Welcome back to Virtue Falls, Washington, where one woman is being held captive by her own delusions. . .
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 houseand his lifewide 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 back. But will she be strong enough to triumph, or is the killer she fears no more than a shadow, an illusion…that watches?
“Smart, dramatic…with unexpected twists, psychological tension, and emotional depth.”Kirkus Reviews on Christina Dodd's Because I'm Watching.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author CHRISTINA DODD builds worlds filled with suspense and adventure, and creates the most distinctive characters in fiction today. Her more than fifty novels, including Scent of Darkness, Into the Shadow, and Into the Flame, have been translated into twenty-five languages, featured by the Doubleday Book Club, recorded on Books on Tape for the Blind, and been called the year's best by Library Journal. Dodd herself has been a clue in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. With more than fifteen million copies of her books in print, her legions of fans always know that when they pick up a Christina Dodd book, they’ve found, as Karen Robards writes, “an absolute thrill ride of a book!”
Read an Excerpt
Because I'm Watching
By Christina Dodd
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Christina Dodd
All rights reserved.
Two years ago Old Broadmoor neighborhood of Colorado Springs
Upstairs at her desk, Madeline Hewitson heard the back door open and close. She stopped typing.
"Hey, honey, it's me!" he called.
She smiled. "Welcome back!" she answered.
He was home.
Easton Robert Privet was the best thing that had ever happened to her, and he was home. His law office was in downtown Denver; after they got together she had offered to move into his high-rise condo and spare him the commute to the suburbs. But without being told, he had understood that to write interesting, riveting novels she needed to concentrate. She needed space around her, the sounds of birds, the smell of grass, a place to plant some flowers. He had bought an estate in a gated community with a guard and hourly security patrols because again, he understood she needed to feel safe.
What he didn't understand was that he made her feel secure.
Her brother Andrew was a good guy, but he'd grown impatient with her. He had told her to grow up, to get over her depression and her terror.
Not Easton. When she woke at night, rigid with fear, he was there to cradle her, to whisper encouragement: The monster is gone. You were brave. You risked your own life to try to save them ... because of you, the monster is dead.
Maddie traced the dark stain that marred the smooth grain of her walnut desktop.
It wasn't surprising that it was there; it was surprising there wasn't more.
Andrew said she should have the desk refinished, have the bloodstain removed. But to Maddie, that would be a desecration, so every day as she wrote, she would touch the stain, acknowledge the passing of her friends, and try very hard to forgive herself for not dying, too.
After witnessing those deaths, she had not imagined she would ever find the courage to live again. But Easton had given her that courage. He saw past the brave front she presented to the world, to the cowering girl caught in a cycle of fear and self-loathing, and he loved her. He had helped her break free of the past. With him, she was learning to move forward.
She shut her laptop and stood, ready to head downstairs. Easton had left early this morning on a business trip, one of those fly-out, fly-in things that he did on a regular basis. He seldom talked about where he was going; he took his pledge of client confidentiality seriously, and this morning when he woke her to kiss her good-bye, he had looked unusually grave. So it had been one of those cases, probably an ugly child-custody situation.
He'd landed at Colorado Springs Airport about an hour ago, called, and told her he would pick up dinner somewhere. They would eat, he'd ask how the book was coming, she'd ask how his day had gone. He would say, "Fine," even when it hadn't, and she would keep it light and cheery. Everything about living with Easton was so normal, so all-American white-bread average, and so much more than she had ever hoped for.
Downstairs, she heard him speaking to someone in that special, soothing tone he used when addressing a frantic client.
She sat back down in her chair. When he was on the phone, he didn't want her listening in. She put her fingers on the keyboard and prepared to sink back into the story.
He gave a half shout followed by an odd, off-pitch squawk.
She found herself on her feet, staring toward the stairway. "Easton?" she called.
"Easton?" She owned a pistol. Easton had bought it for her twenty-fourth birthday. Easton had said it would make her feel secure to own a pistol, to learn how to use it. She had learned, and she kept it ... close. She groped in the desk drawer and brought out her Smith & Wesson 642 revolver.
