Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

‘After five years waiting for this moment, watching you for the first time still catches me off guard.’

Kate Youngblood is a creative writing professor at Blackwood College. She’s aged in her 30s, and starting to feel as though life is passing her by. Kate is recently divorced, her husband has left her a younger woman. Kate has been unable to replicate the success of her first novel: her second novel has failed. Kate’s poised between the success of her past, and the possibility of an invisible future. Will anyone now want to get to know her? Kate’s most promising student is Sam Grist. He has a raw talent which Kate wants to nurture. But Sam, whose writing tends towards the dark and twisted, has more than one secret. Sam is obsessed by Kate. He’s been working on learning more about her, preparing to get to know her in person for five years. Sam envisages a life with Kate: she’s ‘the one’ for him. As Sam insinuates himself into Kate’s life, he starts to take control.

‘I’ve been worried about your judgment for quite some time now.’

Kate is torn between being attracted to Sam, and recognising the inappropriateness of any personal relationship. She’s intrigued by him, flattered (up to a point) by the attention he pays her. But just how far will Kate let Sam into her life? And, can she stop him?

‘Isn’t it sad, the way we grasp the beauty of everything too late?’

The chapters alternate between the perspectives of Sam and Kate. In Sam’s view, his actions are both logical and justified as he demonstrates to Kate why they are made for each other. I found Kate’s perspective more difficult, as she is torn between what she thinks she wants and what she knows she should do. And the ending? You’ll need to read it for yourself. Just keep in mind that obsession is dangerous, and may even be fatal.

Note: Note: My thanks to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith