Cover Image: Watch Me

Watch Me

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Member Reviews

Teacher student relationship (in a college way, so a little less revolting)  plus super creepy stalker makes the perfect combination for this disturbing thriller.  You know when the bad guy is so sad and they almost become someone you have lots of sympathy for?  That is 100%  Sam in this book!!  Definitely a dark horse of a novel!
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When loneliness claims to be my fate
And random thoughts, my heart starts to contemplate
I start thinking and remain in that state
As long as I am always thinking about Kate.
—”Love for Kate,” a poem by Crossyde Gimp of Jos, Nigeria
Source: Hello Poetry (HePo)
Published: June 2014

Spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare does not suffer the faint-hearted lightly. For once it takes possession of a human mind, it will by no means release its hold on the host until there not remain of him or her one scintilla of logical sanity. Obsession stems from unrebuked spiritual warfare in the human mind.
—Cat Ellington
Now that that’s out of the way, dear reader? Shall we?
On the psychosomatic pages of this twisted thriller, Watch Me, the reader plays witness to a fierce battle unfolding in the depths of an insane mind. Sam Grist, the deeply disturbed antagonist of this tale, is a handsome twenty-two-year-old undergrad student at Blackwood College, a community college located in a small, fictitious town somewhere in Ohio. An inspiring writer, Sam studies literature under the tutelage of the semi-famous professor Kate Youngblood, our thirty-eight-year-old leading lady and a bestselling novelist who still stands alone as the overwhelming desire of his young heart.
The aberrant script, narrated in the (dual) viewpoints of both Sam and Kate, exposes the true nature of obsession and the fear from which it stems. Interlacing through this dark, poetic plot, Sam devises his plan to sweep the much-older Kate off her feet and whisk her to New York City, where they both shall live happily ever after. In his twisted fantasy, he and Kate (sixteen years his elder) will be two brilliant and famous authors taking the Big Apple and all of its world-renowned publishing houses by storm. And nothing will stop him from making this incessant fantasy a reality. For five long years, even from the time that he first read her top bestseller, and beheld her gorgeous image on its dust jacket, has the dark-haired and blue-eyed Sam so yearned to claim the older Kate as his own: for unquenchable is his fiery passion for her.
And desperate to escape his meager past, the striking—and gifted—Sam has moved to Ohio to enroll at Blackwood College as an English major. It is there where he will take to his daily routine of stalking—and eventually wooing—the woman of his most intensely erotic dreams: Kate Youngblood. For his beautiful and elegantly-dressed Kate must know how much he loves and worships her.
Emotionally perturbed in her own right, Kate Youngblood is a warrior of words, a formerly celebrated author, an English professor, a divorcée, and a woman anxious to be noticed, held, appreciated, loved. Plagued with regret, Kate cannot help but watch as her once boisterous best friend Zoe Tait is stolen away from her by marriage and a newborn baby boy, leaving Kate to tread the choppy waters of life all alone. The written word, once free-flowing, now avoids Kate without explanation. And she is having a difficult time completing her sophomore effort. Now feeling invisible, the hapless novelist fears that her age—only thirty-eight—is mainly to blame.
The neurotic Kate considers her to be the ultimate man repellent. But in reality, her classic grace has captured the navy blue gaze of a young (literary) genius named Sam Grist.
By no means is Sam repelled by their sixteen-year age difference. The tall, chiseled, and smitten Sam would mow down one hundred age-appropriate fangirls to get to her. And that is an honor even the self-deprecating Kate herself cannot contradict. Developing a supposedly professional interest in her new student, Kate especially loves his writing - so much so that she even refers him to her renowned agent, the great Maxine Katz.
Yes, Sam is much younger, but he is so beautiful. Sam is sweet and attentive, smart; his writing is brilliant. He is the malformed love child of Harper Lee and Hunter S. Thompson, according to Kate. Sam says all the right things, making Kate feel so wanted, so needed, so desired, and so desirable. He sees her; she is not invisible to him. The two are building a bond of communication atop a solid foundation of trust. And soon, Kate begins to feel the head rush, the powerful attraction. She likes Sam; the very titillating reaction of her womanhood tells her so. And she cannot stop thinking about him, nor can he about her. It seems so right. They go on, flirting, wanting each other, needing each other. But what Kate fails to perceive is that beneath his sculpted torso and his luscious Jason-Shane Scott likeness, a serpentine monstrosity lays coiled—just waiting to be awoken: pulled over murderous flesh flowing with gelid blood, its scales constructed of hatred, resentment, and rage, its fangs are hypodermic needles dripping with venomous spleen and scorn, just waiting for the right moment to strike its prey.
That is the hidden evil making itself at home within its misguided host, Sam Grist: a young man who shelters many a chilling secret. And Jody Gehrman brings the true nature of the spirit to life—nearly flawlessly—on the leisurely pages of this erotically gripping and eerily mesmerizing psychological thriller.
Although the gorgeously poetic narrative is ninety-five percent devoted to its top-billed stars, Kate and Sam, the script also features (sufficient) performances from a small supporting company of players who list as follows:
• Vivienne is a purebred Cherokee and a licentious vagabond. She is also a human toilet, a drug addict, an alcoholic, and a mother to Sam.
• Zoe Tait is a thirty-six-year-old wife and expectant mother who illustrates books for children. A best friend to Kate, Zoe dazzles in her performance on these pages.
• Pablo Morrera is the ex-husband of Kate. Pablo left Kate for a woman half her age and never looked back.
• Maxine Katz is the cold, cutty, unsympathetic, and man-desperate New York agent that takes Kate on as a client.
• Raul Torres is a wealthy, high-end restaurateur and a new love interest for Kate.
• Jess “Cleavage” Newfield is a spoiled rotten rich girl and a talentless, wannabe novelist. Jess envies Kate and covets Sam.
• Frances Larkin is an award-winning poet and the Chair of the English Department at Blackwood College. Despite her credentials, Frances lacks beauty, and her heart is full of jealousy towards Kate.
Steeped in an herbal tea of poetry and brewed in a dark, bitter coffee of obsession, this caffeinated dialogue is one head-spinning experience. The tale builds itself, gradually, over three stages: from a slow trickle to a moderate drizzle to a high-speed gush. It then proceeds to undulate the emotions before finally bringing the curtain down on a palpitation-inducing and gut-wrenching conclusion.
I was loathed to part ways with this psychological composition, as I genuinely believe it to be a standout representative and superbly researched interpretation of its respective and unconditionally beloved genre—not to mention one meritable of my unwaning endorsement.