She didn't feel secure right now.
She released the safety and edged toward the door. "Easton? What's wrong?"
Still no answer.
The outer door opened again. It didn't close.
It was winter in Colorado Springs. Easton might go back out to his car. But he would never forget to close the door after himself.
Call the cops. Call the cops. Call the cops call the cops call the cops.
She scurried back to the desk. Without looking away from the door, she picked up the phone, fumbled it, caught it. She pressed the top entry on the autodial and when the 911 operator answered, she said, "I think there's something wrong with my fiancé."
"Who is this?"
"Maddie ... Madeline Hewitson."
"Can you tell me more, Madeline?"
Maddie stood, listening to the silence.
"Madeline! What do you think is wrong?"
As it was meant to do, the snap in the operator's voice brought Maddie's attention back to the call. "He made a funny noise. Now he's not answering me. I think ... I think there might be an intruder."
"Is your address —"
Maddie put the phone down on the desk, raised the pistol to the fist-in-palm position, and using the gun as a pointer, again started to move toward the door. But a movement in her peripheral vision caught her attention, made her glance out the window. A man hurried down the sidewalk. She could only see him from above; he wore a broad-brimmed black hat and a long, dark, businessman's coat. But the coat was open. It was flapping in the wind.
That wasn't right. In this weather, everyone huddled into themselves, their coats securely fastened.
That wasn't right.
Then he was out of sight.
She stuck her head out the doorway, glanced down the hallway, pulled back, and leaned against the wall. Her heart pounded painfully. Tears gathered in the corners of her eyes. Her hands shook in violent tremors.
She had to go down. She had to reassure herself that Easton ... that he was okay.
She edged out of her office and with her back against the wall, she slid toward the stairs.
Easton was okay. Maybe he'd fallen and hurt himself. Maybe he'd forgotten the food in the car. Maybe ... maybe there was a reason the cold north wind blasted through the open door and up the stairs, ruffling her hair and taking her breath.
Hurry! She needed to hurry!
But it was all she could do to lift one foot, then the other. She descended to the short landing near the bottom. She stopped there. The steps loomed as if they went up instead of down. Beyond was the kitchen where Easton was ... had been ...
She stopped to quiet her breathing.
Everything was fine. She was overreacting.
She sidled over to the entry and peered into the sleek kitchen.
The room was empty. She didn't see anything unusual. Except the outside door was open. And a crimson stain on the tile floor ... was moving, filling the lines of grout, and flowing toward her.
And that odor. She recognized the odor. It smelled like nighttime, like dust under her bed, like broken pleading and a man's smooth voice, oozing with pleasure as he vivisected her friends.
She heard a noise, a scratching.
She froze in place, her breathing silent and shallow.
He was going to find her. He was going to kill her.
Then a thump.
Another thump. A movement from behind the island. Red-stained fingers groped the corner of the cabinet as if seeking her.
She recognized the ring. His ring. Easton's ring.
Yet still, for one long terrible moment, she hesitated.
The door was open.
She was afraid.
She didn't want to see ...
Then she ran toward him, rounded the corner of the island, saw her friend, her lover, stretched out on the floor in a spreading puddle of blood, his throat cut.
His eyes were open, but death's gray blanket had already covered him.
She knelt. She took his hand. "Easton," she whispered. "Easton."
But she didn't speak too loudly, in case the killer was still nearby.
When the police arrived, she still held the pistol in her hand.
Electronics are working. First test run. Subject afraid, insane, malleable.CHAPTER 2
Today Virtue Falls, Washington
Jacob Denisov sat in his upright chair in his living room, staring into the dark. If he kept his eyes open and stared with precisely the right concentration, without movement or thought, the pain didn't break through. It took work, but for months now, he had practiced, and he had gotten pretty good.
No pain slashing at his skull, trying to get out, to explode, to manifest itself in wild screams and violence that never stopped until he broke everything ... especially himself ...
