Book Jacket

 

rank 68
word count 39683
date submitted 17.06.2012
date updated 01.03.2014
genres: Fiction, Literary Fiction
classification: adult
incomplete

Watch

Cass McMain

Some people inherit the strangest things.

 

When Corky inherits her uncle’s diary, she gets a surprise lesson in the family history. Uncle Moony appears to have been hiding a serious obsession regarding his brother… a brother with his own strange fixations.

After discovering what really happened between the two men, Corky can’t decide which one was crazier. Moony watched Edgar as though his life depended on it. Edgar watched his brother right back. But Edgar disappeared, and now nobody has seen him for years.

Obsession seems to run in the family. Now that Moony is gone, who will be forced to take up the next watch?

(Please note: This is NOT a vampire book.)

Watch has found a publisher. At his request, I have removed the last several chapters of this book.

 
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tags

blood, cutting, death, family, fascination, inheritance, insanity, knives, murder, obsession, sanguinarian, stalking, teeth, vampirism

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74 comments

 

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FrancesK wrote 5 days ago

Love the names. And so glad there are no vampires. I always think vampires are a bit of a cheat. Read 2 chapters and will return for more.

nautaV wrote 65 days ago

Watch by Cass McMain
A wonderfully written story full of life and intrigue.
An opening chapter is very important. The average reader decides on it either to go on or stop reading the book. The first chapter of Watch capturers the reader's attention and never lets it go. You've managed to describe uneasy, somewhat tough relations between Moony and his daughter just with few lines. The cross matter is a good hook.
Ch.2
We meet Corky, Lew, Thump, Seth and mysterious Brenda. Realistic scenes, Well thought out dialogues.
Ch.3 A talk with Pam. An appointment. Again our attention is drawn to Moony's fixation on vampires. His decision to leave the collection of vampire books to Corky is intriguing more and more.
Ch.4
Meeting with Pam and Bruce, the relations with whom are not very easy.You show the hospice, its atmosphere very realistically. Even the specific odour.
Again a touch on vampire books. An accent, in fact. The hook comes in even deeper when we see all the precautions taken by Moony (glasses, the ride to the patio) to tel Corky about the Book in private. But what book? He didn't tell her exactly. We're really hooked!
Ch.
Todd and Scott, obedient sons... We see the Book at last and it's luckily boxed for Corky.

Great read, Cass! High stars and the very best regards from me.

Trying to be helpful, I'd suggest to add some Geo locations (Have I missed them?)
and pay attention to Ch. 2:
" He'll look awful she thought. And on the heels of that he'll be out of it."
(I'm not sure with Sequence of Tenses here. Maybe, if you use inverted commas in inner dialogue it will do?)

Valentine But
Escape



SFay wrote 83 days ago

First of all, great book cover. One of the better ones I’ve seen on Authonomy...of course I have a thing against cliche looking photo manips...so I was always going to be partial to this. Still though! Cool design. Anyway...

Chapter 1
The blurb for the book is intrigueing. As far as the first chapter serving as an intro, I’m not sure it accomplishes as much intrigue as it should. I feel Corky needs a character trait of some kind for me to latch onto. However, its short, so that’s a really minor complaint. The writing is strong and easily leads me into...

Chapter 2
Confident writing and some endearing personality quirks within the prose (Thump the cat) are warming me up to the book. As for the story, chapter 2 has successfully piqued by curiosity.

Quib: What all did your cousin say... (Reads clumsy to me, but maybe I just don’t know the accent)

Debbie R wrote 87 days ago

Cass, I have been meaning to read this for ages. I have read 8 chapters so far and am totally hooked.

The chapters are short, very well written and full of nuggets of information that just force the reader to carry on reading.

Chapter one - Lack of trust between Moony and his daughter, Pam is tangible. 'He stuffed it under his pillow as soon as Pam turned her back.'
I am wondering why he would hide a cross beneath his robe and why the urgency to get the books to Corky?
This opening chapter has great pace and demands an answer to the questions raised.

Chapter two - Loved Corky. I warmed to her almost immediately. She exudes warmth and compassion.

Chapter three - This doesn't have the feel of a vampire book and yet it is full of vampire books. Mysterious.
And Moony is leaving his collection to Corky.

Chapter four - 'a dull pudding of a man' wonderful description.
Like the fact Moony still has the strength of character to get rid of his son on a fool's errand so he has a little time alone with Corky.

Chapter five - this provides a welcome lull in the Moony/Corky scenes. Very natural interaction between the two boys.

Chapter six - Corky goes and collects the books. So the books have now changed ownership.

Chapter seven - 'Read the book. Your life depends on it!" Moony' sense of urgency creates hightened tension here.
A typo, I think after *** 6th sentence. 'She closes (closed) her eyes and thought about a day when she was little'.
I like the easy relationship between Corky and Seth.

Chapter eight - the vampire theme grows stronger with Moony giving Corky his wife's cross.
Corky starts to read the book and realises it is a diary.

If I had time I would read more today but real life calls.
It has been a pleasure reading this. The short chapters keep the pace steady and give the story a sense of urgency as though it is demanding to be read. The dialogue is totally believable and 'shows' so much about your characters.
This is just the sort of book I would pick up and buy.

Six well-deserved stars and I will find a spot on my shelf as soon as I can.
Debbie


Ornithograph wrote 170 days ago

This is not a book about vampires. It's about people.
But let us call some people "The Vampired".
What does it mean to be a member of "The Vampired"?