Five mental phenomena stars.
REVIEWER'S NOTE: It is my kind pleasure to thank St. Martin Griffin, as well as NetGalley, for the advanced review copy (ARC) of Watch Me in exchange for my honest review.
Analysis of Watch Me by Jody Gehrman is courtesy of Reviews by Cat Ellington.
Date of Review: Sunday, February 11, 2018
Reviews by Cat Ellington would also like to thank Crossyde Gimp at Crossyde Gimp Poetry for providing the production extract of "Love for Kate" to assist in the construction of this analysis.
©2018 Crossyde Gimp Poetry. All rights reserved.
A very special thank you to Quill Pen Ink Publishing, in association with The Cat Ellington Literary Collection and The Cat Ellington Poetry Collection, for providing the production, "The Spirit of Obsession," for this analysis.
©2016 Quill Pen Ink Publishing. The Cat Ellington Literary Collection. The Cat Ellington Poetry Collection. All rights reserved.
• This analysis appears in the Reviews by Cat Ellington book series.
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This book took a while to engage me fully but still entertaining. I would definitely read more by this author since I really did like her writing style.
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St. Martin's Griffin and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Watch Me. I voluntarily chose to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Kate Youngblood is a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, but she would rather be a successful writer than anything else. After her second novel tanks and her husband leaves her for a younger woman, Kate is struggling to set right her life. Enter Sam Grist, a student with a talent for writing that takes Kate's breath away. When paying extra attention to her student has an undesirable effect, will Kate be able to extricate herself from the situation?

