In His Sights [NOOK Book]

Overview

What if the man you'd loved for years transformed into a ruthless and relentless tormentor, stealing your freedom, threatening your sanity and your safety?

This is not a fictional scenario. It is Kate Brennan's life.

A well-respected writer and scholar, Kate was wary of getting involved when she met Paul, a wealthy, charismatic businessman with a great deal of free time, but his charm and determination eventually won her over. Once they moved ...

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In His Sights

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Overview

What if the man you'd loved for years transformed into a ruthless and relentless tormentor, stealing your freedom, threatening your sanity and your safety?

This is not a fictional scenario. It is Kate Brennan's life.

A well-respected writer and scholar, Kate was wary of getting involved when she met Paul, a wealthy, charismatic businessman with a great deal of free time, but his charm and determination eventually won her over. Once they moved in together, however, Kate discovered the sordid secrets lurking beneath the Mr. Right facade: the serial infidelities, the unbalanced psyche. When she ended their relationship, Paul dedicated himself to stalking her—using his limitless resources to track her movements, interfering with her work, arranging for people to break into her home—in a campaign of cruel harassment that has been Kate's unending nightmare for more than a decade . . . and which continues to this day.

A shocking and visceral memoir that lays bare the twisted mind of a stalker, In His Sights is a gripping tale of one woman's descent into the dark side of love and her ongoing struggle to free herself.

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Editorial Reviews

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"I'll see you again." This casual phrase, appearing early in this tale of a woman tracked by a stalker, set the stage for the unnerving events to come. Narrator Kate has just met Paul, the handsome, wealthy relative of a neighbor. Kate, an emotionally wounded daughter of an alcoholic family, is skittish about a relationship; nonetheless, she finds herself falling in love with Paul and ensnared in a grotesque scenario that continues years after their relationship ends.

Beneath his charming surface, Paul is a cipher, refusing to discuss his past at any length. However, it isn't long before Kate discovers his perverse sex life. Although he claims to love her, he lies and bullies her. As her own outrage escalates, Kate is still drawn to help Paul, to make the relationship work, until she realizes: "We make our monsters even more dangerous each time we give them a pass."

Gathering her courage, she breaks away, but Paul hounds her until a noose has been drawn around her life. A cry of pain and defiance, Kate's heartrending story reads like a thriller, revealing her as a victimized woman but one who refuses to be silenced. For Kate (writing under a pseudonym for her safety), the act of telling her story is to draw a line in the sand, showing her tormentor that though he can make her suffer, her spirit will not be crushed. (Fall 2008 Selection)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061866555
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 350,913
  • File size: 429 KB

Meet the Author

Kate Brennan (an alias) is a freelance writer who focuses on women's issues. She has taught English and women's studies at several colleges. Her stalker remains at large.

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Read an Excerpt

You seldom choose the circumstances that offer meaning to your life. Given a list of options, stalking isn't one I'd ever pick. But once that was my reality, I saw two basic choices-walk straight through or shy away. My nature is to walk straight through the hard things-grief, sorrow, fear, doubt, anger, whatever presents itself. I've always believed in the power of the other side of pain, so I don't allow myself to run from it.

Facing your demons, taking responsibility for your choices, learning from your mistakes: that's the kind of person I respect and aspire to be. So being stalked by an ex-lover requires me to examine how I managed to love such a man. My stalker may have picked me, but I picked him, too. I picked him, I lived with him, and when I left him, I intended to forget him-except in the vaguest way, the way you remember a movie that didn't live up to the hype.

I thought it would be a simple matter of walking away and taking stock: tuck back into myself, consider why I chose him, face my frailties and failings, and then, and only then, step into the future-wiser and more whole than the day I met him. That had always worked for me in the past.

Turns out, this time would be different. You can do all the psychic and physical separation you want, but there's no getting away from someone who wants to remind you he can mess with your life anytime he wants. Paul isn't a man who tolerates being left. His desire to control me didn't vanish just because I tried to. In fact, the stalking has lasted far longer than our life together. So every choice I make, every moment of turning, is filtered through one simple fact: my stalker is still alive. Which is why you won't know my real name. But you will know my psyche, for I intend to offer it bare as a licked bone.

