Read Me

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC

Totally and utterly creepy.  It is written from a different perspective and is part fascinating and part scary as can be!
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The protagonist of Leo Benedictus' Read Me is a stalker who surreptitiously preys on his victims, but Benedictus doesn't merely stop at a superficial glance. He makes us into stalkers and voyeurs ourselves as the main character takes us in search of his next victim, his incessant pursuit and finally her destruction.
Benedictus presents a story that is disturbing and eery, but also so good that we cannot look away.
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I really felt that it could have been creepier than it was. It was a good build-up, it was good character building and when it came to plot it was all there. However, the writing style was quite washy and I found myself confused while reading. I like that it was about stalking considering it isn't a huge pick-up when it comes to the horror genre and this story does remind you that it can be harmful in many ways.

Overall it was an okay read but I'm not itching to recommend it to anyone I know. As for a book that you come across and seem interested in I would say if you picked it up there's a slight chance you might like it!
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The descriptions are well-written and the overall creepiness well conveyed so if this was the author's intention, he's been successful.  But for what is billed as a psychological thriller, this falls waaaay short of the mark for me.  It's more of a blueprint for creepy stalkers.
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I didn't finish this. I couldn't even get into it. It just didn't hold my attention. I wasn't interested enough to continue.
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First of all, big thanks to NetGalley for the chance to review this ARC. 

I love a good psychological thriller and Read Me seemed to fall into that category. Read Me follows a man who believes that he is doing studies in people but in reality he is a totally creepy stalker. Over the last 4 years since he has been unemployed, it seems he has stalked around 85 people at least. He gives bits and pieces of information about these people but presently focuses on one woman, Frances. 

I had a lot of expectations for this book and some of them were fulfilled while some of them were completely unaddressed. It was totally creepy and made me feel like this could happen to anyone, it's so simple in this age of technology and gave me that uneasy feeling of omg has this happened to me? But otherwise, it was just mediocre. One scene in particular dropped an entire star in my review for this book. It was unnecessarily and unexpectedly descriptively gory. I felt like it was out of the blue and had nothing to do with the plot. It was disappointing and gross, honestly. 

The ending fell flat for me, as well. It had SO MUCH potential to be totally creepy but ended up just being eh. 
If you're in the market for a stalker novel, go ahead and pick it up. But if you're just out here looking for a gripping psychological thriller, I'd pass on this one.
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I was given an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review 

Believe the reviews. This is not good. This is not compelling. This is not psychological. This is a story of a bad dude with no natural consequences and no charm. Pass.
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Read Me by Leo Benedictus is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early August.

A detailed, gentlemanly, but unnameably unusual (actually, in the style of Lestat) narrator, who pursues/follows different women. His work learns of his P.I. habits and indirectly enables him. The writing's excellent, but it skates around the idea of a story.
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There has been a rash of 'stalker' books recently... You by Caroline Kepnes, Our Kind of Cruelty by Araminta Hall... And they all kind of fall within the same pattern. Rich man, overthinking, long winded explanations, the interactions with the subject, the truth.

Maybe it's just that, as Obama recently said, "Men have been getting on my nerves lately". Just...ugh. 

The main character is very engaging, but ultimately, I couldn't wait to finish this book. 

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.
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This is a story told by the main character, a man who comes into an unexpected inheritance, quits his menial job, and takes up the hobby of stalking others. He admits to stalking over 80 people; watching them, following them, eavesdropping on their lives and moving on when they no longer interest him. He makes notes along the way and shares them all as this book.

He starts out with one rule: that he not become personally involved with his subject or do anything to interfere with or impact their lives. That all changes when he begins to stalk Frances, a young woman. He becomes obsessed with her, and takes several actions that directly impact her life as well as those of others.

Stalking novels seem to be trending now. I didn't find this to be a good one. The writer (who ironically poses as a writer when out and about stalking) is very self-absorbed and wants to lay out his every thought. It became tedious and boring. 

There is also a long very-dark section giving instructions on how to do some gruesome deeds. This was just gratuitous.

I find very little redeeming value in this book and cannot recommend it.

My thanks to NetGalley and Twelve Books for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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Read Me by Leo Benedictus is a so-so novel of suspense featuring a creepy stalker.

An unnamed narrator receives an inherited fortune and decides to now use his time refining his hobby: stalking random people. He keeps notes and records of his subjects and, at first, switched to different subjects after a short period of time. His rule was to never become personally involved, until he met Frances. Frances is a beautiful young woman working for a consulting firm. Soon it becomes clear that our stalker is disrupting and manipulating events in her life, causing her harm and psychological distress. He is also dealing out punishment on Frances's behalf to those he believe deserve it.

The opening scene in the novel will clue you in that something is off with the narrator. He is a nobody and there is no real sense of a personality except evidence will hint to the fact that all is not right with him. His account of what he does is presented in a bland, matter-of-fact way, and he seems alternately awkward and insipid. However, normal people don't stalk others, become obsessed and monitor their subjects, keep notes on them, or set up cameras and microphones to spy on them. There is no true clue why the stalker chose Frances either.

Right at the start the long-winded discourses and philosophical digressions are monotonous and slow the novel down. I felt like I was slogging through this novel trying to get through it, especially in the first third, when I expect an author to hook me into the premise of the story. While the premise seems promising from the description, the switch between first, second, and highly subjective third person point-of-views makes the narrative feel muddled. (Adding to this encumbrance is the use of the past, present, and future tense.) For me the novel fell flat.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Grand Central Publishing via Netgalley.
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A solid addition to the stalker category of thrillers. Buy for collections where YOU, I SEE YOU, and OUR KIND OF CRUELTY have been popular.
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Wow. Where to start? The man is self-proclaimed that he is complicated. Yet, admits that he has lived strangely for the last 4 years (on his now deceased Aunt Kathy's 11 million dollars).

