Updated: Jul 1, 2021
A semi-inflated football and a curious little girl.
They called it peacekeeping. For Corporal Lindsey Ryan it was anything but.
It’s been three years since that bright day in the Golan Heights and the explosion which killed two and changed the survivors forever.
Now Lindsey deals with the many problems of the city’s troubled youth, to distract her from her own. But as damp days turn to night the kids return home, or somewhere like it, and she returns to her own private war. One that exists solely for her.
Certain that she’s being watched and certain that she’s losing her mind, Lindsey battles with the demons of post traumatic stress, while a very real threat edges ever closer until she finds herself face to face with someone who wants nothing more than to finally help her to die.
And it’s the last person she ever could have seen coming.
Blue helmets and blurred lines - While Nobody is Watching delves into the dark world of PTSD and a battle scarred soldier struggling to find a place in her new world.
Set in Cork City, this urban Irish feminist psychological thriller features a female Irish army veteran suffering from PTSD. Stalker meets military veteran, and her ex-service dog Frank in a side of Ireland that few see.
Whilst Nobody is Watching is a brilliantly written, captivating thriller that hooks you from the outset. The vocabulary and symbolism used by Michelle Dunne throughout is impressive to say the least and Dunne is successful in creating a strong emotional connection between the reader and the characters, especially the protagonist, Lindsay Ryan.
Lindsay Ryan, an ex-Irish Army Soldier suffers from PTSD. She’s tough with a no-nonsense approach but as we move through the book, her vulnerabilities bring her to life. She has for a little while believed that she’s being watched; at home, at work and even in the middle of the night when, as darkness falls and brings about nightmares of her harrowing tour in Syria, she passes the hours running.
Since leaving the Army, Lindsay works in a centre for vulnerable children who have been in trouble with the police, a job that she is passionate about. She is an inspiration to all of the children there, particularly Jamie Cossens, a 13-year-old who began shoplifting as a cry for attention after his mother died of cancer and he had to go and live with his disinterested father and his new family.
Another fascinating character is Lindsay’s friend and former soldier from her troop, Adam Street, who runs a gym in Cork. Extremely protective of Lindsay, they haven’t seen each other for 3 years too involved in avoiding the shadows of their tour. When they come back into each other’s lives they manage to deal with their demons in a touching, quintessential way.
Each page is easy to imagine with its rich descriptions of the surroundings and characters that have been written superbly and with a lot of consideration to their different plights in life.
Soon, the feelings that someone is watching become reality as Lindsay finds threatening notes pinned to her front door followed by photographs that have been taken of her on a camping trip with some of the kids from the centre and after that, a vicious assault. But who would want to harm her? There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for anyone.
The subject matter of PTSD and heroin addiction has been approached with sensitivity and an emotional depth.
One of the highlights of this book is the relationship that Lindsay has with her loyal dog, Frank. It’s beautifully told. The lengths that Frank will go to, to protect Lindsay speaks volumes about the respect and love they have for each other.
This is a heart-warming story of friendship, loyalty and trust wrapped up in an exciting thriller that kept me guessing the identity of the antagonist until the very end.
All in all, an excellent read that I would highly recommend.