In words, the definition is easy. It means to be a normal human being with a thirst for blood.
Your own blood, a stranger's blood; the blood of the person you most love. WHOSE doesn't matter. The 'Vampired' thirst, and must drink.

Is this thirst supernatural? Why the blast should it be? Are alcoholics or pyromaniacs infected with some twilight-zone curse? A taste for hurting others is no supernatural urge. It doesn't require anything except normal broken human nature. Drinking blood does not even require that you hurt anyone unwillingly. There are as many people out there anxious to bleed, as there are thirsty to drink.

If it helps, consider 'Vampired' as a metaphor for the desire to cause pain, to suck away life; at worst to hunt those who passively or eagerly allow themselves to be fed on. In which case, the Vampired suddenly are a very large population group among us. Probably they vote.

Does it help to examine the human condition using such a metaphor? Hell yes. There is a reason bookshelves are filled with stories of vampires, werewolves, witches and monsters. And there is a reason such tales are most popular among the young. We give labels to what we see and cannot accept. Vampires don't exist. But a kid walking a hostile high-school hallway or facing a drunk grownup at home, knows monsters are real.

And metaphor or flat liquid fact, there are those among us who must hurt others; and there are those among us who live to be hurt. They are just plain born that way. Never let that cause become watered down to a cheap supernatural curse! It is deeper than that. It is human nature. Natural, even if evil. But skip the garlic and crosses as pointless distractions.

From the book: Corky considering what someone says about her uncle's diary.

"It starts off being about the brother, and about protecting people from him, right? But it evolves, doesn't it? Then, in a way, it's really all about Cici. He didn't ever actually make a move until it was for her. And then when he did make a move, and it failed, he got obsessed with that failure instead."
"But he was still looking for Edgar," Corky had noted.
"He wasn't," Grey had argued. "He seems to be, but what he's really doing at the end isn't so much about where Edgar is. It's all about making sure where he isn't."

To read and consider 'Watched' is to watch a woman reading and considering the words of a man watching and considering his brother. That final man watched is the 'Vampired'. Can he be stopped? Can he spread the condition? Is there some act of evil, some word of good, that can cause or prevent membership to the Vampired?

Hey reader, question for you: do you refrain from drinking the blood of others because you choose not to, or because you aren't thirsty for blood? To answer that question honestly, is to declare what you would see in an honest mirror. Label it a special magic mirror, if you want. It comes to the same. What would someone see if they were to watch YOU.

Moony the observer is no saintly person. He is weak, dishonest, and as fascinated by the evil he sees as he is repelled. Corky, the one observing Moony watching Edgar, is kindly yet blank. She is the type of person who is good for lack of any strong desire to be anything else.

In 'watched' that isn't good enough. Corky too must look in the hand mirror that is passed in and out of the story. And she is not pleased by what she sees. It is not enough to merely NOT be born a monster. A man born a monster is at least free of the shame of being less than what he should be.

Those who have a choice, but can not or do not decide, will not be satisfied by the mirror.

In 'Watch' we are given a child to watch. For a long time, we wonder why. He's a sad kid; bullied at school, bullied at home. And when he discovers he likes the taste of his own blood? -we see why we are watching.

And we wonder if something were different in his life, could the 'Vampired' condition be avoided?
Probably not. Bullies are everywhere. People who want you to hurt them are everywhere. And the worst monsters are always inside you. They ARE you. It's why vampires fear mirrors.

Bah. That was all me, trying to explain. This book is too good a story to exactly be explained.
It is enough to say: "Watch" is an excellent character study of one character observing another observe another. And a second person to watch who no one is watching but the long-lost original target of all this watching.

And now you are watching too; which puts you in the story. Consider it an honor, for this is a wonderfully crafted novel. Consider it a challenge, because the questions put to anyone who dares to watch themselves in an honest mirror are difficult ones.

Consider it a damned good bit of tense and thrilling storytelling; because it is.

sensual elle wrote 176 days ago

Whew! My head spins– in a good way. I'm glad the author told us this is NOT a vampire book, but after finishing more chapters than I care to count… wait… 19… I still want a cross and garlic, a huge wooden stake and silver bullets. Wow, this is convoluted, but I enjoy lots of layers and twists and turns.

At least he keeps a diary! Backed!
elle
Diary of a Bad Housewife

Alucard wrote 200 days ago

The strangest things indeed. Well done.

William Holt wrote 202 days ago

The only normal families, C.S. Lewis wrote, are the ones we don't know very well.

Having read Cass McMain's entire manuscript, I find one more confirmation of that memorable assertion. Into this relatively short novel the author has packed so much circumstantial detail and so much strong dialogue that a reader can get totally absorbed in a book that starts well and keeps getting better and better.

Here is the sort of family one can easily imagine living next door. It's hardly what one would call a happy family, but at the same time one would not expect it to harbor such weird obsessions as are revealed in a diary kept by the grandfather of two boys so typical in their attitudes and behavior that one hardly expects either one to do anything very bizarre or shocking; yet when the shock comes, it fits seamlessly into the larger narrative.

I don't wish to introduce any spoilers here. This book is a polished gem that deserves to be read without prior expectations. In a way it reminds me, despite its compactness, of Arnold Bennett's The Old Wives' Tale, with the continuity of past, present and future portrayed in such a wealth of realistic detail that one occasionally pauses simply to reflect on the acuteness of observation, the richness of imagination, and the precision of style that make Cass McMain one of Authonomy's truly admirable writers.

I don't read many books here all the way through, but this is the second of Cass's books that I have felt the need to complete.

Bill
Authonomite since 2009

harlipalme wrote 218 days ago

Nice, natural dialogue.

harlipalme wrote 218 days ago

Nice, natural dialogue.

