cover image Under a Watchful Eye

Under a Watchful Eye

Adam Nevill. Pan MacMillan, $12.95 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-5098-2041-2

Nevill (Lost Girl) generates few scares in this unremarkable horror novel, which starts stronger than it finishes. English novelist Seb Logan has written several successful books that benefited from the publishing industry’s decision to promote horror as the hot new trend. But his tranquil life is unsettled by visions of a man dressed in dark clothing who seems to magically vanish and reappear, images that cause Seb to question his sanity. Seb’s identification of the spectral figure haunting him only magnifies his unease; Ewan Alexander, whom he’d not seen in a dozen years, had shared a room with Seb while both were undergraduates and served as a mentor for Seb’s nascent writing career, introducing him to the works of horror authors such as M.R. James. Ewan’s reentry into Seb’s life triggers a devastating series of events that will neither surprise nor unsettle veteran genre readers. Despite the genuinely creepy opening chapters, this effort disappoints. (Dec.)