Under a Watchful Eye

Under a Watchful Eye

Under a Watchful Eye by Adam Nevill is a supernatural thriller from the award-winning writer of The Ritual and Last Days.Seb Logan is being watched. He just doesn't know by whom.When the sudden appearance of a dark figure shatters his idyllic coastal life, he soon realizes that the murky past he thought he'd left behind has far from forgotten him. What's more unsettling is...

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Title:Under a Watchful Eye
Author:Adam Nevill
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:400 pages

Under a Watchful Eye Reviews

  • Kimberly
    Mar 25, 2017

    Review pending!

  • Tina
    Dec 27, 2016

    Sometimes what we perceive as the ultimate horror, the nadir of our existence is but the beginning…

    That is certainly the case for Sebastian 'Seb' Logan, well-to-do horror author with an almost unhealthy obsession for cleanliness and order. Earlier in his life, while still trying to find both himself and his way, Seb looked for guidance and temporarily found it in Ewan - the literary, philosophical, artistic type who always seems to put art above other necessities of life, eventually degenerating

    Sometimes what we perceive as the ultimate horror, the nadir of our existence is but the beginning…

    That is certainly the case for Sebastian 'Seb' Logan, well-to-do horror author with an almost unhealthy obsession for cleanliness and order. Earlier in his life, while still trying to find both himself and his way, Seb looked for guidance and temporarily found it in Ewan - the literary, philosophical, artistic type who always seems to put art above other necessities of life, eventually degenerating so far that existing within normal society is no longer possible. Not quite in as deep as Ewan, Seb managed to escape this strange codependency and the squalor that came with it.

    Decades later, his strange roommate all but forgotten, Seb has come to some fame and settled down comfortably, albeit in almost complete isolation, save for the occasional superficial contact. All is tidy, organised, regulated. Seb might occasionally feel lonely, but is not nearly bothered enough to initiate change. Soon, though, the choice is take from his hands as uncanny experiences start to make him question both his physical as well as his mental health. It seems Ewan has found a way to reintroduce himself into Seb's life and force him out of his comfort zone, in a manner as extraordinary and unnatural as has always been his second nature.

    Yet dealing with his once-again roommate is hardly the biggest challenge Seb has to face as he slowly comes to realise that there is much more to Ewan's delusions than he ever expected; that restoring his life to its previous order involves far more than simply removing his roommate and those he brought with him…

    ***

    After portraying a very real 'evil' - in both nature and man - in 'Lost Girl', Adam Nevill once more returns to undeniably supernatural realms with 'Under a Watchful Eye'. Allusions to his previous novel 'Last Days' are well placed and give the informed reader an idea of what to expect from 'Eye'. Nevill skilfully draws from real life ideas and transforms them into the disturbing, unnerving images we have come to expect from his writings.

    Once again we are thrust into a world that is almost our own, but different to just such a minuscule degree that the ordinary effortlessly takes on terrifying qualities. More than once the reader will stop to think, to consider, to listen. And more than once he/she will shudder and look around cautiously, hoping to spy nothing - no shadow, no peripheral movement. He/she will know there is nothing, CAN be nothing. But then again, don't we all think we know something for certain… until we are proven wrong?

    If you loved Nevill's previous work, getting 'Under a Watchful Eye' should be a given; if you call yourself a fan of horror but have never read any of his novels or stories, that is a blunder which should quickly be corrected. Since I first read 'The Ritual' years ago, I have been eagerly awaiting each new novel and have not once been disappointed - which is quite a feat, considering what a picky reader I am.

    (While I did receive an ARC of 'Under a Watchful Eye', I would have gladly paid for it - and will certainly order the hardcover/paperback once it becomes available).

  • Keith
    Dec 24, 2016

    Adam Nevill has launched to the top of numerous lists as being one of the finest, and consistent, horror writers out there, and his latest, "Under A Watchful Eye," is another excellent addition to his prominent published resume.

    "Under A Watchful Eye" is a story that easily unnerves the reader from the very beginning, when the strange appearance of a "watcher" erupts the daily routine of Sebastian Logan's idyllic, semi-famous life. What follows is a horrifying journey that pulls him apart, piec

    Adam Nevill has launched to the top of numerous lists as being one of the finest, and consistent, horror writers out there, and his latest, "Under A Watchful Eye," is another excellent addition to his prominent published resume.