J.Adams wrote 220 days ago

Finally back to leave you a comment on this extremely well-conceived and well-written story (no surprise, coming from you, Cass, as Sunflower was a fantastic read!)

Chapter One

Great opening scene. And of course, so well edited/proofed that I don't have any suggestions (I had not expected to!)

Chapter Two

Thump. Good name.

Just a thought - if Lewis is close with Corky, his asking if her "boyfriend" is going with her sounds odd (to me), rather than his asking if "Seth" is going with her. It's not much later, at the restaurant, that we can easily learn that Seth is her boyfriend when she tells the hostess she's looking for him and identifies him as "boyfriend."

Chapter Three

I'm not going to say something about each chapter, I've no suggestions for any sorts of improvements, it's written as beautifully, as neatly, as tight and as intriguing as I've come to expect from you, Cass.

Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six

A suggestion here. If Corky saw that the Moony and Edgar photograph date was from '71 she wouldn't need to count back on her fingers to figure out what her age was then, because the year would be so close to the year of her birth. She would have automatically understood that in 1971 she would have been two.

Another suggestion, not sure if you need two "even" in this sentence:
"Hell, it wasn't as if he had even seemed to even enjoy her company when she had been there yesterday."
(I realize it works with both, but it also works with one -- either one, actually.)

Chapter Seven

I'm really not sure of this, you are far better than I at constructing sentences, so I mention this with no certainty whatsoever. But I think the word "might" might be better than the word "may" in this sentence:
"When she got back to the motel, she decided she may as well take at least one of the boxes in with her."

I think "divorced parenting" might be "divorce parenting"

Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine

Great chapter, Cass

Chapter Ten

I think Corky should get Moony to tell Pam that he gave Corky the cross and wanted her to have the mirror, too.

Chapter Eleven

I think the word "he" needs to be inserted between "if" and "could" in this sentence:

"He was joking around with her, but if could have seen her face he wouldn't have."

Chapter Twelve

The slow build is nearly to the boiling point and I've only reached Chapter Twelve. I can see I will have to postpone dinner....

Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Pam is such an unpleasant woman, but she's very believable. A lot of times characters with extreme personalities don't seem real, but she seems very real.

Chapter Fifteen
This concludes Part One. Really excellent writing, Cass, you are so good at the slow, beautifully written, build. I wish you all the best with this and will finish what you've posted, although I'm going to stop reading with a critiquing eye.

Cheers, you've put together another great story!
-- Judy

(...Chapter Sixteen (2.1) is really great!)
..So is Chapter Seventeen.

Oy, I said I wasn't going to continue with critiquing, but here's a sentence is Chapter Eighteen that doesn't sound quite right to me:

"That was nothing so foul as murder, which surely she had wondered as much as Moony had."
Either the word "about" needs to be inserted between "wondered" and "as" OR possibly "That was nothing so foul as murder, about which she had surely wondered as much as Moony had."

In Chapter Twenty, at the very bottom, there's a line break in the middle of a sentence.

This is too good to stop reading...

(I love the way this is not a vampire book, Cass!)

In (Authonomy) Chapter Twenty-Five, how come Moony isn't worried about Vi catching him with CiCi during their picnic in the park (They discuss who would care and think that since Edgar is out of town there is no one left who would care.

(I love that you wrote about never understanding that saying about Little Pitchers (have big ears) because I never understood it, either.)

In (Authonomy) Chapter Twenty-Six I think the word "the" needs to be inserted between "lacked" and "required" in this sentence:
"He knew though, that he lacked required skill for this job."

Not sure if "alright" is all right.

Well, here I am, not commenting and I'm not starting Part Three... Okay, I am starting Part Three, Cass. Dinner is going to be really late.

Pam's a real gem. Very funny scene when she puts that gummy candy back in the bin while rattling on about how disgusting it is that anyone would do that sort of thing. Poor Scott!

Pam is cruel to everyone but she's absolutely horrible to Scott. I'm hoping Scott can get away from her!

(Good one - Hurricane Mom, blows in, screws everything up, blows out again")

...Sort of hoping Pam falls down a well or something.

...Part Four, dinner is a lost cause...

This is getting seriously creepy. When I looked up Sanguinarian there was a ton of information on Google. Not made up for this book, just out there. Some humans seem to have too much time on their hands...

(I think coffee table is two words)

...I can't believe Corky is going to Grey's house. That seems awfully stupid, in spite of Grey being open with her about the strange things he's into....

In Chapter Forty-Six I think the word "a" needs to be inserted between "had" and "tight" in this sentence:
"Ellie had worked herself into a kneeling position on the couch, and she had tight hold of the feeding arm with one hand."

(laughing about that observation that after someone dies, everyone acts like the person was the salt of the earth, even when the person was everyone's worst nightmare.)

Ouch, Cass - I just finished all that was posted, Please let me know if/when you post the rest!

Your characters are all so incredibly believable, Cass, and you've created quite an interesting story here, really quite something. You're a great writer and I wish you all the best!
-- Judy

Lara wrote 236 days ago

You lay out and then build up to the evil act very competently. By 17 and 18 the book became unputdownable. But I had to. Way past bedtime! On the way there were many treats of description. These really enliven yr writing. Essentially, the character of Corky is so convincing that she carries the plot anyway. However, we start w Mooney and become hooked at what he really knew. Super stuff. Rosalind Minett
A RELATIVE INVASION
SPEECHLESS

KathrynW wrote 267 days ago

I read up to chapter 35. I'm very impressed by the readability of your story and the way you lure the reader into your world. I preferred your first section. You really pulled off the sense of mystery as Corky finds the diary and begins to uncover the past. I read this section in one sitting, My only comment would be that you write from Corky's point of view until the chapter near the end which is from Nurse Barbara's POV. This pulled me up slightly, and made me think about the way you were writing rather than being immersed in the story. I don't think this added anything.