No North Korea. No deaths. No fault. The world beyond the dark did not exist. He floated in bleak eternity and only the stench of guilt lingered, ceaseless ...
The phone rang.
It rang again.
Five rings and the answering machine picked up.
"Jakie." It was his mother's voice, loving, but with a sprinkling of fear and a dollop of exasperation. "I know you're there. Pick up the telephone."
His mother was a morning person. That was when she did her best nagging. So the sun must be up.
She continued, "Just tell me you're all right. That's all you have to do, tell me you haven't died sitting in the dark in that house, brooding about a past you cannot change."
"Jakie, are you eating right? You are a big man, like your father. You should be eating right."
Jacob knew she wasn't done yet.
"Jakie, on Sunday, Father Ilovaiski asked about you. He said he was praying for you. Doesn't that feel good, to know he's praying for you?" As it did when she grew excited, her Russian accent strengthened. "When you come home to Everson and go to church with me, you will be healed. I'll fix you your favorite meal — the black bread, the stroganoff, the pirozhki — and the family will rejoice at the return of the prodigal son."
Oh, no. She was trying her patented Trust in God and family routine and throwing in a food bribe. She didn't understand that the idea of being out in the sunshine with people would break him. She didn't understand he had lost his faith in God. He didn't care about his family. Food meant nothing to him. And he could never be healed.
How could she comprehend? She was his mother, she remembered the boy he had been, and she would love him and believe in him forever.
That boy would never return. He had drowned in an ocean of blood and come to life only to die again. Soon, he hoped.
Her tone of voice changed, and her rising temper crackled across the wires. "Jakie, if you don't pick up the telephone soon, I will come down there and break down the door of your pitiful little hiding place. Don't think I won't!" She ended the connection so violently she cut off her own voice.
He closed his eyes. He knew she would. Nothing his father could say would stop her. His mother was a force of nature.
So next time when she called, he would answer, and he would talk to her. To relieve her mind he would pretend he was fine, that he had been outside working on some unspecified and manly project and couldn't make it to the phone ... for the last week ...
His parents lived in Everson, up by the Canadian border, and he had deliberately moved here, to this location on the Olympic Peninsula, so he could feel at home and at the same time be far enough away from his large family to avoid their well-intentioned intrusions.
It worked ... mostly.
He never knew when the sun rose or set; no light leaked through the blackout shades on the windows. He'd made sure of that. He hadn't eaten since ... he didn't remember. Yesterday sometime. He should go into the kitchen and get something out of the refrigerator. A piece of pizza. A sandwich. Whatever he had in there.
How long had it been since he'd had a grocery delivery?
He groped for the lamp on the end table, found the switch, and turned it on. Even the pitiful amount of light the twenty-five-watt bulb produced made him blink. When his vision cleared, he looked at the marks he had scratched on the wall.
Five days since the boy rang the doorbell, took the check Jacob had taped to the window, and left two grocery bags of canned soup, prepared food, and milk.
That meant every bit of food in this house was stale or rotting, or needed a can opener, a clean pan, and the will and energy to prepare it for consumption.
Only two more days until he received groceries again.
He turned off the light.
He could wait.
At the camp, he had learned to wait for the right moment. He had learned ...
He pushed his spine hard against the chair, braced himself for the wave of pain —
And with a high screech of jagged wood against paint and metal, a gray Subaru Forester shot up the concrete steps of his front porch and exploded through the wall of his house, front wheels in the air, headed right for the heavens — and then, as it tilted toward earth, at him.CHAPTER 3
Jacob blinked and squinted against the assault of sunshine. He lifted his arm to protect his eyes while around him the house disintegrated. Brittle glass blew out of the old single-hung windows. Lath and plaster from the walls blasted into a dry, choking dust. Rock wool insulation dropped from the jutting ruptures in the ceiling.
The front of the small SUV slammed down hard onto the hardwood floor, ate the old TV, the decrepit wooden stand, and the low coffee table. With the roar of a revved-up engine, at last death had come for him.