He is a serial stalker. No doubt. Although, he calls it "people studies". His voyeuristic escapades with 80 women makes me wonder that if he hadn't inherited all of that money, would he STILL have quit his job? His "sightings" and the subsequent buying of equipment to assist in his endeavors is frightening. He constantly changes his "rules" as to getting in contact with his subjects and becomes involved particularly with Frances B. Details of following her are quite intense, as are his thoughts and philosophies on just about everything. Some of his philosophies are, however, quite thought-provoking.

It is questionable how he actually views (or feels about) Frances. He manages to aid in her job loss, her one-night-stand is well taken care of, yet she looks to him for help and maybe even friendship. This, at a time when she is alone and lost. At the conclusion, the reader is left to their own thoughts.....

Many thanks to Twelve Books and NetGalley for providing a truly different type of read...
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I liked the premise of this book, and I found it to be well-written. It was also on a topic that really interests me. However, while I recommend it, I did find some parts of the novel to be a little bit slow, and I don’t think that it’s a story that will stay with me for a long while.
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*Cue the annoying stalker anthem Every Breath You Take by the Police*

An unnamed stalker writes about how he came into a great deal of money, quit his job, and began following people.  He keeps notes on all of the people he stalks and shares bits of information on a few of them (there appear to be at least 80 because he gives a number with each name he mentions), the methods he uses to follow them without being noticed, and some rules he's created.

His main focus in this novel is on a woman named Frances.  She's just been suspended from her job because of an anonymous e-mail with serious accusations and the company wants to do a full investigation.  The stalker breaks his own rule against interfering in the lives of the people he follows and approaches Frances to ask if she's okay when he sees her crying in a restaurant.  She shares her work situation and they exchange numbers at the end of the conversation.

Eventually he installs microphones and a camera in her apartment and even hides in the house while she's home.  His obsession grows and we learn he is in fact the person who sent the e-mail to her company and set in motion the events he's writing about.

In Read Me, the unnamed stalker goes into long winded descriptions and tries to explain his thought process but it bored me.  I found myself skimming his musings to get to the story of Frances, which does build from creepy to crazy.  I felt the ending was abrupt and anticlimactic after the suspense that was built up to get to the final scene.  I didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters so I wasn't invested in the story.

Overall, this book was a "meh" for me but if you've enjoyed the recent novels featuring creepy stalker main characters it wouldn't hurt to give this one a try.
Thanks to Twelve Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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'My subjects do not choose to be my subjects, it is true, but only because such a choice is impossible. If you volunteer to be studied, you stop being you.' 

Frances doesn’t know it, but her life is going to unravel when a violent stalker choses her for his attentions. A man who has the wealth through inheritance to spend his days as he pleases choses to hunt people, through observation, manipulation and violence. His wealth inspires in him a need to “behave strangely”, one that never lets up. It all begins with his first victim, Laura where curiosity becomes obsession. Stalking the hairdresser with dreams of acting, in the beginning he studies people with no intention of harm. Just creeping about, learning everything he can never daring to interact directly. After his first, he begins to switch to other people with ease, always knowing he can return to those he has abandoned for a time.

Then he notices Frances, the main subject of this novel or should I say specimen? Frances is a consultant who ‘stirs his nerves’ in a new way. It isn’t long before minimal notes about her escalates to creeping into her house, inserting himself like a ghost haunting the living. Toying with the idea that if the victim doesn’t know, can they really be a victim? He tells us how he pulls it off, all the stalking so this book feels like a how to manual from a twisted mind. Through many chapters he stalks, and it’s hard to feel the thrill of it, all that waiting seems exhaustively pointless and boring with little reward. He spends time informing the reader that we all ‘will pay the bill’ in the future for what the person we were in the past chose to do. A little game of ‘who are you really?” which is interesting because you never quite pin down who he really is. There isn’t a solid reason why he began stalking, and as a person there is mostly detachment. He is absorbed so much in knowing everything he can about his victims that he is a half-formed thing himself. Truly, does he really know these people because he can watch them like an animal in a cage, and as with Frances when her life unravels, isn’t it true interfering alters a person? He has blown up her life, and the spoils are in watching the aftermath.

He is at times trapped in a sort of corner by his own philosophizing. It would have been a far more interesting character if we could in turn study him, but he doesn’t really have a past for us to dissect. Maybe he is meant to be without explanation, and that is the point, that there isn’t a why. He is repulsive, the novel turns to horror after a slow trudge through the watching and still I wonder… why? Did he just need something to do with himself? What the heck caused this split in his mind? Why Frances? The answer seems to be, why not?

Obviously he gets high on his voyeurism, and in a sense it’s like playing God when he manipulates things with Frances. It begins with a cup of hot tea, and ends with it as well, but will Frances still be alive at the end? It is intelligently written and the idea is horrible, people want to be seen so badly, heard, known but not like this. This is scrutiny we could all do well without. It was a decent read, and it’s disturbing, graphic in parts, but I was left scratching my head? Maybe we’re meant to feel like the victims wondering why, never really coming to any solid conclusion?

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Twelve Books
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