In Section 2, the point of view is more or less with Moony, though occasionally it veers away. I was a bit sad to leave Corky, but soon became engrossed again. I am now in Section 3, where Scott becomes the main character. I can see that you are beginning to mirror the relationship between Moonyand Edgar. There are some very well observed details about the way harrassed parents can treat their children unfairly when they don't know all the facts.

Each time you start a new section, I feel that I have to start again from scratch to become engrossed in the story. I became emotionally involved with Corky, then I became caught up with Mooney's story. By the time we get to the boys I'm finding it less easy to loose myself or maintain my interest.

I am giving you high stars for an excellent writing style, and will keep you on my watch list. If you get within spitting distance of Editor's Desk I will back you. This is a much better story than many of the books that get to ED and deserves the chance of a review.

Best wishes

Kathryn
Waters of Grace

Nichola Hunter wrote 270 days ago

Well I have finished it all since you sent me the final chapters. My favourite chapter is chapter 13 - Corky at the funeral - I think that is really raw, honest writing, not that the rest of it isn't good, but that chapter really shone out for me.

I can only repeat what I said - that it is a really enjoyable read and I am not surprised that someone has expressed interest in it - I have a strong feeling that it will be published and also that it will make money.

Nichola Hunter wrote 274 days ago

I'm so glad I was tired and decided to stay in bed and read today. I have almost finished reading this and it has been such an enjoyable experience. Can't wait to read the rest. The thing I find is that it is such an easy read - just flows on and you almost don't notice that you're reading at all. Also can't wait to have a look at you other book now.

Best wishes
Nichola

M. A. McRae. wrote 295 days ago

A professionally written story. Well done, Marj.

Sebnem wrote 381 days ago

Watch-Cass McMain

Hi Cass,
I've read until the end of your Chapter 14, and I am enjoying the suspense and the pace. I still trust your word on the pitch saying that this is not a vampire story although we keep reading about the vampires. I don't like them. I guess it's much more than that, but I'll have to find out. So far, well-written and gripping story. WL'd, high stars, and best wishes, Sebnem-The Child of Heaven

PS I love the writing on your profile...

Roy Batty wrote 402 days ago

Only one chapter in. Reads like a crisp biscuit and a sharp coffee on a clear morning. No clutter at all and characters you can take a walk with. Will read on.

Trenor wrote 409 days ago

Cass, this is very well written and the premise is mysterious, susepenseful, interesting, and unique. I think that your are onto something here and have given Watch High Stars!

-Trenor
The Lords of Invention

Rebecca Tester wrote 409 days ago

Is 61 really the end? Tell me it isn't so! It feels unfinished--there's no resolution with Edgar, with Corky.

I mean, yes, it does pass the torch to Scott (which is sad). The obsession part is definitely there and well defined. Lots of full circle in this book. Loads and loads of cycles repeating (particularly through parental neglect). Lots of familial bonds (how they work and don't work--everyone's divorced, children are rebellious and insecure).

Very interesting portrayal of societal decay through the breakdown of the family unit, but also, strangely, through the devotion in family, particularly between the Grey and Moonrich brothers.

After all, if Moony hadn't covered up for Edgar and had, instead, ratted him out to his parents, Edgar and Moony might have both been saved from insanity. If Moony had drawn a line and stuck to it, e would have called the cops and ratted his brother out (and saved lots of people from undue pain and death, and himself from eventual insanity).

For Grey and his brother, if either had been ratted to the parents, there would have been (hopefully) counseling. But because they stuck together and encourage each other on that path, one of them has disappeared, and the other is stuck to being food. The character of Grey does remind me of Jared, but with self-mutilation and blood-letting instead of sexual servitude and sacrifice. It's the insecurity, the need for penance, the need to nurture someone else (largely, in Jared's instance, because of a lack of support and nurturing in his own neglected childhood. Grey struck me as very similar in this regard). Sacrifice has become confused with love. It's like love only exists when Jared (or Grey) has endured pain--the vehicle of love.

Whereas Grey seems to confuse blood for pain=love, Edgar and Scott have gone the other route of blood=power, which they also find security in.

All this talk of blood and cutting though makes my elbows and knees weak, and my head light. I'll never make it in medicine, as much as I would love to. This book seems to have sealed that deal... :(

Rebecca Tester wrote 410 days ago

Got up to chapter 50. Hate to stop now, but I'll be back later for more!

Helianthus wrote 411 days ago

I'd message you but it says you won't take messages. So, yes, you were right. I fixed it. Thank you!

Chap 37 Nit-- when Nick and Scott are talking about the porn magazines, I think you switched the boys names. Scott would ask Nick what it had been like to steal from his brother.

Rebecca Tester wrote 411 days ago

Chap 40 "It was snowing" should probably be "It's snowing."

Golly, am I looking forward to reading more of this later :D

Rebecca Tester wrote 411 days ago

Chap 37 Nit-- when Nick and Scott are talking about the porn magazines, I think you switched the boys names. Scott would ask Nick what it had been like to steal from his brother.