About damned time.
He sat unmoving, waiting to be obliterated.
Then snap, boom! The left front tire from the small SUV broke through the hardwood floor. With a screech, the vehicle stopped abruptly ... three feet from his knees.
He said the first unrehearsed words he had said in three months: "Oh, come on!" The car couldn't have driven another six feet and flattened him?
The house creaked and moaned, distressed by the violence.
The engine idled and died.
A hush fell over the surreal wreckage of his home.
The car sat tilted forward and to the side, with the left side of the bumper resting on the old braided rug. A white-painted, splintered rail from the front porch pierced the hood. Wood shards and dust covered the windshield, but the glass was miraculously unbroken. A white air bag filled the driver's side of the car ... slowly it deflated, revealing a wide-eyed young woman in her twenties.
She stared at him in horror and disbelief.
He stared back.
She had black hair tucked into a messy bun and startled blue eyes. Her skin was the color of parchment. Blood trickled from her lower lip. She groped around and opened her door. The edge slammed into the splintered remains of the hardwood floor, leaving a gap of only inches.
She looked puzzled, started the car again. The motor gasped. Then, because she was damned lucky, it turned over. She rolled down the window.
Coolant and oil blew past that porch rail like blood from a perforated artery. The motor died.
She watched until the gusher dwindled, then crawled out.
She was short, he realized, and thin. Too thin. Was he wrong in his assessment of her age? Was she a skinny adolescent, someone who had recently learned to drive?
Then she scrambled to her feet and faced him, and he knew his first impression was right. She was in her midtwenties, maybe a little older, dressed in a blue short-sleeve T-shirt, yellow cropped sweatpants, and one flip-flop. Damp brown stains splattered her shirt and sweatpants.
Made sense. If he'd driven his car into someone's house, he'd have brown stains in his sweatpants, too.
Somehow, since he'd moved to Virtue Falls, winter had turned to summer. A bright, sunshiny, contemptuous summer, glaring down on the concrete sidewalks, the narrow asphalt road, the neighborhood of cheap houses built in the 1920s; all appeared through the gaping hole in his living room wall.
He looked at her again.
Her. This person who had ripped off the fifteen-foot-wide front wall of his house, exposing him, in his boxer shorts and T-shirt, to the sight of the world — and was apparently oblivious to her mistake.
She stuck out her hand. "Hi, I'm your neighbor Maddie Hewitson."
He stared at her outstretched fingers.
"I live across the street."
He glared at her.
She smiled, winced when her lip split wider, and touched the trickle of blood. "Ow!" She stared at the red on her fingers and looked confused, surprised to find herself here. At the sound of sirens, she glanced around, saw the neighbors gathering, peering in, and in a tone of despair said, "Oh, God. Not again."
Not again? "Do you make a habit of driving into people's houses?" His voice was rusty with disuse.
"No. Of course not! This is my first time."
The way she said it, she didn't sound sure it would be her last.
"I'm ... I'm sorry," she said. "I didn't mean to ... um ..."
The sirens were getting louder.
Excerpted from Because I'm Watching by Christina Dodd. Copyright © 2016 Christina Dodd. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I could not put this book down. Great characters and exciting.
This romantic suspense was full of action and absolutely fantastic! My only regret was having to stop reading long enough to eat, work, and sleep. (Actually, I attempted to get some sleep, but the characters kept me awake.) I would have read it straight through if I could have. Returning to Virtue Falls is quite the exciting adventure. As the third book in the series, it can be read as a standalone, but I am glad that I started with book one. I like that Kateri, my favorite character, is in all of the books. I would feel lost without her. Full of surprises, the main characters, Maddie and Jacob, have broken lives due to past and present terrors. After what they experienced and what they still had to get through to survive, finding a way to start mending their shattered selves was heart wrenching. I loved it from beginning to end and look forward to future books resolving open ends, and for the challenges new characters will have to face.
