#CJSReads2018 – Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

Happy early release!

Thanks to St Martin’s Press for the advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews.

WATCH ME – Jody Gehrman (out tomorrow!)

Here’s what the #CJSReads trio thought of this stalker thriller.

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars

A new look into the obsessive “love” of a student for this professor. Creepy stalker who happens to be a good looking, talented young man that’s also a sociopath who better get his way.

Told in alternating point of views from Kate to Sam, we get a deep look into both of their mind sets. Sam has been after Kate ever since he read her first book at the age of seventeen. Kate’s husband left her for a younger model and now she feels like she’s invisible to the world. While everyone in her life seems to be moving forward, she’s stagnant. Sam’s attention, while intense and the attraction undeniable, is exactly what she needs at the moment….. even though she knows it’s not a good idea.

I found myself growing tired of Sam’s obsession. Being in his mindset grew a bit annoying at some places… HOWEVER, I could NOT stop turning the pages. I wanted to see just how brutal he could get and how well he could continue this charade.

I really liked being inside Kate’s mind though. I understand that feeling where your friends start having kids and social dynamics change and you feel like your world is just changing way too drastically and way too fast. Why wouldn’t the attention of someone that gives you that spring in your step and illicit the response of just wanting to give in?

I’m a bit ambivalent about the ending… but I do like that this seemed to be a bit different than most stalker books I’ve read in the past. I felt for Sam, I got frustrated with Kate. I think those who like these types of reads will enjoy this one.

Sam’s Thoughts: 4/5 stars

I am such a huge fan of the first person POV narrative style; especially when it comes to getting the inside scoop of an antagonist.  Give me a novel with the deepest inner workings of a stalker or a serial killer and I am hooked.  I don’t know what this says about me but I know for sure that novels like this keep me up late into the night and on the edge of my seat.  Enter, Watch Me, the debut suspense novel by Jody Gehrman (best known for her chick-lit).

From the first few lines of the synopsis, stating the novel would be for fans dark, twisty psychological thrillers and about how far obsession can go, I knew it would land at the top of my TBR pile.   Young, recently divorced college professor looking for a protégé?  Check.  Handsome, promising student who wants more than a mentor?  Check.   Sexual tension?  Check.  Student turns out to be a stalker trying to ruin the professor’s life so she runs closer to him?  Check. Check. Check.  Told through back and forth narration between Kate, the college professor, and Sam, the creepy-stalkeresque student, the narrative unfolds and the reader is privy to both Sam’s obsession and Kate’s mounting fear.

Initially, Watch Me felt like a less gritty version of Perfect Days by Rapheal Montes or You by Caroline Kepnes.   Sam Grist, the main antagonist of Watch Me, seemed a bit more surface than other stalker characters I have encountered.  I felt like a lot of his backstory was left a little bit ambivalent.  I do realize this could have been a deliberate choice from the author to keep the reader feeling like Kate (not knowing what is true or what Sam’s entire motives could be) but I feel like with a first person narration, I wanted to understand the full story.

While bits felt a little redundant, I did enjoy Gehrman’s prose and I loved the bits and pieces that took place during Kate’s writing workshop.   Discussion of the first person POV (how the reader should know all of the motives since they have sort of entered into a contract with the character) and the writer’s craft was so interesting to me.  Although it had little to do with the actual plot, I felt like it added an extra layer of believability to the text.

I raced through the last 25% or so of the novel, even though the very end felt extremely sudden, and was pleased with the general direction it took.  I was actually a little bit surprised at the final epilogue, which was nice.

Overall, if you are a fan of the stalker style thriller, then I feel like this would be a welcome addition to your shelves!  I felt like it was paced well and solidly entertaining!

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

Who doesn’t love a good stalker thriller? WATCH ME by Jody Gehrman dives into the mind of a student that is obsessively pursuing his writing professor. Who doesn’t love diving into the mind of a sociopath?

Kate is a writing professor that is recently divorced. In her class she meets Sam, an aspiring author and promising student that is needing a mentor. The connection and relationship between Kate and Sam quickly goes from student-professor to something more. We quickly realize that Sam is obsessive and stalking Kate. Despite realizing this, Kate seems to keep Sam closer to her than you’d expect – why keep a stalker so close? How far is Sam’s obsession going to take him?

This is told in multiple perspectives – jumping back and forth between Kate and Sam. I found myself being more engrossed in the chapters told in Sam’s perspective. I wanted to know more about him and lets face it, we thriller fans love going into the mind of a crazed antagonist. I definitely don’t want to give away too much more, because this is one you want to go into knowing as little as you can about Sam and Kate.

This was a binge-read and I found myself sucked in for the last part of the book. While the ending will probably be hit or miss for some readers, I really liked it. I think it was a little more unique for a stalker thriller than some others I’ve read.

Overall, I really enjoyed Gehrman’s writing style and will definitely keep my eyes peeled for more by her! If you want a good and quick suspense read, then I’d highly recommend picking this one up!

 

Do you like the stalker thrillers?

–Jess

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