Being stalked thrusts you into the muck of someone else's life, which is how I felt when I was with him, so it was a surprise that I wasn't, after all, free of him when I walked out his door. How could I know that leaving this man would give new meaning to the concept of afterlife? No matter what else happens, my life will always be divided into three parts: before him, with him, after him. Not my preferred life markers. But there it is. It's what I got when I walked away.

I had forty-one years before him, nearly three years with him, and it's been more than thirteen years since I left him. It took me more than two years to see that leaving him was not the same as getting away from him, and that his harassment was, in fact, stalking.

Over the years, therapists have assured me that they, professionals who are paid to figure people out, were fooled, just as I was, by this man's charms. I'm only somewhat consoled by such assurances, because they don't erase the inevitable questions: How could I have loved someone so capable of residual hate? How did I allow myself to get sucked into his perversion? How did I manage to get away? How do I stay safe now? And most important of all: How do I keep sane, not ever knowing if the stalking is over?

The answers are complicated, but the truth is simple: it all flows from the currents of my past.

It took living with the man who became my stalker to realize that life with my family had left me with such a high tolerance for cruelty I couldn't recognize perversion when I saw it. And when I did start to see it, I was so accustomed to thinking that sick people get well and that I could survive anything, I didn't know when to quit hoping. I didn't know when to quit being strong and patient and kind.

Some women are raised to believe men can become their best selves if they're not left to their own limitations. We're bred to believe in the power of redemption. It took time-too much time-for me to realize that picking someone who needs you, who's less whole than you are, is the easiest way to keep from seeing yourself clearly. It offers ready distraction from your own damage.

I thought that avoiding active alcoholics and working on my own frailties would be my salvation. I also thought if I understood enough about the man I loved and was a steady force of love for him, it would all come right in the end.

Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.



I startle awake. A gunshot? I hold my breath and strain to identify the noise in the ensuing silence. Nothing. Was it a car backfiring on the highway? A hunter downing a deer on the island? Maybe one or the other. Maybe something more ominous. I'm never sure which way to turn, toward the ordinary or the terrifying.

I lie still and focus on my surroundings, work my legs toward the edge of the bed and ease into position. I've taken to wearing sweats and a long-sleeve T-shirt to bed instead of pajamas in case I have to leave suddenly. Running or taken, either way, it makes me feel a little less vulnerable. I edge my arm from beneath the cool sheet, slide the cell phone from under the spare pillow. I practice the drill just in case: my fingers slide over the keys: 9-1-1. 9-1-1. I remind myself to breathe-slowly, silently. I remain as still as possible.

I lay my head back against the pillow to keep my neck from locking and play back the moments before going to bed. I see myself checking all the doors, the windows, the security system. Once. At least twice. Perhaps, like many nights, more than that. I visualize the routes I'll take if someone comes through the front door, through the back door, through a window. I wait for another sound that will tell me which way to run.

I picture a face I've never seen before, the stranger he will have sent. I imagine the place I'll be taken. Dirty, dark, remote, somewhere as foreign to me as my assailant. I remember to breathe. I strain for the next sound, hoping it will not come. But also wondering if it would be a relief from this endless vigilance.

I wait for the pink of morning to bleed into the night sky. Although I don't believe the dawn cares for humans one way or the other, only at first light will I relax enough to fall back to sleep.

I feel safest in the light, but I am drawn to the cloak of invisibility darkness offers.



Going to bed, for a walk, to a movie-such ordinary things. Unless you're being stalked. Then everything feels risky.

As I do in every public place, when I walk into a movie theater, I enter slowly, scanning the seats. Is he here? Is someone he knows here? Before I settle into the room, any room, I check my gut. Do I feel safe?

My favorite spot in movie theaters used to be two-thirds back, on the right. Not too close to the screen, not too far away. Now I sit in the back row, so I can keep an eye on the room. And before I give myself over to the story on the screen, I make sure I know where the exit door is. If there's only one door, I usually leave, and wait for the DVD.

When I do stay, I move in and out of the film to check for late arrivals, and minutes before the end, as the movie closes in on itself, I make my final descent from the screen story to my own. I plan my exit. How to be seen by the least number of people? How to get out the fastest? That's the goal.