Have just finished this book. Another excellent read. I Love the way Christina keeps me wanting and expecting more from her characters. Her next book, The Woman Who Couldn't Scream, is already on my to read list. Thank you for peaking my interest in mystery novels with another avenue for me to explore.
When I first got the book I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. Boy was I wrong!!! From the time I finished the first two chapters I was hooked. The characters of Jacob and Maddie are kindred lost souls who meet by an accident only Ms Dodd could dream up. These flawed souls take you on a twisting mental read, that you can't put down. Can't wait to see what happens next in Virtual Falls.
I received a copy of this book exchange for an honest review. Their were a lot of twists and turns in this story couldn't imagine a more hooked supsense read.
Dodd again creates quirkly, endearing characters filled with flaws, who you fall in love with from the first page. I found myself rooting for the main characters, Maddie and Jacob, to overcome their pasts to find hope and love, and the community of Virtue Falls as they come together to unearth the evil that lurks in the background. Ironically, Maddie and Jacob have experienced similar traumas, but have been coping differently--one in the dark and one in the light. Like her last book, I was hooked all the way through and had a very hard time putting this book down to go to work... Looking forward to the next entry in the series!
Until I read this book, Obsession Falls was my favorite. Now that honor goes to Because I'm Watching. This story has courage and heart, along with elements of fear, humor, tragedy, love, mystery, suspense, murder and more. Mad Maddie and Jacob are strong though they think they are not. Each of their stories are different yet have the same underlying theme: facing fear, enduring mental and physical challenges that many never have to and coming out triumphant, though they probably wouldn't agree. Both are survivors: one of a mass killing and murder of her fiance' and the other of unspeakable torture and brutal treatment by foreign military. My most favorite part of the story, without giving away too much, is when Maddie and Jacob realize that they understand each other as no one else can and forge a melding of souls. Of course, it doesn't just happen overnight. To begin, Mad Maddie has to plow into Jacob's house, car first and put the wheels in motion, so to speak. Not to be left out, there are recurring characters from previous books that entertain along the way: Rainbow, Kateri Kwinault and more. Other characters participate as busy bodies and nosy nellies, disbelievers and innocent supporters. I found this novel to be funny and sad, entertaining and scary, suspenseful and gut wrenching, poignant and heart wrenching throughout. Jacob, with his PTSD, the story behind it, Brandon and Jacob's belief that he is broken tore at my heartstrings. And isn't that what a good story should do?? Buy this book and read it, you will be glad you did!
The latest in Dodd's Virtue Falls series delivers agonized yet truly enjoyable characters, dry and hilarious wit, a little romance, and a truly suspenseful experience. If you are worried about the thrill factor being extreme and leaving the romantic suspense arena and venturing into the horror; don't. You are completely pulled through the book with enough suspense to create a thrilling ride, but not so much you need to sleep with the light on. Dodd draws into realistic and difficult life experiences for her main characters, yet never drags you into despair, she leaves you holding on to that spark of life you see inside of them each time you turn the page. We also get to continue the story of Kateri, who's been a favorite since book one, and whom I love just a little more each time. Overall a totally satisfying escape, one that I just wasn't quite ready to let go of.
“Because I’m Watching” is Christina Dodd’s 3rd installment in her Virtue Falls series, and the best. This book can easily be read as a stand-alone, but you get the full feeling of the town/town folk if you read them all. To say Madeline Hewitson’s luck is bad is an understatement. Not only was she the lone survivor of her college dorm room massacre, she was accused of murdering her fiancé and is now known as Mad Maddie because of some seemingly crazy behavior. She moved to Virtue Falls and literally crashes into the life of Jacob Denisov. Jacob, a military veteran with PTSD arising from a failed mission, is holed up in his house across the street from hers, trying desperately not to live. With the front of his house now open to the neighborhood thanks to Maddie’s car crashing into it, Jacob unwillingly becomes involved in the comings and goings of not only Maddie, but the rest of the neighborhood as well. The more he becomes drawn to her (and she to him), the more he discovers he needs to know. Is she really crazy like his neighbors say, or is there more than meets the eye? If she’s not really crazy, what is happening and will they be able to figure it out in time? I LOVED this installment, holy cow did I ever. Save an entire day for when you read this book b/c I guarantee you will not want to put it down. I was pulled into this town, rooting for both of these characters, wanting vindication for Maddie and healing for Jacob. While the ending was not a cliffhanger, Ms Dodd did leave a window open that I’m ready to climb through…Can you please publish faster?