    "Under A Watchful Eye" is a story that easily unnerves the reader from the very beginning, when the strange appearance of a "watcher" erupts the daily routine of Sebastian Logan's idyllic, semi-famous life. What follows is a horrifying journey that pulls him apart, piece by piece, dissolving his rational misconception of reality, and ultimately allowing him to learn the truth of what lies beyond the physical realm of this world.

    To say any more would ruin the effect of the story, and it is this EFFECT that truly mesmerized me. Honestly, at first, I went into reading this with a full head of steam, and got derailed early on. I realized I had to stop and begin again because I was approaching it the wrong way: I had to slow down and savor the writing like a fine, delicious wine. And like he does with all of his works, Adam Nevill infuses his story perfectly with the five senses, breathing life into the words, allowing the characters and world to come alive inside the reader imagination. And honestly, this is where "Under A Watchful Eye" really separates itself from its predecessors: it's as if it IS a living, breathing thing, pulling the reader under its dark embrace, immersing themselves into the unfolding nightmare too. I honestly had some restless nights while reading this story.

    Lastly, fans will appreciate that "Under A Watchful Eye" and "Last Days" are bookends to each other, both stories intertwined within the same mythos of cults, extremists, and relentless search of answering the truth of WHAT LIES BEYOND.

    A MUST HAVE for all horror fans.

  • Dee
    Dec 26, 2016

    In the greylands we found others in different form. They wept in our faces or clawed us from out of the mist. If they are angels or the souls of the departed, then none should be hasty for the dark.” And into those lands and that darkness of his latest book UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, Adam Nevill invites the reader, to go back again with him to his earlier roots of horror and psychic terror but with a different approach and a change in tone, to discover a new territory of astral terror, and restless s

    In the greylands we found others in different form. They wept in our faces or clawed us from out of the mist. If they are angels or the souls of the departed, then none should be hasty for the dark.” And into those lands and that darkness of his latest book UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, Adam Nevill invites the reader, to go back again with him to his earlier roots of horror and psychic terror but with a different approach and a change in tone, to discover a new territory of astral terror, and restless spirits, and dreadful spheres!

    UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE is not a traditional horror, it is a very original one of different realms and malevolent things, they are as scary as those diabolic deities that live in the Scandinavian forests, very evil as those small shadows who haunt the Red House, they are hungry spirits, restless souls, monstrous things who are lost in dark dimensions parallel to ours! With a fresh eye, a fresh nose and a fresh mind the reader is to visit the disturbing and the maddening presented in a temple of unbearable squalor and filth. And the fears that are induced in those realms are multiple, from mundane to arcane; a fear of home invasion, more of a whole life highjack, a fear of anarchy and chaos, where “the imposition of the chaotic and disorderly into the life of the orderly, the unclean forced upon the clean” it is a fear of losing what was earned by hard work and perseverance, where all can be disappeared in a second; it is by an unwanted intervention, an unwelcome person and a haunting grim past, a life can be shattered to pieces! And that what happened to Seb Logan, an acclaimed horror writer, when Ewan, a ghost from an ugly past, interrupts suddenly his idyllic peaceful life in South Devon. A drunk and an addict vagabond, preaching delusions and weird ideas, Ewan won’t bring only his filth and stench to Seb’s life, but an inescapable nightmarish reality that will turn Seb’s life upside down! Another fear appears here, the return of a miserable period of poverty and trust-abuse and betrayal, of a past that Seb tried hard to erase with his dedication to his work, his self-discipline and organization;

    And with mundane fears, come those of the arcane, of the unworldly spheres, of a pure evil where Adam conjures the world of Hades and its inhabitants. It is a place where darkness only lives and to which Seb is involuntarily dragged with the reader: again, the unbearable immense metaphysical manifests itself this time through astral projection, lost spirits trapped for ever. It manifests in a haunted derelict sanatorium, in an unreachable paradise to where the lost skitters on all four, in a dark river in the confines of a dirty tunnel where blind figures wade. To the uncanny atmosphere comes the overwhelming sense of despair that the reader shares with each character, the good and the bad, all are desperate, all are trapped in their shackles, starting with Seb who finds himself tied up in an unwanted situation that keeps deteriorating into a horrible cul-de-sac and ending with the hinderers or the lost souls who are prisoners of the darkness, and in their search for a light that doesn’t exist, they sob, they cry, they claw at the reader’s mind who becomes as well desperate to know if an escape ever exists from the maddening void out there.

