Ross Armstrong is certainly a talented actor, as anyone familiar with his appearances on British television screens in such favourites as Foyle’s War and Jonathan Creek will testify. His RADA training also equipped him for weightier fare such as Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Royal Shakespeare Company. But a novelist too? So it seems, as his debut novel The Watcher is due out just after Christmas. The kind people at Harper Collins have just sent me an ARC of the novel, so what’s it all about?
It seems to take as its central plot device the well used trope of someone observing from a distance what appears to be a crime – or at least a mysterious happening. Bryan de Palma used the device in his 1984 thriller Body Double, which was itself an homage to the 1954 Hitchcock classic Rear Window. More recently, we all know what a runaway success Paula Hawkins has had with The Girl On The Train. Armstrong’s observer – or perhaps voyeur – is a young woman called Lily Gullick, an ornithologist with the obligatory pair of excellent binoculars. Her optics enable her to spy on her neighbours, and she indulges her imagination by inventing stories about them and their lives. But then one of her fantasy dramas take a very real turn, as one of Lily’s subjects – an elderly woman – is found dead.
Lily has been watching. But she soon learns, as one of the unforeseen consequences of the old woman’s death, that someone has also been watching her, and what was just a harmless bit of nosey-parkering is, all of a sudden, a matter of life and death. Follow this link to pre-order The Watcher as a Kindle or a hardback.
Gil Hogg, although living in the West London district of Fulham, is a New Zealander. His novel Rendezvous With Death is far from a debut, as Hogg’s first novel A Smell of Fraud was published as long ago as 1976. He returns with a story which begins in the explosive atmosphere of present day Pakistan.
Nick Dyson has abandoned his career as a barrister in London to act as personal assistant to a British diplomat – Robert Laidlow – in Islamabad. What seemed like a smart career move goes dramatically wrong when the diplomat is kidnapped. While the authorities are busy blaming the usual suspects – Islamic extremists – it dawns on Dyson that the criminals may in fact be working for a powerful European businessman with an implacable grudge against Laidlow and his family, and that his own head may be the next to roll.
Rendezvous With Death came out at in Kindle at the end of September and you can take a closer look plus a glimpse of Gil Hogg’s earlier books by visiting his author page. If you fancy a print version, then you can order one from the Troubador home page.