AJ’s Review: Because I’m Watching by Christina Dodd is a riveting suspense that will draw the reader in hook, line and sinker. The vivid descriptions Ms. Dodd incorporates into this heart pounding, teeth gritting story unfolds like a movie on the big screen. I was enthralled in the plot from beginning to end because who wouldn’t be when someone is watching you. Between Maddie’s hallucinations and somewhat erratic behavior to Jacob’s overwhelming guilt and PTSD, Ms. Dodd makes it difficult for the reader to determine what’s real and what’s not, which is part of what made this book so good. The character and plot building is amazing. It has just the right amount of suspense, horror and torment. Although this is the third book that I’ve read of Ms. Dodd’s in The Virtue Falls series, I’m already anxiously anticipating the next one. Because I’m Watching is a mesmerizing, action packed suspense with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. The characters are engaging and will quickly draw you into their realm of reality, which only leaves one question. Are you ready to figure out who’s watching in Christina Dodd’s latest book in The Virtue Falls series, Because I’m Watching? Rated 5 Ravens and a Recommended Read by AJ!
Great! First book I've been able to concentrate on in awhile. The emotions behind how it feels when someone is trying to make you feel crazy are very real.
Best of the Virtue Falls series yet! (and you don’t need to have read the other two, although you will want to) Jacob Denisov is a military veteran, living (if you could call it that) as a recluse in Virtue Falls, Washington. “Mad” Maddie Hewitson, his neighbor, is a young, sleep-deprived woman, who literally and figuratively crashes through his walls. Both are haunted by pasts they cannot escape. For Jacob, a need to feel guilt over the loss of his charges gets him through his days; Maddie is haunted by first witnessing the murders of her close friends, and then her fiancé, whose murder was never solved. When Maddie’s car crashes through Jacob’s front door, it forces him to confront the world again. Though she has ruined his home and illusion of safety, he is the first to come to her defense, recognizing that she is sleep-deprived, not on drugs. Because Maddie often sees things that aren’t there and calls the police frequently for these “sightings”, they are less inclined to believe her. Despite his inability to trust people, Jacob recognizes a kindred spirit in Maddie, and Maddie has found someone who understands her fears and maybe even believes her. He begins to suspect that someone or something is causing her “haunting” episodes. As the two grow closer, evil forces are at play, and the sheriff's department, Jacob, and Maddie are in a race to uncover the truth before it turns deadly. "Because I'm Watching" reintroduces some recurring characters from the previous novels in the series, but this book is a standalone. The characters are well drawn and the plot and suspense are what you would expect from Christina Dodd - i.e., a page-turner. Highly recommend!
I totally enjoyed this book. I've read all of the Virtue Falls stories and this is my favorite, at least until the next one appears. I am not going to go into every detail of the book, some of the reviews are so explicit that they spoil the book for me. There is suspense, romance, a little sex and humor. The book was well written and gave you updates on characters from the previous books. What really surprised me was that there were a few, not many, editorial errors. Not enough to interrupt the flow of the story but it surprised me in a hardback. Get this book you won't be disappointed.
WOW!!! Most excellent read Two great main characters - great how they helped each other. Sort of figured who the culprit was, but was thrown for a loop with a twist. Thank you Ms. Dodd for a wonderful book.
Once again Christina Dodd does not disappoint. Suspense, intrigue and a little bit of romance combine to create a fast paced must read. The characters; especially Jacob, Maddie and Kateri invite you into their lives and welcome you along for the ride.
