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Deathwatch is a thriller, set in Edinburgh in the present day, about a fourteen-year-old girl who is being stalked. She doesn’t know until almost too late, but you know, right from the start. You know she’s being stalked but you don’t know who by, you don’t know why, and you don’t know what the stalker plans to do to her. One thing you do know: the stalker is obsessed by insects…

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Deathwatch was shortlisted for the Essex Book Award and the RED Book Award. It was the best-selling book in the Edinburgh Children’s Bookshop for the year after it was published, beating JK Rowling and Stephanie Meyer.

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I wrote this book with pupils from The Mary Erskine School in Edinburgh. The “Deathwatch” Girls helped with all sorts of things: choosing names, helping with teenage email language, telling me when things were not scary enough, deciding that a Madagascan Hissing Cockroach was much better than a stick insect for one particular scene…

Main reviews

Keith Gray, in The Scotsman: “Plotted like a crime novel with plenty of cliff-hangers and red-herrings, this feels like a story aimed at teenage girls who want more grit, who find Twilight and its ilk too wimpy.”

Jill Murphy, 5* review on the Bookbag: “It’s genuinely creepy, this book. I dislike insects as much as Cat does, so when a spider jumped out of a bouquet of flowers and ran across her shoulder, I spent the next hour shuddering and dusting myself down. There are a number of scenes every reader will recognise – walking home in the dark or the rain, and worrying about footsteps behind you, or the hooded figure coming your way. We also get to sit behind the eyes of Cat’s stalker, and that is exceedingly uncomfortable.

“…. the sense of menace if you don’t [guess the stalker’s identity] is absolutely palpable and renders the book a real page-turner. I read in one, rather breathless, sitting.”

Nikki Gamble, on Writeaway: “Deathwatch is a finely crafted intelligent thriller. The drip feed of detail creates real suspense and just as we think we are getting a grip on Cat’s stalker, new suspects challenge our assumptions and judgements. …Sinister, tense, thought-provoking and entertaining, this is a fine teen read.”

Vanessa Robertson, The Edinburgh Bookshop: “An outstanding book. The feeling of menace and suspense is established from the beginning and builds steadily until the climax of the plot where the stalker is revealed and Cat has to run for her life. Nicola is clearly a talented crime writer and it would be interesting to see her write a crime novel aimed at a grown up readership.”

Anne Johnstone – The Herald: “…As the story hurtles towards its surprising and truly terrifying climax, Morgan cleverly interweaves several themes with her customary attention to detail: stalking (including by internet), entomology, the pressures on outstanding young athletes torn between their own ambition and the desire for normal teenage fun, schizophrenia and Gulf War Syndrome. But ultimately this is a book about the importance of holding onto your dreams and the corrosive power of despair.”

Polly Bartlett (13): “I read Deathwatch in one night. It is one of those books that you just can’t put down – an outstanding book. It was cleverly written, revolving round all of the charaters. There is a feeling of suspense, that carries on from the first word, all the way to the last.”

Roman (13): “I really enjoyed this book, it gripped me from the start with a modern storyline which centres around a girl called Cat who chats online to friends, but things go horribly wrong when someone starts to stalk her.  This is an easy and compelling read with a really exciting ending, and would definitely be of interest to girls and boys.”

Alana (14): “Deathwatch has all the ingredients of a perfect teen thriller. … will keep you hooked from start to finish to find out who, from the many suspects, the stalker is.”

Priya (14): “The best teenage read of 2009!”

Ben (15): “Seriously creepy. Loved the insects!”

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