Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Final Cut by S.J. Watson.
S. J. Watson’s first novel, Before I Go To Sleep, became a phenomenal international success and has now sold over 6,000,000 copies worldwide. It won the Crime Writers’ Association Award for Best Debut Novel and the Galaxy National Book Award for Crime Thriller of the Year. The film of the book, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, and directed by Rowan Joffe, was released in September 2014. S. J. Watson’s second novel,
Second Life, a psychological thriller, was published to acclaim in 2015. S. J. Watson was born in the Midlands and now lives in London.
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About the book
S.J. Watson writes: ‘In writing Final Cut I wanted to move away slightly from the entirely domestic, urban and claustrophobic feel of Before I Go To Sleep and open the story world a little. I’m returning to my preoccupations of memory, narrative and identity, though bringing a fresh spin and new maturity to them.
The story follows a young ambitious documentary film maker whose first film was lauded and her
second less so, and who is struggling with her third film. She hits on the idea of making a film about life in a small, northern village and is persuaded, against her better judgement and for reasons unknown, to film in Blackwood Bay. Once there she discovers a town shrouded in mystery and full of secrets, that threaten to engulf and ultimately destroy her. She has to dig deep to save herself, as well as the lives of others.
In researching the book, I was drawn to the idea of the way we document our lives now, on Instagram and Twitter etc., and the downsides of that, as well as the darkness that can hide in plain sight and the abuses that people can visit on their fellow humans. The sad fact is I had to tone down some of the horrific atrocities I read about, or else the book would’ve been too dark, even for me.
Alex is an ambitious filmmaker, who is under pressure to deliver the same kind of quality work she has previously. Living up to her own hype isn’t as easy as it sounds. An anonymous tip-off leads her to Blackwood Bay, and a world of pretence, lies and a very dirty underbelly of such a pleasant place on the surface.
For me this had a Gothika vibe, not sure if anyone remembers that excellent example of small-town gothic horror. This story has the same kind of underlying insidious feeling that seeps through the quaint rural village. Watson combines that with the vulnerability we expose ourselves to with our dependency on social media and digital footprints.
‘The sad fact is I had to tone down some of the horrific atrocities I read about, or else the book would’ve been too dark, even for me.’ – I thought about this sentence a lot. It kind of captures that baser instinct of humans that we like to overlook, ignore and deny. Powerless to change the fact that some people are willing to cross boundaries without a thought. Be cruel, destructive and intentionally cause pain just because they can. I think it’s important to consider that when horrendous acts and atrocities are written about, especially those in an historical context, that the true level of inhumanity is always watered down for future audiences or generations.
On that note I’d just like to add that the fact Watson can inspire dialogue and thoughts of such depth in a mere comment on his own blurb and his work, is a testament to his talents as an author.
Buy Final Cut at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday; pub date 6th August 2020 | Hardback | £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.