When a book cover claims that the novel is "a gripping psychological thriller," I am, more often than not, dissatisfied with the plot as a whole. I did not find Watch Me to be either surprising or thrilling, as the suspenseful elements of the plot were telegraphed early in the the novel. Kate's lack of judgment and character come off as ways to move the plot in a certain direction instead of true character traits. The fact that Sam's stalking of Kate is not a secret actually ruins the pacing of the novel, with the repetitive nature of the plot slowing down the book in the middle. Overall, Watch Me was a disappointing read and one that I would not recommend to others.
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I have mixed feelings about this book. I finished it quickly, and I did like the main character of Sam. However, I just didn't like Kate at all and thought she wasn't very believable.
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I am not leaving a review due to the fact that this book did not interest me enough to finish the story.
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This book reminds me of You by Caroline Kepes. Just not as great... I wanted to love it, but it really let me down. I liked the premise, but the delivery fell short.

It is a creepy story. This is love gone wrong, but there is someone who is going to stop at nothing to get what they want. Kate Youngblood is going to make tenure and nothing is going to stand in her way. But she isn’t the one who is being creepy...

Kate feels lost when her best friend has a people and everyone seems to be doing more in life than she is. She hates the feeling and thinks making tenure is going to solve all of those problems really easily.  She has nothing going for her after her husband left and her book failed. so she is clinging to the one thing she has left to make her happy and fulfill all of the empty places in her life. 

Kate makes friends with a student, and she thinks this could help her feel better. Sam even says he knows her and her soul. But that is because he is a creepy stalker who has been in her house and touches her things. She doesn’t know this, but it has the whole You vibe going on and you know just something bad is going to happen. Kate knows something is wrong, but she just wants to pretend it is fine because of how lonely she has been. This book is interesting because it makes you wonder about the people around you and how far someone will go to make you theirs. 

Honestly, this was creepy but not as appealing as I had hoped
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I'm torn on this one... Watch me didn't quite work for me, I did enjoy it and read through it fairly fast. It had many twist and turns. I really liked Sam as a character but found Kate less believable.
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Sam Grist has signed up for a creative writing course, not to improve his writing, but to get closer to the teacher, Kate Youngblood, with whom he is obsessed. He has devoured all her books and literally knows everything about them and her.
At first Kate can’t deny the attraction. Sam is so enigmatic, so forceful, she feels drawn to him. She tells herself that he is vulnerable. Divorced after having caught her ex-husband in the very act, she is lonely. There is no other explanation for why she would even entertain thoughts about a man who is half her age.
But then Sam crosses the line, hacking into her email, breaking into her home and office, doing whatever it takes to get closer to her. In doing so, he is willing to remove the obstacles that stand in his way by any means possible. He will do whatever needs to be done to bring his fantasy to life, he and Kate together, writing bestsellers, and having a sexual, mutually obsessive relationship.
Hurt by her divorce, Kate worries that far from being attractive, she is no longer even visible to the opposite sex. Deeply messed up, at one level, she almost encourages his advances, or at least isn’t quite so forceful in discouraging him, just because it feels great to be wanted. She seems to be under his spell. 
The trouble is that even though she knows that there is a lot that’s off about him, she can’t deny her feelings. This can only get worse. But how?
Sam’s writing is a close rendition of the truth. Kate wonders if he has killed before. 
Unable to seek advice from anyone, Kate is at the end of her tether. Her best friend, Zoe, is supportive, but can’t do much for her, hemmed as she is between a newborn and her own sleep deprivation.
To make matters worse for Kate, the head of the English department detests her and thwarts her at every step.
How will Kate extricate herself from this situation?

The book is written from the first person present tense PoVs of Sam and Kate.
As a character, I liked Kate. Her vulnerability, the fact that she was flawed enough to make faulty choices. I liked the fact that she loved books, loved the smell of them, loved writing, the art and craft of it.
Kate looks for the perfect metaphor even in the midst of the worst situations. She clings to her art, trying to make sense of the chaos around her.
Another thing I liked about this book was that there was so much related to the craft and the sheer exhilaration of writing. She needs to get a thousand words done each morning. 
I enjoyed reading about the classroom sessions in which the students all dissect and critique one another’s writing. The conversations on the craft of writing I lapped up.
This story about obsession and dangerous desire was intriguing. On the lookout for more from this author.
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"Who are you Sam Grist?"

