By Jody Gehrman
St. Martin’s Griffin (January, 2018)
Kindle edition: $9.99
by Shirley Wetzel
At age thirty-eight, college professor Kate Youngblood is beginning to believe she’s over the hill. Her first novel, Pay Dirt, was a modest success. Her sophomore effort was a dud; her third seems dead on arrival. She spends her days trying to turn bored trust fund kids into writers. She spends her nights alone. Her best friend, the one she could always turn to at any time, is now giving all her attention to a mewling, demanding bundle named Drew. Her husband of ten years just left her for a younger, prettier model. She no longer turns heads and hearts when she walks into a room. She feels like she has become invisible, unvalued.
She hopes against hope that one day a bright, talented student will show up in her creative writing class, someone she can mentor and mold, one who can excel where she could not. It seems that day has arrived when she reads the class assignment handed in by the enigmatic, intense Sam Grist. His story is rough-edged and slightly disturbing, but the writing is brilliant and full of promise.
What she doesn’t know is that Sam didn’t just suddenly decide to take her class. Ever since he picked up a ragged copy of Pay Dirt while helping clean out an old trailer, and saw her author photo on the back, he was certain she was his future. Sam plans to use his talent to escape his miserable, abusive childhood, and as he learns more and more about Kate, he becomes convinced that they are destined to be together.
Sam is not only supremely gifted; he looks at Kate and sees her. He hangs on her every word, anticipates her every need. He has an animal magnetism Kate finds hard to resist, but she knows she must. To give in to the desires he brings out in her would be to end her job, and probably her career.
Odd things begin to happen. Her computer is hacked, unsettling rumors crop up, and her colleagues draw away from her. Her suspicions that Sam is behind them falls on deaf ears. She knows it is up to her to defuse the ticking time bomb she has ignited.
As Kate worries, Sam plans. He has written the perfect love story. He will release Kate from all that is holding her back. She will realize she loves him as much as he loves her. They will move to New York City, write spectacular and lucrative novels, spend days in bed. Theirs will be a story of forbidden love, of dreams forged against the odds. Nothing can stop that from happening.
Ever the writer, Kate can’t put an end to this twisted tale until she understands his motivations. The more she diverts from his script, the more it becomes obvious there will be no happy ending.
WATCH ME is one of those books that demands to be read in one sitting. It should rank among the best of the best psychological thrillers. Each sinister twist raises fears that much worse may be yet to come. The characters, particularly Kate and Sam, leap from the pages fully formed, revealed by their actions and by their inner thoughts. This book is, quite frankly, stunning. Highly recommended.
Jody Gehrman has written eleven novels and numerous plays. Her works have garnered several prestigious awards.
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