I pull my hat down over my eyes and focus on the exit door tucked behind the screen. In warm months, I feel more exposed. Midwesterners aren't crazy about eccentrics. They're most comfortable with conformity. And a woman wearing a hat in a movie theater when it's above zero doesn't fit their definition of normal. People tend to stare. So, like a child who believes she's invisible when she covers her own eyes, I put on my large sunglasses and tell myself no one will recognize me.

As the credits begin to roll, I head for the front corner of the room. In seconds, everyone else will be moving in the opposite direction. The casual eye could assume I have something to hide. And actually, I do: myself. If I hadn't learned how to hide, I wouldn't have lasted this long.

I'm good at figuring things out. I'm good at figuring people out. And I'm good at trusting my gut. Years of being stalked have made me an expert at following my instincts, which isn't easy, given that a stalker's goal is to suck you into his vortex; when your world spins out of control, it's easy to lose your balance. A constant state of readiness is the only way I know to right myself, again and again and again.

But it wears me out, and the possibility of despair is never more than an arm's length away. That's on good days. On bad days, despair sits on my shoulder waiting for the slightest sign of weakness so it can wrap me in its embrace.

Memories are closer still. They crawl around inside me, hookworms pleased at so much strength to sap.

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Customer Reviews

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( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    A must read for women

    Any woman who has been in an abusive relationship-stalked or not-will relate to this fascinating true story. This is an inspiring story of self-examination and survival. I'd recommend it to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2009

    Amazing

    This is an amazing and brave account of what it's like to try to life the fullest life you can while being the target of someone's crazy obsession. Extremely readable and well-written.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 8, 2013

    very interesting

    very interesting

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  • Posted September 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I read this book a few years ago and it was one of the most chil

    I read this book a few years ago and it was one of the most chilling book I had read in some time. It's chilling because her stalker does the little things that would unnerve even the most confident woman. Comes into her home and upsets the little things and leaves. The police can't do anything because he doesn't do anything overt or violent. Everything seemed normal and yet when someone stalks you and has the means to keep it up; there doesn't seem to be much of a recourse. This story had a sense of midwestern to it and the details seemed very credible. Let's face it; people can be strange and what appears normal to them is anything but. I hope whoever
    Kate Brennan is; she's still safe.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2012

    BORING!

    if i could have given this book ZERO stars, I gladly would have! What a waste of my time! This book was hardly about stalking and about a woman so desperately trying write a book with a title that was actually interesting, but had nothing to do with what was inside. Oh God and did it ever drag on!!!! BORING!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2011

    Good Read, Interesting Topic

    Having studied and worked in family law for several years, I believe stalking is still a crime swept under the rug far too often. I found this book to be honest and revealing - from the Kate refusing to see the red flags in the relationship to Paul playing out the cycle of abuse like a silent but seductive concerto. Add into the classic stalking schemes the internet and ever-increasing technology such as GPS, spy-cams and whatever else is available and many of us could be stalked at any moment and not even know. This book made me think of how we, as a society of internet crack junkies, look at privacy, getting to know people and relationships.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2010

    Moving Story

    This was an interesting true story about one woman's experiences with a long-term stalker. The beginning and middle were well written and the author was very good at presenting a non-fiction experience in a cliff-hanger type way with each chapter enticing you to read the next. Real life, of course, isn't like a novel in that everything doesn't always get wrapped up in a neat bow at the end. The story sort of piddled out at the end, as the stalking incidents became less frequent, but would happen just often enough to keep her off balance and never completely able to relax--which is exactly what her stalker wants to have happen. It's good that she has been able to continue having a life despite him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 8, 2010

    Survivor

    This is a harrowing story of one woman's life running from a stalker. The steps she had to take uprooted her life and changed her way of looking at the world. It is sad that so much of her time was taken up trying to avoid a very sick man.Even with all the support she had from family, friends, and law enforcement nothing could take away the fear she felt. The saddest part is that there is no way to stop the daily terror she lives with. Even with Stalking Laws, the only recourse is to stay on the run to save your life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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