Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: RGS Media
Publication Date: 25th April 2017
REVIEWED BY ELAINE
A copy of Watching You was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author, J.A. Schneider, in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by RGS Media.
Full disclosure, I have not read the other two books in the Detective Kerri Blasco series. Thus, I am entering the scene with fresh eyes. This book fits nicely on the shelf along with the other female detective / psychological thrillers out there. Watching You is the text message that the murderer sends to his next victim. It is a chilling message: the receiver will not live long after its delivery. Eventually Kerri starts seeing that very text on her phone.
Like most of the gutsy fictional female detectives, Kerri takes many unwise risks. Fortunately, she has the street smarts and savvy needed to get herself out of trouble, and she has the intuition to continue asking questions when her colleagues focus on flawed suspects.
Schneider works with the cultural fear of free-flowing, unsecured information. In 2017, it is far too easy for someone to find out another person’s address, phone number, even social security number. We carry around devices that constantly broadcast our location. Identity theft is a common crime, but the thief in this book is focused on stealing life. It makes for creepy story telling when you consider all of the times that someone could have grabbed your phone or your wallet and gained access to important identifiers that could affect your safety or the safety of your family.
A connected theme that Schneider incorporates is the lack of intimacy in our friendships or casual relationships, since so much of our communication with each other is online or through text. There is a group of young male characters in this novel who are all interchangeable. While this might be frustrating for a reader, it seems to be intentional on Schneider’s part. She has Detective Blasco, and others, make mention of how homogenous this particular group is. Again, this contributes to the creepy factor as we all engage every day with a number of people that we truly do not know well. Many of us have friends in social media that we know a lot about: favorite sports team, workplace, age and names of children, but we couldn’t pick them out of a police lineup.
Part of the mystery of the plot centers on the seemingly random victims. The first body found was a young woman who volunteered at a local shelter and was beloved by many. The second was another young woman who worked at a pet store and whose social media showed what an animal lover she was. The third body found (but actual first victim) was a young male. I wish this mystery had been toyed with longer, but the author made the decision to include a first-person narrative from the anonymous killer, explaining his rationale.
I enjoyed the relationship between Kerri and her boyfriend, Alex Brand. Alex is her partner, professionally and personally, yet they have to keep their romance a secret or else risk being separated by upper management. Kerri comes from a place of hurt, due to a past abusive relationship and subsequent traumatic event. Alex plays the patient, caring, nurturer to her reactive and often stubborn persona.
The ending of the book was clever, but the foreshadowing was not handled as deftly as it could have been. The chapters are short and tense and the writing is clean and clear. All in all, this is a good who-done-it and a relatively quick read. It is a good beach read, or rainy night read.
☆☆☆☆ entertaining and satisfying.
Psychological thriller rating:
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A serial killer texts his victims first. A detective vows revenge. He comes after her.
In the chill of an October night, Detective Kerri Blasco is called to a bizarre murder scene. Leda Winfield, a young volunteer for the homeless, has been shot. Her cell phone displays the frightening text, WATCHING YOU, and into her back, hideously pushed with a hat pin, is a note with the same awful message. Leda’s socialite family and friends insist that no one would have wanted to harm her, but Detective Kerri isn’t convinced.
Until another random young woman is killed in exactly the same way. Kerri and her team profile a monstrous killer who enjoys terrifying his victims before stalking and killing them. But how does he get their phone numbers?
Kerri soon finds that the killer is after her, too, and that the key to finding him may just be in the homeless shelter. When the body count rises, she vows to stop the madman – even if it means battling her own personal trauma, risking her job, her love relationship with her boss Alex Brand, and her life.
J.A. (Joyce Anne) Schneider is a former staffer at Newsweek Magazine. She is the author of the Embryo medical thriller series, and of the Detective Kerri Blasco Police/Psychological Thrillers Fear Dreams, Her Last Breath, and Watching You.
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She lives with her family in Connecticut, loves gardening, and is working on her next Detective Kerri Blasco thriller.
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