    Hades, astral projections and l’au-delà are all new themes Adam is tapping into, but old demons cannot hide. The diabolic cult and folk-horror and lunatic fringe of a forgotten society are revisited in UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, where no one can be trusted. As for the supernatural and the weird and the strange, who is better than Adam Nevill to convey them! Frightening things inhabit each chapter of UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE where Adam turns the banal ordinary into a ghastly extraordinary! the incarnate and discarnate are overlapping, all of the time, in different spheres that exist simultaneously in the same place, those grueling images of the dead, the inhabitants of Hades, the discarnate, are described as hellish emaciated bodies, bone than flesh, patchy scalps with wisps of hair. It is an atmosphere of the macabre that overshadows here.

    Like in every book, Adam engages the reader’s senses to his distinct world of smells and visuals and sounds and in UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, it is into a temple of reeking odours, morbid visuals and horrific voices. Starting with a festival of the miasma, the sebaceous and greasy scents, the sweat of cattle, where every hygienic rule is cruelly violated, where yellow teeth reign and unwashed flesh live. There is an abundance of sensory images and meticulous description of each detail, the sacrilege depicted in smudges and stains are here to haunt the reader’s mind! To the images of the dead and the departed, a cacophony of dreadful voices join. The wretched whining, the distant sobbing of a man in the middle of the night, the shrieks and muffled voices calling for mercy and succour are too scary to fathom. Of those visuals and voices, I find the scenes in the train and in an abandoned derelict house are among the scariest situations and should be considered as substantial references of ones of the most horrific scenes in contemporary horror.

    But within the grotesque and horror, Adam draws a beautiful picturesque of South Devon where he lives. It is a very endeared place, to which Adam calls the reader to peek a glimpse. “ a door in heaven might have cracked to release what glittered on the water like a million pieces of polished silver” this is the author’s tribute to his surroundings, “an outstanding natural beauty” amidst the sweet beech and larch, beautiful trees, a beautiful sea where water became of an enticing aquamarine colour, a beautiful old harbour, the vivid purple buddleia flowers, all are displayed through the eyes of the author who cherishes everything about him, these are vivid images drawn without pretentiousness or exaggeration, it is a place etched with a personal affection.

    In UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, Adam exhibits a particular set of characters, from the reclusive loner to the narcissistic sociopath passing by the social misfit. From his short story YELLOW TEETH in SOME WILL NOT SLEEP – Adam Nevill’s collection of short stories- Seb and Ewan originated. Adam granted his protagonist Seb, some of his personal traits and antics, which adds to the character a certain charm and renders him more dimensional and living! Like Adam, Seb is a horror author but a more conventional one, who writes also for PAN. And like Adam, he appreciates his surroundings , the beautiful English coast where he takes long walks to write and which he portrays as a place inspiring creativity “if you can’t write here, you can’t cut it anywhere” he is also neat, organised with dedication and commitment to his writings and he smokes electronic cigarettes. But, unlike the author, Seb leads a lonely existence where he keeps everyone at a distance, he is a loner that finds solace in his isolation and loneliness. In a blunt contrast comes Ewan, this long forgotten mentor materializes in the world of living and dead to contaminate Seb’s life physically, mentally and emotionally so everything metamorphoses into something Seb loathes and fears. It is the author’s creation of the misfit, the rebellious artist, the hater and the egoist, a living example of self-destruction in all levels. A wretched squalor that reeks from each pore and breath, a self-absorbed manipulator with set of odd ideas but who never understood himself. And to those main characters, Adam introduces other faces and other evils, a narcissistic sociopath who lived before on earth but now wanders in a parallel sphere, the Master of the weird and something horrifying called Thin Len .

    When it comes to the craft, Adam Nevill presents with eloquence a well-plotted novel with a slow burn quality. The tension builds up without the need to rush actions. Three parts with titled chapters is a new approach used cleverly by the author to masquerade a very intense twist and unexpected turn. The cinematic atmosphere, another trait of Adam’s compelling writing style, is to take part in UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, in addition to the beautiful fine vocabulary and powerful descriptions and the many aesthetic similes and metaphors to savour such as these beautiful sentences plotted with the dust and the shadows and something insidious had placed itself between his life and the sun.

