Adam Nevill's 'Under a Watchful Eye' - a review

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(Last Updated On: May 9, 2019)

It’s always a pleasure to find the long heritage of Torbay Horror being continued- and a great relief to find the paranormal banner being raised again so efficiently. Shelley, Stevenson, Crowley, Lytton and Lumley- and now a locally-set novel by Torbay-based author Adam Nevill maintains that tradition.

Not many novels begin in Paignton and feature Brixham – and none that I’m aware of feature a terrifying scene of malevolent invasion of our world set on the Newton Abbot to Torquay late night express!

Now we have Adam Nevill’s ‘Under a Watchful Eye’ (2017), a supernatural thriller from the award-winning writer of Last Days and The Ritual – the latter now being a 2017 movie.

Here’s the plot: Seb Logan is a successful horror author living a secure and affluent life in Brixham when a terrifying alcoholic and drug addled face from his past begins to stalk him. And that’s just the beginning of a psychological and supernatural horror tale of mounting unease and dread that begins in sunny Paignton and involves a journey to a brooding Dartmoor.

Some very dark things are to be found in Adam’s imagination, and ‘Under a Watchful Eye’ is well worth reading. But beware – this is an innovative and challenging novel and certainly not for the faint -heartened.

The Guardian has called Adam, “Britain’s answer to Stephen King” and, this time, it’s not an exaggeration. As King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” And Adam has certainly done his background reading, with past authors loved by horror aficionados name-checked in his writing – Arthur Machen and MR James, among others. It’s good to see an author aware of his own tradition and going beyond the clichés of vampires and traditional hauntings. As Adam has certainly proved his reading and his writing is producing some great storylines, we can look forward to more from this accomplished Torbay writer.

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(Author)

Kevin Dixon went to Audley Park – now Torquay Academy – and South Devon College when it was at Torre. After studying at Birmingham City University, he returned home because there’s nowhere else quite like Torquay. He then became involved in community and adult education, completed a PhD, and started writing about the weird and unknown side of town. He now Chairs Healthwatch Torbay and is involved in health and social care in the Bay.