"You don't know me---not---yet---but nothing spikes my pulse.  I am ice.  I ooze cool,  unruffled detachment.  It's the thing people find unnerving about me, the thing I try to hide.  I know how to smile and raise my eyebrows and down in all the right places, just to show I'm human, to communicate to all the other hairless apes that I'm part of the tribe.  If I don't control my face it defaults to blank detachment, and that gives people the creeps.  Watching you, though,I don't have to fake it.  I can feel my lips stretching into an amazed smile of their own accord, the smile explorers must have worn when they first stumbled on the new world."

Sam Grist is a twenty-two year old student taking a creative writing workshop at Blackwood  College.  He has grown up with an alcoholic and drug addict for a mother who he hates with a passion.  She has grown haggard from moving from place to place with unsavory men who she would stay around long enough to get her next fix.  When there were no more drugs there would be no more Vivienne.  Sam never knew who his father was.  Five years ago Sam became extremely obsessed with meeting Professor Kate Youngblood after reading her blockbuster debut called, "Pay Dirt."  He fell in unrequited love after viewing her picture on the back of the dust jacket.  He has schemed for all of these years to finally take her class.

Sam spies on Kate wherever she is through binoculars---always watching her when he isn't attending class.  If Kate is at the mall looking at baby clothes with her pregnant friend Zoe; Sam chimes in telling them which color outfit to buy.  If Kate is on a date with Raul, Sam shows up with another classmate he calls cleavage.  He doesn't respect or like anyone else except Kate.  Wherever Kate goes you can be sure Sam works his way in.  He even followed her home one night and watched Kate and Raul having sex. Sam is the most twisted, vindictive sociopath with antisocial behavior that I have ever come across in fiction.  Joe in "You," by Caroline  Kepnes is tame compared to Sam with his course and foul mouth.


Kate is a thirty-eight year old college Professor teaching a creative writing workshop and Sam Grist is her most talented student out of a class of twelve.  She thinks he has a promising career ahead of him as a writer.  She wants to help him.  She invites him to have dessert with her literature agent.  She feels obsolete and insecure because she is an author with a one hit wonder.  She is coming up to be considered for tenure in the English department.  She is recently divorced and her husband married a woman ten years younger than her.  She doesn't feel seen.  Her second book bombed.  She has an idea that Sam is watching her, noticing her and she likes it.  There is sexual tension between the two of them.  She knows it's unethical to sleep with Sam.  It would be a death knell to her coveted tenured position in the English department.  Oh, but she desires him so much when they have been in close proximity in private.  Will professionalism win out or will Kate give in to her raw, illicit feelings towards Sam?

"There's something deeply erotic about someone who really watches you.  Someone who takes you in.  The older I get the more Invisible I become.  It used to be that I had men's eyes on me all of the time.  Young or old, single or married.  They couldn't resist checking me out.  I'd walk across a crowed restaurant  and their gazes would turn to me like flowers pivoting towards the sun.  Lately though I feel their eyes on me less and less often.  It should be a relief.  Who cares if I washed my hair, shaved my legs?  Nobody's looking.  It's lonely.

This erudite story is a chilling allegory of what happens when a stalker gets mixed signals.  The chapters are brief and told in the first person alternating between Sam and Kate.  Sam can be extremely course and when he is describing someone who he disdains and he hates everyone except for Kate; In Sam's descriptions he sometimes employs the five senses as if he is directly talking to you.  Kate is proficient and resourceful when she needs to be.  Now go and lock all of your doors and windows and pick up this eerie tale in time for Halloween.  Once you get 50 percent in you won't want to put this one down.  Highly recommended!!!!  Cleverly plotted and great characterization.  I loved it and am sad to be done with this original masterpiece in suspenseful fiction.  There isn't anything gratuitously violent.