    I should mention, for a reader of Adam Nevill’s work, that the allusion to LAST DAYS and its characters, creates a sense of enjoyable familiarity and reminder of old monsters, as scary as those who exist in UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE .

    In UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE, Adam Nevill is without a doubt the Master of the weird , he offers another fiendish book that gives a meaning to sheer terror and maddening and unnerving sentiments and juddering feelings that he intends to leave in every story he tells. Once again, he proves that disappointing is not a word that comes with his books because he cuts them from a personal experience, carves them out of a sharp observation of his surroundings and a fascination for the unexplained and the unthinkable and something immense of uncanny nature, all is evoked in his beautiful fine prose and eloquent writing. UNDER A WATCHFUL EYE is an amalgamation of morbid visuals, reeking odours and sheer despair, all shrouded in the strange and the weird that constitute par excellence Adam’s trademark because no one defines PECULIAR like him.

    Hence, to every horror fan and aficionado of the strange, in fact, to every reader who seeks a good fine book with an original story, Adam Nevill simply is the answer.

    I take the chance here to thank the author for giving me ARC and which I enjoyed reading and reviewing.

  • Liz Barnsley
    Dec 14, 2016

    Scary imaginative stuff here from Adam Nevill.

    Review to follow soonish.

  • Maureen
    Dec 21, 2016

    *Thank you to

    for providing me with a paper copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

    Seb Logan is an author of some repute amongst his army of avid fans of the horror genre. His writing has enabled him to live an extremely pleasant life in a stylish, orderly home, overlooking the sea in Devon, but he's about to become the lead character (albeit unwillingly) in a real life nightmare, that could have escaped the pages of one of his books.

    When Ewan, an old friend from U

    *Thank you to

    for providing me with a paper copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review*

    Seb Logan is an author of some repute amongst his army of avid fans of the horror genre. His writing has enabled him to live an extremely pleasant life in a stylish, orderly home, overlooking the sea in Devon, but he's about to become the lead character (albeit unwillingly) in a real life nightmare, that could have escaped the pages of one of his books.

    When Ewan, an old friend from Uni, walks back into Seb's life, things begin to take on a very sinister turn. Ewan has spent decades researching the paranormal, and in particular, the Afterlife. However, his research appears to have come at the cost of his sanity with his manic rants, as well as his personal hygiene, which has become non existent, resulting in him resembling a rather dirty and extremely odorous vagrant, such is his obsession with his desire for the truth, above all else.

    Seb wants nothing to do with Ewan, but Ewan has other ideas, and he manages to manipulate Seb, into doing his bidding, with some truly frightening results.

    This was an imaginative, well written novel, with the tension building throughout to create some spine chilling moments. With Seb as the narrator, it was easy to share his experience of his once peaceful existence being shattered, and turning into one suffused with an air of menace. Would definitely recommend for lovers of the supernatural.

  • The Grim Reader (Beavisthebookhead.com)
    Jan 11, 2017

    Britain’s premier literary horror writer is at it again with ‘Under A Watchful Eye’ – a book that sees Nevill move back towards his fondness for the supernatural in a tale that is brooding, beautifully written and deeply unsettling.

    Last year saw Nevill release his excellent short story collection. An excellent collection it was too, though I think the novel format is where he truly shines. Novels enable Nevill to build his characters and his settings up piece-by-piece. Like a carefully construct

    Britain’s premier literary horror writer is at it again with ‘Under A Watchful Eye’ – a book that sees Nevill move back towards his fondness for the supernatural in a tale that is brooding, beautifully written and deeply unsettling.

    Last year saw Nevill release his excellent short story collection. An excellent collection it was too, though I think the novel format is where he truly shines. Novels enable Nevill to build his characters and his settings up piece-by-piece. Like a carefully constructed building, Nevill sets a solid foundation before moving upwards at a steady pace until reaching the top where you are seemingly flung off into an abyss of horror.

