Cat Ellington’s review of Watch Me

Watch MeWatch Me by Jody Gehrman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“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

• Po·et·ry
/ˈpōətrē/

Deeply penetrating words that move gently—and sometimes harshly—in and out, in and out;
Like soft, sweet kisses along the nape of a dewy and hungrily awaiting neck;
The sultry massage of artsy fingertips gliding, delicately pressing along the contours of a spine, rounding the smooth curves of the rib cage;
Piercing, passionate eyes that stab like fiery knife points through the molecules of one’s genetic, brazenly violating and tearing away at their very core.

Oh, how the lust of man is in itself a menacing beast that cannot be tamed.
— Cat Ellington

• Ob·ses·sion
/əbˈseSHən/

My every thought rotates around your reality. I eat, breathe, and sleep you; you are my sustenance, my daily multivitamin. You are the reason that I am able to face each day. I am enticed to hate you but I need to focus on you. I hate myself more because of you. You are like a brightly lit galaxy in my inky black and dastardly universe. Your happiness taunts my misery. Your achievements insult my failures. I need to blame you for everything that I lack in my own life. You are my sole absorption, my ultimate preoccupation. I wish to be you because I absolutely loathe being me. Your happiness only intensifies my sadness. Your vivacious confidence arrogantly thumbs its nose at my contemptible low self-esteem. I believe you to be my better, but I will never give you your deserved props. I will never give you the satisfaction of knowing that you are indeed greater than I. You—and only you—have the alpha power to command my every other thought. I cannot subsist without thoughts of you. I regard your every move, and about you, I am inclined to know every detail. Everything you have I want. Everything you are I wish to be. Your very existence only reminds me that I am nothing.

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.
— Cat Ellington

The Novel Assessment.

On the psychomatic pages of Jody Gehrman’s twisted thriller, Watch Me, we’re invited to witness a fierce and vicious battle unfolding in the depths of one man’s insane mind.

Sam Grist, this narrative’s deeply disturbed antagonist, is a significantly handsome twenty-two-year-old undergrad student at Blackwood College, located in a small, ficticious community 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 protagonist and a bestselling novelist who still stands alone as the overwhelming desire of young Sam’s 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 the effort’s darkly poetic plot, Sam devises his plan to nab Kate, sixteen years his senior, and whisk her off to New York where they both shall live happily ever after; two brilliant and famous authors taking the Big Apple and all of its world-renowned publishing houses by storm.

For five long years, even from since the time that he first read Kate’s top bestseller, and beheld her bewitching image on the novel’s dust jacket, has the dark-haired and blue-eyed Sam so yearned to claim the older Kate as his own. His fiery passion for her cannot be quenched. And in a desperate venture to escape his unremarkable past, the striking and gifted writer who is Sam is intentionally come to Ohio to enroll as an English major at Blackwood College, where he will take to his daily routine of stalking, and eventually wooing, the woman of his most intensely erotic dreams, she being the ever elegantly dressed Kate Youngblood. For his beautiful 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 is forced to 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; she’s having the most difficult time completing her sophomore effort. And feeling “invisible,” the hapless novelist dreads that her age—only thirty-eight—is mainly to blame.

To the neurotic Kate, her age may represent the ultimate “man repellent,” but in reality, her classic grace has captured the observant, navy blue gaze of a young, literary genius named Sam Grist. Sam is not repelled by Kate’s and his sixteen-year age difference in the least. In fact, the tall, chiseled and smitten Sam would mow down one hundred age-appropriate fangirls just to get to her. And that is an honor even the self-deprecating Kate herself can by no means contradict. Developing a supposedly professional interest in her new student, Kate especially loves Sam’s writing—so much so that she even refers him to her renowned agent, the great Maxine Katz.

Yes, he’s much younger, but he’s beautiful . . . and he’s sweet . . . and he’s attentive . . . and he’s smart . . . and his writing is brilliant; he’s the ‘malformed love child of Harper Lee and Hunter S. Thompson,’ according to Kate. He says all the right things, making Kate feel so wanted . . . so needed . . . so desired . . . and so desirable. He sees her; she’s 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 really 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 . . . needing . . . But what Kate doesn’t perceive is that beneath Sam’s sculpted torso and his luscious Jason-Shane Scott likeness, a serpentine monstrosity lays coiled—just waiting to be awakened. Pulled over murderous flesh flowing with gelid blood, its scales are constructed of hatred, resentment and rage; and its fangs are hypodermic needles dripping with venomous spleen and scorn—just waiting for the right moment to strike its prey.

This is the hidden evil that makes 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 two top-billed stars, Kate and Sam, the script also features sufficient performances from a very small supporting company of players who were expertly cast as follows:

• Vivienne — Sam’s human toilet of a drug-addicted and alcoholic mother, a purebred Cherokee, and a licentious vagabond

• Zoe Tait — thirty-six-year-old wife and expectant mother, children’s book illustrator, and Kate’s endearing best friend

• Pablo Morrera — Kate’s ex-husband who left her for a woman half Kate’s age and never looked back

• Maxine Katz — Kate’s cold, cutty, unsympathetic, and man-desperate New York agent

• Raul Torres — wealthy, high-end restauranteur and Kate’s new love interest

• Jess “Cleveage” Newfield — spoiled rotten rich girl, talentless, wannabe novelist, Kate’s envious workshop student, and needy coveter of Sam

• Frances Larkin — award-winning poet, Chair of the English Department at Blackwood College, and Kate’s unattractive and jealous-hearted boss

Strongly steeped in an herbal tea of poetry and brewed in a dark, bitter coffee of obsession, the caffeinated dialogue—finely presented by Gehrman’s creative cast—gradually builds itself up over three stages, from a slow trickle to a moderate drizzle to a high-speed gush, consistently undulating the reader’s emotions before finally bringing the curtain down on a palpitation-inducing and gut-wrenching conclusion.

It was with great contrition that I parted 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.

• It is my kindly pleasure to thank St. Martin’s 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: https://catellingtonblog.wordpress.com

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.

View all my reviews

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Author: Cat Ellington

Aside from her life as a public figure with dual careers in entertainment as a multi-genre songwriter/composer in the music industry, and as a casting director of feature films in the motion picture industry, Cat Ellington also moonlights in the art world as a professional art model, and in the field of literature as an author of expressive poetry. In her private life, on the other hand, Cat Ellington, founder of the blog 'Reviews by Cat Ellington', is an impassioned bookworm who loves to both read and review novels of literary fiction and nonfiction--hence her adored leisure as an artistic member of the two social cataloging sites, Goodreads and NetGalley. A creative habitant in the film industry, Cat Ellington, just as much a zealous movie buff as she is a bookworm, also contributes her insightful film reviews and ratings to the online social networking service, Letterboxd, as well as to the online databases, IMDb and TMDb, where she is featured both professionally, and in general profile.

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