Thank you to Net Galley, Jody Gehrman and St. Martin's for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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This was an engrossing thriller.  The characters were interesting and layered and the narrator switching was very effective in building the tension.  I really enjoyed it.
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An immensely creepy, obsessive and disturbing psychological thriller, wrought with sexual tension that was so engrossing it just had to be read in one sitting. Perfect reading for a lazy, rainy afternoon. 

Told through the alternating points of view of the two main characters, Kate Youngblood, 38 year old writer and college professor and Sam Grist, her 22 year old student, the reader watches the stalker/stalked relationship develop through writing that is fast paced and thoroughly gripping. Sam's character was exceptionally written and developed and I found myself eagerly awaiting the passages dedicated to him.  

The author has a definite talent for the psychological suspense/thriller genre and I look forward to reading more from her.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press (St. Martin's Griffin) for providing a digital copy in return for an honest, unbiased review.
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Kate is a college professor that just went through a bad divorce. She is a novelist as well and has a “fan” join her classes. Sam is an aspiring writer, but he’s also 22 and kinda hot. Kate begins to notice him even though she knows it’s wrong to be attracted to a student. Sam becomes stalkerish however, and Kate begins to worry about her safety. If you enjoyed YOU or HIDDEN BODIES by Caroline Kepnes you will probably like this one.
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This book CREEPED ME OUT!!! I couldn't put it down though -- it was fast-paced and definitely very readable. I wish some of the characters had been a bit more fleshed out but wow, this author definitely writes the stalker character well!! 
I enjoyed the setting and career choices - it was fun to read about that literary world. I enjoyed Zoe. I felt rage at some of Kate's choices at times but also understood her motivation. So many elements of this book just fit together nicely and it was definitely quite thrilling to get to the ending.
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This probably says more about me than the book, but I wanted it to be slightly more risque!  Maybe I've read too many dark stalker type thrillers so I've become desythesized, but in the beginning I was like almost urging her - just go for it!  

I enjoyed reading about a writer - the nerd in me reveled in the details of her life.  But she's bored - which had me like whaaa?? 

Overall I read this book in one day so it's definitely readable and keeps you turning pages, but I thought the stalker character was almost like a caricature of a stalker.  He was immature.  He was young so possibly this was purposeful, but it annoyed me.

Entertainment value: 4
Characters: 3
Voice: 2-3
Plot: 3
Overall: 3 stars

<i>Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.</i>
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A very dark psychological thriller about a young professor and her most promising student - until he becomes obsessed with her. He's clearly dangerous, but, she might not be the innocent victim that she seems. I completely enjoyed this story and could not put it down.
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This is the most annoying book I’ve ever read. Kate, the heroine, who’s suppose to be this smart woman is quite the opposite. As if that weren’t enough, she’s not a great friend to Zoe. She’s jealous of Zoe and her excuse is that she simply isn’t interested in having a family or getting married ever again. Kate is as hypocritical as they come. Then her “I shouldn’t but I want to” attitude towards Sam isn’t even rational. It actually highlights how lonely and sad she is. I only finished reading this because I wanted to see who’d kill who at the end.
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A very disturbing  psychological thriller with all the obligatory twists and turns that you would expect from a well written thriller. Alternating between Kate and Sam's point's of view this makes for a page turner that is difficult to put down and the tension builds as the book progresses. I actually bought this book but my thanks to NetGalley and  St. Martin’s Press for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I just finished reading Watch Me by Jody Gehrman and I really enjoyed this book. About a woman who is in her late 30s, has low self esteem and recently got divorced. She's an author and teaches a writing class. One of her students becomes obsessed and starts stalking her. I would reccomend this book to anybody that likes psychological thrillers and suspense books.
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This was not my favorite book, but it was certainly an enjoyable read. It is often compared to YOU by Caroline Kepnes, which is an apt comparison. Sam Grist is obsessed with his professor, Kate Youngblood—he reads all of her books, follows her around, diligently attends her classes, breaks into her home, tries to make her love him. This is a really good thriller premise, but I found Kate to be fairly unlikeable. This made it hard to see why Sam loved her or make me care for her safety.  Some parts of the writing were a little stilted and heavy handed, which pulled me out of the flow. While this isn't a bad book and certainly got my heart racing in some places, Kepnes has a much better novel.
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