From the moment I picked up this book I had a hard time putting it down. Maddie has witnessed two horrific events that she was able to survive and move forward. But she is haunted by her memories and unexplained terrorizing events. Maddie refuses to sleep at night because she knows that is when the monsters come out. Her lack of sleep leads her to crash her car into Jacobs’ house resulting in their first meeting. Jacob is a military hero suffering PTSD from his capture and torture in North Korea. He doesn’t want to live with the nightmares and deaths of his former recruits on his “hands”. He is in such a horrible heartbreaking state that he only wishes for death. Maddie and Jacob are kindred spirts even through Jacob refuses to join the world outside his grief. Luckily Maddie and other townspeople keeps pushing themselves into his life helping him slowly live again. Maddie is still being terrorized by unknown monsters that causes her neighbors and police to question her sanity. My heart broke for Maddie during each episode. I felt like every time she started to feel better or happy the “monsters” would show up. Thankfully Jacob is here to help her figure out what has been going on at her life. I was so happy to see Kateri as the sheriff and can’t wait for more of her story to unfold. I loved this book. I had a feeling about who the terrorizer was but it was still a nail biting conclusion. Can’t wait for the next book!
What A Way To Meet! Maddie and Jacob meet when Maddie accidentally breaks his house (and his life) wide open, by driving up into his living room. What a way to meet. As Maddie and Jacob start to heal each other, they realize they both suffer from "survivor's guilt". Jacob worries, is Maggie crazy? Dangerous? Or is something else going on? You'll have to read the book to find out. I thought I had the end all figured out (kind of), but Christina put a great twist in there. I loved the ending. This is a great, fast-paced story and goes on my Keeper Shelves. This book can be read and enjoyed w ithout reading the other Virtue Falls books, you'll want to read them all when you finish. I can't wait until the next book comes out!
I really loved this book. I read it in two sittings . It was very exciting and kept my interest throughout the book! I only set the book down to have dinner . This author is the best !
This book had me squirming in my seat! The characters in this book were nothing what I was expecting for the third book in the Virtue Falls series. Of course after reading Christina Dodd for as long as I have, I should have known better than to try to think ahead of her creatively twisted mind! I absolutely fell in love with the main characters and all of their neurotic flaws. This is a story of obsession, fear, strength and determination and it will make you view the neighbors on your street in a whole new way.
This is the third book in this series that I have read, and is the best so far in my opinion. In the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, author Christina Dodd says that she wrote this story melding the classic movies Gaslight and Rear Window, and I can definitely see the influence of these 2 movies. Maddie suffered a very traumatic experience as a teen, and is suffering from PTSD as a result, although the majority of the community of VIrtue Falls simply thinks of her as "Mad Maddie". Maddie crashes into the house of her neighbor Jacob. who is himself suffering from PTSD after being tortured in a North Korean prison. The story of how these 2 people help to heal each other is combined with the story of who is trying to torment Maddie with monsters from her past. Another story thread deals with Kateri, a former Coast Guard officer and current sheriff of Virtue Falls. After a near-death experience in the first book in this series, Kateri is dealing with both physical and emotional aftereffects from that incident, and is facing re-election for sheriff. I look forward to reading more about Kateri in future books. While I guessed the identity of the person or persons tormenting Maddie fairly early on, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and eagerly look forward to the next book in the series.
Loved this book!! A must-read nail biter from the amazing Christina Dodd. Her books are always great, but this one really works on so many levels. Plus I now am completely suspicious of all my neighbors. (But they probably deserve it.) This book has it all and you will really get into it. I couldn't put it down - the world around me was put on hold. Do yourself a favor and get this book. It is brilliant!
Loved this book. There were so many twists and turns, I could not put this down and ended up reading all night to finish once I started. I really felt for Jacob as I have family with combat PTSD. Ms. Dodd did a wonderful job of dealing with the subject matter. I actually figured out who was partly responsible after Jacob decided to do some investigating, though the other person was a complete and total surprise. Several characters from previous books in this series show up and there were also some surprises regarding the sheriff as well. Anyone who loves mysterious suspense stories with lots of twists should add this book to their bookshelf. I will be reading this series again. I did receive this book in exchange for an honest review and have to say I am not disappointed in this story at all.