    ‘Under A Watchful Eye’ is the story of writer Sebastian Logan. Logan is struggling a little with his latest book, somebody is trolling him with fake book reviews and this is just the start of his problems. He begins to see ghostly images in his home and outside. The image seems to be following him. One day an old university friend (“friend” being a term I’d use very loosely) Ewan, appears in his life. Looking like he’s been living rough for the past ten years, Ewan wants to get Sebastian involved with something he has been writing, to structure and edit his work. Sebastian doesn’t want anything to do with Ewan, but threats of never being left alone force his hand, leading them both down a path of supernatural horrors, the after death and an age-old cult.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The whole concept of astral projection and the between-death is fascinating to read about. Similarly with Nevill’s other works, there aren’t an abundance of characters, instead Nevill chooses to focus on, pull apart and dissect the few he creates leaving you with a clear image as to who they really are. Another big plus is the setting for the book, Dartmoor and the south-west of England provide a wonderful backdrop for which the story is told and what better place for the book to reach its climax than an old abandoned hall?! I also enjoyed the little nods to one of Nevill’s earlier books ‘Last Days’. Seriously, if you enjoyed that one in particular then you will love this one.

    ‘Under a Watchful Eye’ is another example as to why Nevill is revered so much within the dark fiction community. His writing is sublime, the atmosphere that he creates is superb and his take on the supernatural is both original and scary. A wonderful book.

  • Pamela
    Feb 04, 2017

    I’ve long been a fan of Adam Nevill, so when

    was released my expectations were naturally high.  When I started reading, I must admit I wasn’t entirely sold.  The book has a slow moving, brooding narrative, and I found myself at one point thinking I’d need to come back to it when I was in more of a leisurely reading mood.  But I kept reading, and the experience was better for it.  The dread was palpable, and the way Nevill writes is darkly beautiful with a lyricism that you r

    I’ve long been a fan of Adam Nevill, so when

    was released my expectations were naturally high.  When I started reading, I must admit I wasn’t entirely sold.  The book has a slow moving, brooding narrative, and I found myself at one point thinking I’d need to come back to it when I was in more of a leisurely reading mood.  But I kept reading, and the experience was better for it.  The dread was palpable, and the way Nevill writes is darkly beautiful with a lyricism that you rarely see in horror novels.

    Seb Logan is a well-known horror writer, working on his new book from his comfortable seaside home.  His idyllic life is crashed into disarray when a friend from his past appears and threatens everything Seb has worked so hard to achieve.  What follows is a descent into the darkest recesses of the self, where Seb must confront sinister forces from within and without.

    Adam Nevill taps into the everyday fears we all have and writes them in a way that makes them terrifying.  We, as readers, see ourselves reflected in his characters and that is what makes his works so frightening.  His prose is florid and expressive with an originality that makes him a unique writer in the genre.  He is descriptive in a way that builds his world naturally, without forcing too much information on the reader.  The fact that we can build our fears into his descriptions is what gives the weight of real horror.  With an antagonist like Thin Len (who will no doubt visit me in my dreams for many nights to come) he is so terrifying because he will appear differently to every reader.

    The characters in

    are not the most deeply developed.  Some appear only for a few pages before disappearing into obscurity, and the motivations of some others I found to be a little ambiguous in places.  At first, this is what made me enjoy the book a little less, but the more I read, the more I realised that it was essential to making this novel so chilling.  Seb is a character who is trapped, and by minimising his interactions with other characters, it only serves to heighten the feeling of isolation that surrounds him at almost every turn and makes us question his sanity, just as the characters around him do.  We experience Seb’s subjective reality, one that Nevill manages to make real in all its terrifying and grotesque glory.

    felt a lot more subtle than Nevill’s previous works which initially threw me.  But once I was engrossed it proved itself to be a creeping tale of horror that was both visceral and stimulating. It was a story that blurred the line between life and death and fiction and reality with allusions to one of his previous novels,

    , that help tie everything masterfully into his fictional universe.

    Adam Nevill is a master of horror and a writer that every reader who considers themselves a fan of the genre should become acquainted. 

    has proven his versatility and talent as a writer and is a must read.

    This review and more are available at my blog

    .

  • Matthew
    Feb 09, 2017

    Another killer of a book from Adam Nevill. The man can write. Full review to come!

  • 11811 (Eleven)
    Mar 25, 2017

    If Scientology had been invented by Lovecraft, rather than Hubbard, this could be his Dianetics.

    Recommended for fans of the skillfully written weird and creepy. This will haunt me for the foreseeable future.

    If this bus is headed for heaven, I'll wait for the next one.