S.J Watson

Final Cut

""Watson plumbs the depths of the psyche to produce an enjoyable read.""


Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to ordinary people.

It used to be a buzzing seaside destination. But now, ravaged by the effects of dwindling tourism and economic downturn, it's a ghost town - and the perfect place for film-maker Alex to shoot her new documentary.

But the community is deeply suspicious of her intentions. After all, nothing exciting ever happens in Blackwood Bay - or does it?

Blackwood Bay. An ordinary place, home to an extraordinary secret.

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I liked the premise in 'Final Cut', the filmmaker going to Blackwood Bay, what had once been a seaside haven, but now seen better days. Watson is extremely good at slowly peeling back the layers of a person's psyche, and as with his debut, he does this again with Alex's amnesia, or is it more than that? Is her memory loss more selective than she wants to admit? She has a connection with Blackwood Bay, but what it is, isn't even clear to her. Girls have gone missing in the past, with another stepping off the cliff that overshadows the village ten years ago. These are all very interesting mysteries that got my interest. Watson's writing flows very well and he builds up to his denouement with great pace. I do feel that too much of the book was centred on Alex, her thoughts, her actions so that I didn't get a sense of the other villagers. People seemed to drift in and out of the story without really leaving a sense of themselves once they had gone. This is entirely different from his debut where I could see, feel and smell the small cast of players in that drama. Also, Blackwood Bay didn't come alive for me either, and a sense of place is important. As the book drives towards its conclusion, the action picks up and the secrets begin to spill. Unfortunately, much of what is uncovered can sadly be believed, although one part may stretch some credibility. Watson is a highly addictive writer and is adept at keeping his cards close to his chest and allowing his reader to stumble blindly around in the dark until the lightbulb moment. Once again Watson plumbs the depths of the psyche to produce an enjoyable read.

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