I'll Be Watching Youby Victoria Gotti
Rose Miller is a best-selling novelist with a seemingly perfect life: a devoted and wealthy husband with his eye on a/i>/b>
Full of the menace of long-hidden secrets and the darkness of the human heart,I'll Be Watching You is a chilling tour de force by Victoria Gotti, author of the critically acclaimed legal thriller The Senator's Daughter.
Rose Miller is a best-selling novelist with a seemingly perfect life: a devoted and wealthy husband with his eye on a gubernatorial nomination, a splendid country mansion, and an adorable daughter. But Rose has something else tooa shadowy stalker who sends her blood red roses with threatening notes that hint at Rose's hidden past . . . a life she thought she had buried forever.
Who is stalking Rose? Nearly everyone is a suspect. It could be Dario, her ruthless and controlling publicist, whose crush on Rose is getting a little out of hand. Or Dimitri, her devilishly handsome ex-lover, now a millionaire hotel baron with his own reasons for wanting revenge. Or even her own father-in-law, James Miller, a sinister man who will stop at nothing to protect his family's secrets.
Terrified, Rose enlists the help of a veteran detective, John Falcone, who begins to uncover a shocking pattern of threats and violence, all of which seem to center around the beautiful celebrity author and her powerful, wealthy family. When Rose's best friend is murdered in a bizarre ritual drawn from a scene in one of Rose's own novels, Falcone's suspicions about her "perfect life" become even deeper, and the terror Rose thought she could hide begins to spin out of control.
Despite her desperate efforts to protect herself and her innocent daughter, Alexis, Rose finds herself being pulled deeper anddeeper into a web of old hatreds and new rivalries that threaten first her happiness, then her life.
Rose Miller has it all: wealthy husband, gorgeous little girl, lavish house, great success as a novelistand a stalker who knows about her shady past.
Into this realm of sand and sugar comes Victoria Gotti, serving up her new thriller, I'll Be Watching You. As any kid on the beach from here to Coney Island can tell you, Victoria has the distinction of being the daughter of John The Teflon Don Gotti, the convicted former head of the Gambino crime family now serving a life sentence for murder and racketeering. Since publishing her first novel, The Senator's Daughter, last year, she's made the rounds of TV talk shows telling of her upbringing (in a family she loyally maintains has no connection to the Mob), her life these days in a Long Island mansion and the countless rejections she got from publishers in her quest to become a writer of romantic thrillers. Well, she's arrived, thanks in part to her infamous surname, with a million-dollar contract to write a couple of novels and, so help me, what her publisher describes as a "combination cookbook and family history."
Gotti draws heavily on her personal history in I'll Be Watching You. It's the story of Rose Miller, an internationally famous writer of thrillers, a resident of a Long Island mansion, the wife of a prominent lawyer and the sometime paramour of a misunderstood mob boss. Into this world enters a homicidal stalker intent on making Rose his next victim, just as life is being enormously complicated by the noisy indictment of said misunderstood mob boss on the eve of Rose's husband's entrance into politics. Pretty standard stuff for this genre -- particularly if you're the daughter of a made man -- and on the face of it a natural for the beach blanket. But with the best writers of frothy fiction -- the Sheldons, Folletts and Clarks -- you sense at least an accomplished technician who knows he or she is reaching down to make a salad of improbabilities and thin characters. Gotti's spent her life in a world of the improbable and now she's reaching up, with not quite the skills of a good writer, to try to make something out of it all.
What results is a novel filled with bad grammar, strangely placed commas, a slew of unnecessary apostrophes and characters who can compete with the mighty sequoia in the wood department. Here's one standout howler: "After successfully completing Evan's first semester at Columbia Law School, his father planned a dinner to celebrate." (Greater love hath no poppa than to endure tort lectures for his offspring: Eat hearty, Dad.) Doesn't anybody at Crown publishing read this stuff before they send it to the printer?
It's not a high art to write a good potboiler, but it's an art nonetheless. Gotti needs fewer million-dollar contracts and -- if she's not going to stick to the cookbook business -- a few more lessons in craft. You have to hand it to her, though. Unlike her dad, she's found a way to make a tidy profit in the trash business, and the feds can't touch her. SALON June 16, 1998
- Cengage Gale
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Large Print
- Product dimensions:
- 6.37(w) x 9.32(h) x 1.13(d)
Read an Excerpt
The appearance of imminent death always exhilarated him. Billy moved from the bed, pulled up his trousers, and took a step backward to better view the scene. He stared at the inert form lying with arms and legs gracefully stretched on the mound of cheap velour blankets and threadbare sheets. She looked perfect, serene. Her eyes were closed as though in sleep; long blond curls like expensive lambswool delicately embroidered the edge of the pillow, cascading down the side of the worn motel mattress. The white lace teddy sprinkled with pearls - the one he'd purchased and made her change into was appropriate for the moment, complementing the rhinestone tiara on top of her head.
