelle Kelly
Published by Carina UK on 4th Aug 2014
Genres: Contemporary Women, Crime, Thrillers
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

Every parent's worst nightmare... Eight years ago, Lucy and Ethan Randall's little boy, Jack, was abducted and murdered by teenager Terry Prince.  A moment's distraction had ripped a family apart – and with the loss of their son came the collapse of the Randalls' marriage.  Tortured by memories, Lucy was left to battle her grief while raising her remaining son alone.

Now, Jack's killer has walked free, giving him the second chance at life that little Jack never had.   Lucy's wounds newly opened, her world is turned upside down a second time when another child goes missing – and she can't shake the suspicion that Prince has struck again.

When DI Matt Winston, the same officer who found Jack's body, is assigned to the case, the echoes of Lucy's past grow ever more insistent.  Bound by their tragic shared experiences, Matt and Lucy grow closer – and become fixated on bringing the culprit to justice.  But now history has repeated itself, answers seem even further out of reach. And for Lucy, it's time to face her ghosts, and ask the most terrible question of all: can she ever really forgive herself?

First Line of I wasn’t watching by Michelle Kelly:

 “They told her over the phone.”

 My thoughts on When I wasn’t watching by Michelle Kelly:

This was such a relatable book.  Obviously (and luckily) not many people will have experienced the horrors that Lucy and her family have gone through.  But we have seen similar stories in the media and your mind does wander down into thinking about how you would cope if it came to your doorstep.

I thought reading about Lucy’s thoughts and feeling the weight of grief made this an emotional read.  I also appreciated that this book took a wide 360 degree swing and examined the lives of all those involved in the crime including the offender and his family.  It was disturbing but very, very thought-provoking.

However a theme that I haven’t ever seen covered in another book and which really made me think was how a mother who has lost a child struggles to still be seen as a woman and not just a grieving mother.  There are some explicit sex scenes in the book and they felt a little out of synch with the rest of the book.  But I liked the paradoxical mix of the grieving mother and the frenzied love-making as it reminds you of all the all emotions and conflicting feelings that are boiling up deep within her

“Was she expected to be on her own forever?  To spend the rest of her life locked in the prison of her grief while the whole world carried on without her?”

The romance element to the book added some lightness and a welcome relief to some of the heavier overtones.  I believed in the couple and wanted to see things work for them.  Even though we just got glimpses of how ‘right’ they felt for each other, I could feel the deep pull and attraction that each of them had for the other.

The feel of the book was a mix of psychological thriller with a domestic setting and a romance book.  And it feels equally balanced on both sides so I think it will appeal to fans of both genres, especially if you like your thrillers with a domestic feel.  I did find the mystery easy enough to figure out.  As there were other angles to the book, I didn’t overly mind this but it always a little disappointing when the suspense doesn’t hold out.

Overall this was a fairly unique read and I will definitely read more by Michelle Kelly to see what else she will come up with.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars



Who should read When I wasn’t watching by Michelle Kelly?

 I’d recommend this to those who like crime fiction with some romance scattered into the mix.  I’d also recommend it to those who like to ponder over the moral dilemmas in books as you will find much to think about here.  It would also make a good book club choice (do be aware there is some crude language though).

Thanks to NetGalley and Carina UK for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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