I’m a sucker for a broken man. Okay, not in real life. I mean, who actually wants a man who doesn’t shower and needs excessive amounts of therapy? However, in my fictional mind, like when reading Christina Dodd’s latest, Because I’m Watching, I adore a man who has been through things the average person cannot possibly imagine and needs the healing love and touch of a woman.
But I’ve learned that what is even better than that man who is a broken, is a woman like Dodd’s Madeline Hewitson, a heart-wrenching characters who has both a past and present that are terrifying, psychotic and full of drama that goes beyond that in any other romantic suspense I have ever read.
Madeline is the “crazy” neighbor across the street in the small town of Virtue Falls. And I don’t mean “crazy” as in zany and eclectic, I mean crazy as in “accused of murder and having witnessed the death of not only her roommates during college but also her fiancee years later”. Now, she can’t stop believing she is being watched and someone is out to finish the killing spree, with her.
Watching her nightly outbursts, even when he tries not to, is Jacob Denisov. A veteran recluse battling PTSD, who longs to kill himself because he can’t get past the guilt and shame of the lives lost on his watch years before; lives that haunt him in the light of day.
Together these two are an absolute train wreck. Or perhaps I should say, car wreck, considering they meet when Maddie drives her car into Jacob’s living room after falling asleep at the wheel. They are both tormented by memories of the past and can’t seem to find a way to find peace. Maddie fears the darkness of night and things she can’t see but can feel, and Jacob longs for the darkness, hiding from the light that would make him face the reality of what really happened while he was imprisoned in a military torture facility.
Although they are each broken, they can be fixed. But of course, that can’t happen when a mad killer is still on the loose. As Jacob and Madeline get closer, it soon becomes obvious that he isn’t as introverted as he’d like to believe, and she isn’t as crazy as he once thought. But there’s still a psychotic person out there who is bound and determined for the world not to learn that; a person who strives to make Maddie lose her mind. And let me tell you something, that person is not at all who you think it is. I pride myself at figuring out mysteries half-way through a novel and this one broke that record in one fell swoop. I didn’t see it coming. Not one single bit.
But it’s not just Maddie and Jacob’s story that’s worth reading. The Virtue Falls series continues to weave in characters from the first two books in the series, including Sheriff Kateri, as well as new characters and the entertaining and socially-challenged neighbors of this way-too-small community. Although part of a series, the book definitely stands alone. Though, now I definitely want to go back and read the others!
Brace yourself for this latest by Christina Dodd. She is truly the master of dark, gut-wrenching, powerful novels with an incredible mix of romance, intrigue and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.
Because I’m Watching is available now!