Rebecca Tester wrote 411 days ago

Chap 37 Nit-- when Nick and Scott are talking about the porn magazines, I think you switched the boys names. Scott would ask Nick what it had been like to steal from his brother.

carol jefferies wrote 411 days ago

Hi Cass,

I just read the first three chapters of your book 'Watch' which has been on my watch list for a while.

The start is intriguing with the paranoid and irrational Moony's suspicion about his patient daughter, Pam. I got exasperated with him myself. Having worked with elderly people in care homes the setting is realistic.

The significance of his collection of vampire books being left not to Pam in his will, but his niece, Corky, makes it a page-turner.

I liked the names you have chosen, although their gender stayed a mystery for a few sentences.

The dialogue is natural, and the family conflict on Corky's part towards her cousin, Pam, adds a realistic touch.

I intend to read more and high stars from me.

All the best with it,

Carol Jefferies
(The Witch of Fleet Street)

Carrie Barrie wrote 425 days ago

First of all, great title and cover. They definitely grab my attention. And I love the tag line. also the pitch is short, sweet and to the point. Some try to put too much info in there and it just gets confusing.

also, I see we are both fans of short chapters, haha! =D I love the little mental break I get, and get bored with scenes that drag on too long. Great short chapters.

In ch. 1 the only suggeston I have is not to slip into the daughter's POV at all. It's only for a second, but I got a bit disjointed, and I don't think her POV adds anything. You can get across how she's feeling just by showing her actions and expressions. Love ch.1 POV from Moony. Great, rich, interesting POV. His voice is loud and clear.

In ch. 2 I would like to see an actual scene of of the cat, just a tiny little one, maybe him reacting to that one employee. And maybe a little flash back scene of her with her uncle when she was a child. I think that would help us connect with all of them.

Otherwise, great writing! It's fast paced, and just clips right along. The characters and settings are well developed without getting bogged down in too much detail, which I highly appreciate. =D

there are lots of things to be curious about just int he first 2 chapters. Oh, the only other thing is I've been told many times you have to spell out "okay" and not write it as "OK". shrug...

excellent, I'm saving it in my WL for a spot on my shelf, and for now 6 stars. I so wish we had time to read all the interesting books we find on here all the way through, but alas, we would have time for nothing else!

cheers!
Carrie Lange
Letting Go

Rebecca Tester wrote 428 days ago

OMGersch, THIS IS SO AWESOME!

I got to Chapter 15 before I had to stop (due to a failing laptop battery and a growling stomach).

Such believable characters. Who hasn't met a Scott, a Pam, a Bruce? Such real people, and you do such a great job painting them.

By your long pitch, I'm assuming nobody's a vampire, and that the story is all about insanity. Excellent!

So looking forward to reading more of this :D

Augustineisme wrote 428 days ago

First of all, I am so sorry it took me so long to get to your book. It has been on my watch list for a long time.

I don't normally read vampire stories because there has been so many, but yours is told very differently. I immediately got a feel for your characters. Uncle Moony's journal, releasing just enough information at a time to keep up the suspense, was excellent work.

I was a little disappointed when you deserted Corky to tell the story from the other point of views, but I am assuming that there is a correlation between Pam's boys and Moony and Edgar. It is all very engrossing, though.

I only read up to chapter 27 and had to make myself put it down and go to bed. I know this is supposed to be a critique, but I really didn't find any major mistakes and your descriptions are great. This is definitely a six star book. Thank you for an evening of enjoyment and I wish you the best with this. :)

Augustineisme wrote 428 days ago
zap wrote 434 days ago

Hi Cass,

this is not my usual genre, but I enjoyed the writing, as you know how to set up a good plot and make it believable. The characters are well drawn, with Corky as the innocent and pleasant MC who receives a strange inheritance, and out of kindness and personal integrity is forced to make herself familiar with the supernatural world which her uncle seems to have inhabited all his life.

I found that your characterisations were revealed through dialogue and small observations which are significant and add an extra dimension - Pam, the irritable cousin, who cares about signatures and whose interest is only roused when she sees a gold-chain, the two boys who address the world in completely different ways while half playing half 'helping', Bruce, who is the powerless brother and of course, Moony whose fragile state is portrayed with the greatest precision, giving a perfect image of a dying man.

I admired the ease with which you combined the rational and the irrational world, and identified the borderlines by employing narrative skills, precise description and a good amount of matter-of-fact dialogue.

Moony's illness and strange behaviour both contribute to making the unbelievable feasible. I was most impressed with the way you built up tension slowly, starting with just a couple of hints, and feeding the reader little chunks at a time, which I found were always timely and meaningful.

Already shelved.

Ame

M.C. Schmidt wrote 435 days ago

This book is excellent. It's well-paced and masterfully written. I've read through some of the previous comments you've received, and I'm slightly at a loss for something original to contribute.

This is unlike anything I've ever read and I found it to be highly entertaining. I admire your ability to build suspense and the originality of your plot.

It's rather late as I write this and that could be having an impact on my ability to articulate my praise for Watch, but I'll sum up by saying that it left me wanting to read as much of your writing as possible.

Highly recommended.

Michael

Tornbridge wrote 457 days ago

Hi Cass

There’s a great sense of creepy mystery here with all the components for one of those curl up and read book. The protagonist who is oblivious to the world she’s about to enter. The mysterious uncle on death’s door with a secret that will help save her life. The handwritten book of the Vampired, new and interesting take on the genre. Nicely done. Enjoyable read. Feels like a film in here too. On the WL.

I have some crits if you want them sending.