Because I'm Watching is by Christina Dodd and it is the third book in her Virtue Falls Series. I have read all 3 and I love them all! Ms. Dodd has truly captured mystery writing with Because I'm watching. I found it to be very suspenseful and it kept me engaged and enthralled throughout. There are 3 main and unique characters--Maddie, Jacob, and Kateri. I loved how the story engulfed each character and intertwined in each other's lives. I found this story to be very entertaining and a page turner. I was lucky enough to receive an Advanced Reader Copy and I can't wait to read Christina Dodd's next book! I took this book on vacation with me and I was not disappointed and I could not put it down!
Taking the past into the future! In my review of Obsession Falls (Virtue Falls #2) I described the novel as “an action-packed, suspenseful, page-turning thriller with more twists and turns than the most wicked and dangerous roller coaster in the world. The excitement builds on every page to various electrifying moments and is an edge-of-your-seat experience to read.” I couldn’t imagine how Christina Dodd could possibly make any subsequent novel go beyond “more” of any adjective the reader would like to substitute in their descriptive review. But, the author could virtually be whispering in the reader’s ear: “Read on! Just keep reading my next novel in the Virtue Falls Series!!” WoW! I try to read as little about any new titles by favorite authors as possible so as I’m thoroughly absorbed reading the opening chapters of “Because I’m Watching,” in seconds, I was stunned to read that a car “had shot up the concrete steps of his front porch, and exploded through the walls of his house, front wheels in the air, headed right for the heavens-and then, as it tiled toward earth, at him.” Now, imagine trying to put the book down on the nightstand, turn out the light, and go to sleep. What was I thinking starting to read this novel on a weeknight when the alarm goes off so early the next morning? Christina Dodd’s characters do not disappoint. I consider Christina Dodd to be one of the authors who shows her artistry in the selection of her words - to set the pace, to build the unexpected twists; the portrayal of her characters – main and supporting; the level of absorption that she creates for the reader with illuminating descriptions and revealing conversations. Madeline Hewitson and Jacob Denisov are each tormented by their past in different but painful ways. They are neighbors but certainly don’t meet in any type of traditional way. That is merely one of the many exciting features of a Christina Dodd novel! It was also wonderful to meet Kateri Kwinault on the next part of her life journey. I love the diversity of the supporting characters as through the terrific character descriptions and portrayal of their personalities, each one brings a unique quality to the story whether it’s the nosy neighbor (Mrs. Butenschoen); Rainbow Breezewing (waitress at the Oceanview Café); Mr. Setzer, Mr. Edkvist, Mr. Caldwell, and Mr. Harcourt (who hold court at the geezer table of the Oceanview Café); Cordelia (a customer at the Oceanview Café that lives, eats, and works by her own rules), Deputy Sheriff Gunder Bergen, Virtue Falls policeman Ed Legbrandt, or Dennis Wodzicki (insurance agent), to name just a few. I was lucky to be invited to read and review this novel and received an autographed, hardcover edition of "Obsession Falls" and the enclosure of a sachet stuffed with lavender grown on the author's property.
A bite your nails, leave the light on, suspense thriller. I love the flow of this story and how quickly you were brought in to connect with each character. I lost myself in the worry that the character has for her sanity, who to trust, and what is real and not real. I appreciated that it was a story I didn't want to put down, so I didn't and read in one sitting, but then I was disappointed when I was done, because IT WAS THAT WELL WRITTEN! The setting of Virtue Falls and characters from previous stories felt like going home and hooking up again with family. The mystery thrown in of who is tormenting Madeline and why? I love how Ms. Dodd researches and has such believable medical synopsis or diagnosis and stretches your mind on PTSD AND MENTAL ILLNESS and you can really visualize from a persons point of view. The corruption of small town politics and neighborhoods that seem perfect but have underlying imperfections. You will love this new story and I highly recommend it!