Put it on," Billy had told her earlier. "No, I couldn't possibly...."
Ignoring her protest, he'd fastened the tiara on her head. Then he backed away and moved toward the portable stereo that he had brought with him for this "romantic" evening. The cassette he had specially prepared was already in place. Soon the music began, and filled the room.
Billy walked back to the bed and reached for her hands. His pulse quickened. "Lets dance to the perfect wedding song."
The look he'd been waiting for came into her eyes. When she resisted his offer, he sat beside her on the quilted polyester bedspread - standard seedy motel decor. He could now see that first tiny flicker of awareness that something wasn't quite right.
Recognizing she was in danger, the near naked showgirl he'd lured away from the strip joint reacted just like all the others. At first she began speaking too quickly, nervously.
"I have to go," she said, her eyes darting around the room, her voice now shaky.
"Justone dance," he whispered as he pulled her up and held her tightly against him. She felt good in his arms. She belonged there, just as they all had. For a moment he felt disloyal, thinking she might feel better than Rose.
Then he felt her panic accelerate. Her body grew rigid and her eyes filled with fear. This was his favorite part, and tonight his enjoyment was intensified. She was particularly satisfying. At the end, she seemed to know it was useless to plead, and in a burst of animal strength, she fought him. He placed his hands around her throat, and when she began to lose consciousness, he whispered, "Till death do us part."
When she was dead, he danced with her again. This time there was no resistance in her lovely, flaccid body.
As the music began to fade, his eyes fastened on the white lace teddy. Was she an angel yet? No, he thought; with her sordid past, he assumed shed be relegated to a demon. Billy turned his back on her and walked to the window. There was a chill coming in from the cracks around the panes. The incoming draft made a soft hissing sound that vaguely pleased him. Outside, the streets were tranquil. He'd have to celebrate this triumphant moment in silence. His eyes closed as the keen thrill coursed through his body. Then he opened them and shifted his gaze toward the sky.
The day dawned blue and wan, the sun only an imagined presence behind a thick blanket of clouds over the city, which from his vantage point looked like one huge gray puddle. The few patches of snow left over from last weeks mild storm had turned to dirty slush as the temperature inched up a few degrees. Gray, wet, dirty...how befitting the moment, he thought.
Billy reached inside the pocket of the blue flannel shirt he was wearing and pulled out a box of Marlboros and a gold lighter. He lit a cigarette and dragged heavily on its tip. He always savored that first cigarette after one of these strenuous scenes, his version of "afterglow".
The motel room was sparsely furnished. There were a few scattered pieces of antiquated furniture and the few personal belongings the stripper had brought up with her: a purse, a magazine, and a cheap pink umbrella. The cleanup routine had been perfected through experience; already the fingerprints and debris were completely removed. He had played out this same scenario a number of times before.
Billy searched his memory for her name. Was it Roseanne, Rosemarie, perhaps even Rachel? He couldn't remember. Oh well, it didn't matter - not now, anyway. He lit another cigarette and inhaled the nicotine deeply, then turned back to her. A rush of pleasure suffused him. Those luminous dancing eyes, not dancing anymore, pouty lips, enticing, inviting. Except for the red marks around her neck, she looked pristine, a perfect beauty. He'd waited several years for this unforgettable moment - and others like it, with more still to come.
From his pocket he pulled out a crumpled piece of paper, its edges jagged, having been torn from a book. He read it, not once, but twice, and then smiled. He had accomplished his plan scrupulously, right down to the last detail. He focused on the vase resting on the end table, then checked his watch. Three hours, three roses. How perfect. Billy's intense gaze was fixed on the flowers; he was mesmerized for a moment.
Now it was time for him to leave, but not before he'd added the finishing touch. He walked to the end table and removed the roses from the vase. Gently, careful not to prick his fingers on the thorns, he plucked the petals and scattered them around the bed, blankets, sheets, and the showgirls lifeless body.
In his head he heard the music begin again. Always, it seemed quiet at first, as though whispered in his ear. As the song grew louder, he began softly whistling the lyrics. The subtle fragrance of the petals enlivened his senses. Their touch, scent, and beauty enveloped him, and now he was singing along to the music:
The moment you wake,
Let there be no mistake,
Ill be watching you.
Meet the Author
VICTORIA GOTTI's first novel was The Senator's Daughter. She lives on Long Island with her husband and three sons.
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