Girl Watching You by J.A. Schneider


A young woman, obsessed by a man she considers a predator, climbs a fire escape and thinks she sees a murder.

Out of work actress Ava Beck, reduced to working in a West Village flower shop, starts to watch womanizing hedge funder Peter Greer, who lives near. He likes to romance his girlfriends with flowers.

Ava notices bruises on his troubled-looking date named Chloe. Concerned, she follows them after work to Chloe’s studio, second floor in the rear of a brownstone. She hears them arguing, climbs up the fire escape just as Greer angrily sees her…and plunges into a world of stunning twists, murder and madness worse than any she could have imagined…

Scheider continues to be one of my go to authors for crime thriller novels, especially when I’m wanting some psychological thrills to go with my murder.

This book is written from the perspective of Ava, a deeply unreliable narrator. She’s taken to peering in through windows and being invasively nosy in other people’s lives following a trauma in her own life, and some of the things she does makes my skin cringe away in embarrassment for her but the remarkable thing is that this is by design rather than accident. Ava is aware of these compulsive behaviours and knows that they’re not good, but she’s only able to do so much to stop herself.

Obviously, this kind of compulsive nosiness gets her into trouble and then she finds herself investigating the murder of young woman she’s never properly met, we don’t know how much of her account to trust as it’s coloured by her own trauma and her strange responses to things. It’s this that makes it harder to decide whodunnit, rather than any extra suspicious behaviour by other characters to throw you off the scent.

I love Schneider’s writing style at the best of times but I especially appreciate that she clearly makes a conscious effort to avoid any swearing in her books and keeps the crime scene gore to an absolute minimum, which is not only a nice touch for more sensitive readers but also I find it avoids any strong language or violence detracting from the mystery itself.

I highly recommend this book to fans of murder mysteries looking for a slightly different take on things!

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