Series: Virtue Falls, Book 3
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Christina Dodd Reading Order
She had survived, but she is still held captive…
Of her memories, her loneliness, her delusions. But are they truly delusions?
The survivor of a college dorm massacre, a woman accused of her lover's murder, Madeline Hewitson is haunted by ghosts and tormented by a killer only she can see. At night, she works, writing and drawing the monster that slithers through her imagination, and living in fear of those moments when the doors of her mind unhinge and her nightmare lives in the daylight.
A seasoned military veteran, Jacob Denisov lives alone in his small, darkened home, sleepless, starving, and angry. Every day he lives with the guilt that comes from his own failures and the carnage that followed. When neighbor Madeline Hewitson drives her car through the front wall of his house, she breaks his house--and his life--wide open. Forced to view the world outside, Jacob watches Maddie, recognizes a kindred spirit and wonders what she fears more than herself. Has someone caught her in a twisted labyrinth of revenge and compassion, guilt and redemption, murder and madness?
When Maddie's imaginary killer takes form, she fights, screaming her fear and defiance. But will she be strong enough to triumph, or is the killer she fears no more than a shadow, an illusion…that watches?
Because I’m Watching is an evocative suspense that’ll have you turning the pages late into the night. Christina Dodd has truly outdone herself, because this latest Virtue Falls novel is rich, atmospheric, and just a bit twisted.
Maddie and Jacob have been through hell and neither has quite come out. Jacob was a POW who suffered unspeakable mental and physical torture and he’s suicidal at the beginning of the story. Maddie saves him by almost killing him when she crashes her car through his house. She’s the first person who has captured his interest in years, and watching her, getting to know her, slowly brings him back to the world of the living. Maddie too is broken, tormented. She survived a massacre in her dorm, and just as she was beginning to heal her fiancé was murdered. She can’t sleep, hallucinates, and is tortured by nightmares she can’t tell are real or not. It’s no spoiler to say that Maddie isn’t insane, but is being gaslighted. And while there really isn’t a mystery (to the reader) as to who is behind it or why, that doesn’t make Because I’m Watching any less suspenseful. Ms. Dodd makes you wonder how Jacob will come back to the edge and start to recover, how Maddie will survive her torment, and if these two will ever beat back the demons, both internal and external. Every step of the way danger lurks, and I was fascinated by the unfolding events. Even though there’s a love story in this book, it definitely isn’t like Ms. Dodd’s other work (which is not a criticism of this story, merely a note to readers familiar with Ms. Dodd’s older series but not Virtue Falls). Maddie and Jacob are truly interesting characters and I liked watching them come back to life and fall in love. My only small issue was that I wished the character development at the end hadn’t felt quite as rushed. At the same time, I can see that if it had been drawn out in a more realistic manner the climax wouldn’t have been as thrilling or the result as satisfying.
Because I’m Watching is the third full-length Virtue Falls book but it can be read as a standalone. The overarching world of Virtue Falls and the continuing story of Kateri Kwinault continues to be one of my favorite things about the series. Kateri stole the show for me more than once, and her story takes some interesting, unexpected turns, which left me incredibly excited to see what Ms. Dodd has in store for her. I was also left with a few questions about supporting cast members, but I’m hoping those will be answered in future books. All in all, I found Because I’m Watching to be dark, raw, and compelling and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen next in Virtue Falls.
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.