Tornbridge
The Washington Adventure

SJ Bell wrote 463 days ago

Hi Cass- I read and enjoyed chapters eight, nine, ten, and eleven of "Watch". Uncle Moony is great, crazy old buzzard that he is. I feel like I picked a good chapter to start- his crazy howling raises goosebumps on my skin.

"I'm not an idiot! I see the look on your face, on their faces! I see death! Death!" - yes, excellent!

I am impressed by your writing style. You have a unique way with words, perfect for this genre. I like the way you reveal the diary in bits and pieces. It adds a layer of mystery to the story, not to mention fear. And the way that you write the diary with a totally different (and more old fashioned) voice than you use with the dialog is brilliant.

"How can I be sure of my motives, when I cannot be sure of his? Can one of the vampired feel love, or only lust; or is it only lust that I feel and the love which is truly his? Has it ever been thus? How can a man ever know the difference, when his eyes betray his soul at every turn, when his lips always desire what he must never have..."

Yes, this is very good. It demonstrates that you are willing to reach a bit, to take a chance and create something that is out of the ordinary. Vampires are so humdrum, but with writing like this you can set your story apart from the rest.

The pacing seems good, the chapters a bit short. You might want to reveal a bit more about Corky, sprinkle in some personal things to flesh her out as a character. You are consistent with the point of view, which I appreciate. The grammar and all seems pretty tight, well edited for the most part.

Good luck and best wishes,
SJ

Cathy Hardy wrote 466 days ago

This is gripping, nail biting, page turning stuff. Very original. High stars!!

Seringapatam wrote 468 days ago

I agree with Mark Cain. You know sometimes we read into a book too deeply and dont let our minds go. I would never read this normally but did so before I read anything below. I really did like it and the reason for that is simple. I didnt judge it as I read it.....I just sat back and enjoyed it. The delivery by the writer was superb and delivered is just as the reader would expect. I have a lot of time for this and I see it going all the way. It was excellent. Second time I have read this and I can see a third and fourth in the future. Well done.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the Rampage. (B.A.O.R) Please consider me for a read or Watch List wont you? happy New Year. Sean

Kit Masters wrote 468 days ago

I have to say I am pretty frightened.
I'm up to chapter ten, I had to find out what the book was about, but now I am bugging out, scared, wimpishly in a corner.
I'm afraid paranormal is never really going to be my thing, I have an aversion to it all that my mother gave me!

I think this is fantastic though, you've completely drawn me in.
A major strength is that you write third person confidently, something I need to learn a lot about.
The story comes across through dialogue and superficial expressions and actions.
And you construct them so well that we have a real insight into the character, especially at this point Moony, who I can really imagine.

I suppose, as I try to offer something useful in my comments, you could consider how you can use the narrator's voice to add a introspective depth to the story, (but you'll know from my writing that this is a pet priority of mine!)
You could, for instance build up the background around Vampires, or hit us with your own opinionsm on the supernatural.
Having the gumption to write "I" in the middle of a third person story would be a tricky balancing act though.

All in all though, I am going to find space for you on my shelf, because I think you've got a very saleable story here, and your hardwork in writing and editing this so that it is very gripping deserves my backing.

Thanks for the read and kind regards,
Kit

Scott Wieczorek wrote 475 days ago

Cass,
Loving the book. I am up to Chapter four and just caught one item that seemed a little awkward: No heavier and no slenderer, I would consider revising to: No heavier and no slimmer. Other than that this is a fantastic story - you've got me hooked! I like it.

Scott W.
Byron:A Zombie Tale
The Disappearance of Charles Abbott Hart

dave farrington wrote 476 days ago

Hi Cass,

I came to your book via the excerpt in the best excerpts thread. The slightly sardonic tone was what attracted me. It's in these early chapters, too, and it works here as well. It's the kind of book I'd like to finish (although because I have to read it on my PC, I probably won't). The characters are well developed, and subtly so. Pam, especially, with her insurance forms and wills, is a delightfully unpleasant creation. The style is just to my taste, neither too plain nor over-elaborate. I haven't really enjoyed a vampire story since 'Interview with the Vampire' (about twenty years ago), but this interests me. I have no idea where it's going in terms of plot, but that doesn't matter as I've only read five chapters. If I felt like that after five of my chapters I'd be worried, but yours are mercifully concise. Just a few comments below and to let you know I'm putting it on my shelf immediately.

Chapter One

I like almost everything about this chapter. The only thing is I'd be inclined to end with 'He couldn't keep watch any more', I think that would be a great hook, especially with the reference to the title. The memory about stealing the cross and the bit about the wires both need to be in there, but could come sooner.

Chapter Two

Should be 'put him in (a) hospice' I think.

How long does it take to visit a dying uncle and collect a few crappy old books from him? At this point the whole discussion about how much time she needs off seems a bit confusing. At first she seems genuinely sorry to inconvenience her apparently kindly employer, but no sooner has he agreed (and even offered her more time if she needs it) than she goes off on a jokey spiel about how the office cat might not be happy with the arrangements. And then, when she's talking to her boyfriend, it seems she doesn't really need so much time off anyway. I'm assuming that for plot reasons you need to have her stay there longer than a day or two, but this doesn't need to be arranged in advance - she could just phone Lew and say she got delayed. The way it is now, it makes Corky come across as rather shallow, insincere, manipulative, even though in every other respect she comes across as likeable.

I'm not interested in detailed physical descriptions of characters, unless they're relevant to the plot, but I would like a better sense of her age. At first I thought she was very young (maybe 18-23) probably because of her name and her 'voice'. But then it turns out her boyfriend has a kid. Of course, he could have had a kid young or there could be an age gap, but because it is a potential anomaly it might be better to mention her age somewhere.

