Kate Youngblood, a creative writing professor, is fast-approaching forty and feeling invisible. Men don’t notice her anymore, they don’t see her—except for her student, Sam Grist. His eyes are on her constantly, and Kate enjoys it. What she doesn’t know is that Sam watches her all the time… even when she doesn’t know it. Sam has had their future together all planned out for years, and he won’t allow anything—or anyone—to stand in his way. Kate belonged to him… she just didn’t know it yet.
What I Liked
The story is told in the alternating points-of-view of both Kate and Sam, and I was delighted to see the book was structured in this way. I love being able to get inside the heads of both main characters, seeing how each one perceives events that take place. It’s chilling to see how oblivious the intended victim is to the manipulations of the villain, especially when you know what’s being planned. (The downside to this is it has the power to create some serious anxiety in the reader when the oblivious party is in immediate danger, and doesn’t know it!)
Sam Grist takes the prize for being the creepiest stalker I’ve ever read about. It was truly disturbing to see the way he processed things; the only thing more disturbing was how bold he became in stalking Kate and how far he was willing to go in order to make his fantasies become reality.
What I Didn’t Like
As the book neared the end, the things that were happening had me completely engrossed, thinking an outstanding ending was on the way. I was breathless, reading as fast as I could, racing toward the fantastic finale I just knew was coming.
Then I read the last two chapters.
Instead of cheering and feeling exhilarated, I was left bitterly disappointed and wondering why on earth it ended the way it did. I can’t explain why I felt that way, of course, because it would be a major spoiler. I haven’t read anyone else’s review on this book yet, so I may well be alone in feeling let down by the ending. It works, I suppose… but it wasn’t at all what I expected. Or wanted, for that matter.
There are many things about this book that I thought were excellent. As I mentioned earlier, Sam Grist is the creepiest stalker I ever read, and I’m sure I won’t forget about Sam or Kate anytime soon (if ever). I thought Gehrman’s writing was very good, and I enjoyed reading most of this book. But that ending… it’s hard for me to get past that. It didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, and—even if it feels a bit unfair, given how much I enjoyed so much of the book—it soured how I felt about the story, overall.
It was a struggle to rate this one. 4 stars felt too generous, given how I felt about the ending. 3 stars, or even 3.5 stars, felt too little, because there was so much I did like about it. I decided to go with 3.75 stars, in the end.
Despite being disappointed with the ending, I’m definitely willing to give this author another try, because I really like her writing style.
As for recommendations on reading it? I leave that to you, readers. If the premise appeals, give it a try. Who knows? You might love the ending, and wonder why on earth I didn’t love it!
About the Book
For fans of You by Caroline Kepnes and Her by Harriet Lane comes a riveting novel of psychological 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.