Are you watching? by Vincent Ralph
Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9780241367421. 371 pp.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Fans of mystery thrillers will grab this riveting book, and like me, will probably read it in one sitting. Jess is a 17 year old young woman whose mother was murdered ten years before by the Magpie Man, a serial killer. Determined to find him, she goes on a reality YouTube series in an effort to uncover more clues about his identity and see if she can lure him out of hiding. Once a week she is filmed for a whole day and she uses this to reach a huge audience.
Ralph's use of short chapters with a new twist at the end of most of them is perfect to keep the reader involved and determined to read on as Jess's use of social media brings out many followers and not a few crazies. Red herrings are scattered throughout and the reader is left wondering just who the Magpie Man is, until the exciting conclusion of the book. The police appear to be totally bamboozled by what is going on, and disinclined to listen to Jess, even when it appears she is being threatened by the Magpie Man.
Jess is an engaging character, one who does not want to be a victim. She makes mistakes, and she doesn't know who to trust, but she is very determined to find the killer. With the popularity of reality shows like Big Brother, readers will easily grasp the notion of Jess reaching millions and see the consequences of the social media event, both good and bad.
Fans of Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder and One of Us Is Lying will be delighted to have another great thriller to read.