'Corky had obviously spent some time with her cousins'...Obvious to whom? We're in Corky's POV so of course it's obvious to her, because she knows that she did.

Chapter Three

I really like the phone conversation - Pam asks her to come and then acts like she's a nuisance. Only thing is I wouldn't say that kind of thing had always put her off, I'd say something stronger - liked pissed her off?

Chapter Four

'More and more like your mother' - nice bitchiness.

Chapter Five

I like the scene with the boys packing the books and the banter between them, but the shifts in POV, first to Pam and then to the kids, are a bit too abrupt. I don't know how you'd get around it, though, without cutting it altogether.

Will read more and comment more later.

Regards
Dave F

Kira-Techino wrote 499 days ago

I've read the entire thing and all I can say is "wow."
I don't want to spoil this book for anyone who hasn't read it all - but Watch is, without a doubt, the best book I've read on 'vampires' in a long time.

Cass - you're clean writing style allows the reader to really see and feel the layers of the characters, the implications of their actions. Nothing is what it seems, and while I had a 'feel' about Scott and Todd and what would happen with Scott - I wasn't disappointed. Why? Because you never hid anything, you simply showed the reader the facts and we travelled on Scott's journey.
Corky and Glen - well ... come the end I wanted to beat down that door and drag her out.

This is amazing. I love it. LOVE it.

Michael Matula wrote 513 days ago

Excellent, clean writing, a really nice slow-burn sense of suspense, a fascinating “is he mad or isn't he” mystery right off the top, and some really nice turns of phrase and some great, complex characterizations. I very much enjoyed reading this, and the bite-sized chapters were a refreshing change of pace. The “wires” in the eyes have me quite intrigued, as well.

Critiques-wise, I couldn't help thinking it was a tiny bit sparse on description at times, as I was curious to know what type of cat Thump was (adore the name, by the way), and I couldn't quite picture the characters as well as I would have liked. But that was the only possible issue I had--aside from a really minor typo in the second sentence of the long pitch--and it's quite likely just personal preference.

Great job overall.
High stars.

Mike
Arrival of the Ageless

w3junkie wrote 513 days ago

Hi Cass! Not sure I ever thanked you for commenting on my own book Eeny Meeny, so I wish to correct that oversight now along with my review of your own book.
Well written book!

Other than reading most of Bram Stoker's Dracula, this is my first ever read of a vampire story. I was pleasantly surprised, perhaps because only having read up to chapter 11, there is none of the usual blood and gore that one usually associates with such stories.

1. Cover Design ****
Attractive and Simple!

2. Short and Long Pitches ****
Good enough to spark my interest and get me to read!

3. Content *****
The story flows quickly and well, and one is soon drawn into the lives and feelings of the characters. It might be a little too drawn out for some before getting to the 'meat' of the story, but for me it was just fine. Like some previous reviewers, I was a little disoriented by the switching of POV but it was minor.

4. Readability
It was very easy to read and I was at the end of chapter 11 before I knew it.

5 Spelling and grammar *****
I am not a nitpicker, nothing jumped out at me.

6. Overall rating *****
A very good read. Not my usual genre but I may be back for more!
Rated 5 Stars and backed!

Roy
Eeny Meeny: Proof that the Gods MUST be Crazy

Andrea Taylor wrote 513 days ago

I like this. I haven't got far enough to make any constructive criticism, but what I have read I thought was very well executed. Written fluidly and easily, totally believable characters. In fact, I liked it more than that. I thought the writing style really excellent! Sorry, am half asleep and want to watchlist this book for my next bookshelf shuffle!
Andrea
The de Amerley Affair

Edentity wrote 523 days ago

I'm a sucker for vampire stories, I really am. Yeah, I even liked Twilight. :) And I like this but it puzzles me too. The voice is very young and I kept double-checking that it wasn't down as a YA novel. Cos it reads like one - and that is actually a compliment because I love YA fiction.
I'm not too good at the nitty-gritty crit stuff so forgive me if I only give impressions. I can only tell you where the read snagged for me.
The POV shifts pulled me up short, I must confess. In fact, having read the first ten chapters and looking back, I almost feel as if I want that first one to be in Moony's POV entirely - really creepy, crazed paranoid (or, as we later discover, not so paranoid) voice.
And then I have this overwhelming yearning for it all to be in Corky's POV. But I'm a rotten POV purist and I also have a nasty habit of wanting to rewrite other people's books so tell me to shut the fuck up!
When we meet Corky, she seems very young...again giving me the YA vibe. Sometimes, the dialogue snagged for me. 'Please don't worry about us..' Would the shop owner, however fond he were of Corky, really say that? I'd be all hacked off (even if under the surface) and thnking about who's gonna man the shop.
Some lovely lines and some great humour. 'How's the death going?' made me smile.
It's a slow burn, a very slow burn. I found myself champing at the bit to get to the book.
But I like your writing a lot and like where I feel this is going. I hate reading on screen so 10 chapters without pause is going it some for me.
Sorry, that really isn't useful at all,is it? :(

Just Joey wrote 530 days ago

Although the writing is decent, I couldn't really get into this. When I see the name 'Corky', I think of the charming guy with Down Syndrome from 'Life Goes On' (a great, great show), and when I hear 'Moony', I think of the creepy dudes who tried to make me join their cult when I was at college. It brought up too many conflicting memories. There is only ever going to be one Corky for me and that's Corky Thacher. I just don't think I'm ready to accept another Corky into my life right now. Can a girl be called Corky?

