Shaley O'Connor is used to life lived at a fast pace: as the daughter of Rayne O'Connor, lead singer of the band Rayne, Shaley's been on tour with her mom's band for almost three months when this book opens. Though she misses her friends back home, Shaley's content with the knowledge that her best friend Brittany is on her way to spend a few weeks with her, and the friends she has among the crew keep her from feeling lonely. Things seem to be going well for Shaley until Tom, one of her closest friends on the tour, suddenly turns up murdered...and it seems that his murder is only the first of many events that will leave Shaley scared and unsure of everyone, including her own mother.
Always Watching is a murder mystery set in the glamorous life of a rock star's daughter, where layers are revealed that make it more than just the story of a dead body (or two). Shaley has some issues: she feels that her mother, while loving, doesn't always show her much attention, and the mystery over her father's identity eats away at her. In fact, Always Watching is less about Shaley solving a murder than it is about Shaley discovering more about herself. This includes a rather unexpected (for me at least) encounter with a backup singer about God and how He is actually the One who is always watching. I admit to being a little thrown by that aspect of the novel--it seemed to come out of nowhere at the moment, but later attempts at having Shaley question God's intervention in her life flowed much more smoothly.
A slim novel and the first in a series, Always Watching is good, though not great. The murder scenes are described violently and Shaley deals with death in logical yet surprising ways. I found the feelings of adults about Shaley either shallow or creepy; the one page glimpses into the killer's mind throughout seemed forced and out of place to me. But Shaley is a fairly typical teen, even if her mother is a rock star, and her reactions are normal for the circumstances. This short book was a fast read and ended with enough questions that I will definitely be looking for its sequel.