Title: Watch Me by Jody Gehrman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
For fans of dark and twisty psychological thrillers, Watch Me is a riveting novel of suspense about how far obsession can go.
Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.
Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.
As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?
A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.
Watch Me by Jody Gehrman is a tangled tale of obsession and murder.
Kate Youngblood is in her late thirties and still reeling from her recent-ish divorce. She is a college professor struggling to make tenure and a published author whose latest novel is rejected by her agent. With her best friend, Zoe, about to give birth, Kate is feeling left behind and unnoticed by the opposite sex. Needless to say, she is quite flattered by the attention of one of her students, Sam Grist. Realizing she would be committing professional suicide if she acts on their mutual attraction, she tries to keep the intense twenty-two year old at arm’s length. However, unbeknownst to Kate, Sam has been quietly and carefully stalking her for quite some time and his obsession could turn deadly if she thwarts the plan he envisions for their future.
Sam is quite charming and oozes sex appeal. But Kate notices a few less than savory aspects of his personality that do not initially alarm her. She is astonished by his poise and maturity and her low self esteem leaves her very vulnerable to his attention. Kate is a bit of an annoying character who whines a lot about her life yet she is unwilling to do anything to change her circumstances.
Sam is sly, cunning and deeply troubled. He has been obsessed with Kate for years and he will do anything to make his intricate fantasy about their future together a reality. Sam well aware that he is quite different from everyone else and he has made a very conscious effort to mask his inadequacies.
Written from alternating points of view, Watch Me has an interesting storyline but it is incredibly slow moving and somewhat repetitive. None of the characters are overly appealing and for the most part, they are a little under developed. Sam’s past is nominally more interesting than Kate’s but both characters lack depth (which is maybe the point?). Sam’s obsession with Kate is quite creepy and the way he stalks her is chilling. Kate is incredibly self-absorbed and it takes her a little too long to clue into the fact that someone is paying a little too much attention to her. And her reaction once she does realize is eyebrow raising (but not in a good way). Jody Gehrman is a gifted storyteller whose latest mystery is intriguing but never quite measures up to its potential.