The Watcher in the Shadows
by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Carlos Ruiz Zafon is a quality writer and having previously read The Shadow of the Wind I found myself tempted by this book as I browsed the bookshop at Birmingham Airport en route to Armenia.
I like to have a good supply of reading matter for to occupy the long hours in the air and I bought this one with the return flight in mind (I already has The Bookshop that Floated away for the outbound leg).
This is a gripping, if slightly sinister tale set in 1937 which is one of Zafons early works. Its by no means as complex or as good as his later Shadow of the Wind, but it is aimed at a teen market which explains the less developed characters and the fact that I read through the 250 pages in less than four hours.
Its a dark and almost magical storyline where a mother and her two children find themselves deeply involved with a mysterious employer in his creepy gothic castle. Dark sinister going on's abound with a counterpoint love story to balance things out. Eventually good faced down evil and comes out victorious, but only after many skirmished and battles.
In some ways thew creeping darkness present in the book foretells the shadows the Second World War cast over Europe, a genie which cant be put back in its bottle.
All in all a good, fast moving book which works for an adult reader, but dont expect another Shadow on the Wind.