JPM

Mark Cain wrote 557 days ago

Perhaps the most unusual yet compelling read I've found on authonomy. This is a book layered in ambiguity, and the reader is never really sure who is good or bad, what is true or untrue, what is right and what is wrong. This is not a book of answers but of questions. For all that, it's a deeply satisfying read, with complex characters that stretch across three generations. This is a book that makes you think, examining your own beliefs, your own notions of reality, normality, sanity.

I'm backing this one. Great job, Cass.

Mark Cain wrote 560 days ago

This is not your typical vampire story. It's more like The Historian than Dracula, a tale of relationships, humanity, and what it means to be human. This is subtle stuff.

I've read 21 chapters now, and I'm still very intrigued. This is a good read, complex, well-crafted. I intend to read to the end, then I'll offer some more comments.

For now, top stars and on my watchllist. Mark

Helianthus wrote 562 days ago

I feel compelled to point out that there is really no connection with vampire comics in this book.

Watch has a quirky feel about it that is intriguing. Corky is a good character that is strong and destined for some surprises that her Uncle Moody has concealed. The Vampire comics is a good hook - suddenly I could sense a twist and it kept me reading. Cass, I like your free flowing style. I think your characterisation is very mature and the story scoots along effortlessly. On my WL for further reading! Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

Andrew Esposito wrote 562 days ago

Watch has a quirky feel about it that is intriguing. Corky is a good character that is strong and destined for some surprises that her Uncle Moody has concealed. The Vampire comics is a good hook - suddenly I could sense a twist and it kept me reading. Cass, I like your free flowing style. I think your characterisation is very mature and the story scoots along effortlessly. On my WL for further reading! Best regards, Andrew Esposito / Killing Paradise

melissa_simonson wrote 563 days ago

Hey Cass.

Well I've heard plenty of good things about your book, so I thought I'd give it a read since there is absolutely nothing on television.

I could find nothing to criticise in Ch. 1, really. I liked that the title reveal came early.

Ch. 2

One thing (and it's not a big deal) I noticed is that Lew is referred to as both Lew and Lewis. Again, not a big deal, I just think maybe it's better to stick to calling him by one name.

While I'm on this Lew train, he says Corky's name, or a variation of it, an awful lot in dialogue, and I don't think it's always necessary.

Another small thing was that there were lots of names thrown around, and (I've gotten this comment before, which is the only reason I'm mentioning it now) it could be construed as confusing to bring more than a few names into the mix so early on.

I want Thump.

Corky's ideas on why Thump hates Brenda was amusing.

I spent far too long wondering if doors 'clink' shut before I gave it up and moved on.

In the first few paragraphs of this second scene in the second chapter, there is a lot of the word 'eyes' going on. I think you could easily eliminate a few of them during the parts where Corky is scanning the room. We know (or should) that she is scanning the room with her eyes, unless she's carrying some large stockroom scanner around with her.

The end of this chapter was fine, but I think it could have been a little more poignant to end it at that last dialogue bit that said 'sometimes it just goes too fast.' I couldn't tell you why I thought that, though. I don't mind abrupt chapter ends or scene breaks, and I thought that would be a better page turner than the few sentences that follow.

I do like Corky, though. She's got this sort of dry humor thing going on that I can always appreciate, and it makes for a good narrator.

Ch. 3

I don't have any negative things to say about this chapter but that there is a lot of 'was' going on, which I have learned is not good from an editor. Apparently it's passive voice? I don't know. It doesn't bother me, really, just wanted to pass it along.

I like how you're giving us small chunks of information at a time to avoid the dreaded 'INFO-DUMP' authonomy members love to complain about.

Okay again I think it may have been better to end this chapter on the 'she might even find one she wanted to read.' And again, I cannot tell you why this is, I'm just very odd that way. Best to ignore me, for the most part :)

Also, your chapters are a perfect length. Not long enough to scare people off, and that's always a good thing.

Ch. 4

I think the description of Bruce in the beginning could stand to be a little less tell-y. (I feel like a douche for pulling the show not tell card, though) The 'Dull pudding of a man' thing was good, but I'd have liked to know how he looked beaten and tired. You said he had bags under his eyes, but maybe something like lavender skin sagged beneath his eyes. Or something. Okay my attempt was awful, but I hope you know what I meant by that ramble.

Smiled a cold smile seems a little too...smiley. Unless you were going for purposeful repetitiveness? It works, I suppose, but 'cracked a cold smile' would have eliminated one extraneous smile if that wasn't your intent.

I like Corky more and more, especially with the 'you gained a few pounds, huh Pam' bit.

Loved: 'The Dying Rooms' bit.

The description of Moony was great. Simple, and a hint of the madness he must be experiencing.

There's a few too many adverbs I'm noticing, that I feel you don't need...'intently', 'rapidly', 'blearily', 'furiously', 'noncommittally', 'gently'. While some work, I think you could strike a few -- you'v done your job right as a writer, and I feel the reader could infer, sans adverbs, what it looks like. If that makes sense. The blearily could be eliminated through saying something about Moony's eyes being glassy, or glazed, whatever. Though honestly I seem to be Ms. Adverb queen, so I should just shut the fuck up. I notice them a lot more now after going through edits. Sigh.

With the 'Did Dad enjoy the patio?" portion there's a few unnecessary dialogue tags. We know Pam is the speaker, so I think leaving them out would make that part just as strong.

Hope I was helpful, but I seldom am. One last parting note: I really like the cover. It's crude, almost childlike, the drawing, but it seems to make it more creepy, and matches the ambiance and mood of your book.

M



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