Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Watch Me: A Review

WATCH ME by Brenda Novak is only dated August 2008, but I think it makes the cut for the TBR Challenge. I did randomly grab it off of my toppling TBR, it is from the previous year, and quite honestly, I wasn't able to finish the Hoag book (PRIOR BAD ACTS) I'm reading now. So while I can use this as my entry for the challenge, it will also allow me to work out the kinks I still feel after reading it. Maybe...

So, the facts...

Sheridan Kohl, a victim advocate for a California-based organization, the Last Stand, returns home to Tennessee to finally lay the ghosts to rest and figure out who killed her high school boyfriend many years ago. The fact that he died that night while she only escaped with a bullet wound is enough to cause her the guilt that she's lived with for many years. During her recuperation, her parents moved her out of the state and it became an accepted fact that she was supposed to forget it all.

It becomes quite evident that not everybody is welcoming. When Sheridan is attacked upon her return to Tennessee, it's only sheer luck and the help of Cain Granger that saves her life when an unknown assailant tries to beat her to death. She and Cain shared one night back in their teen years, and for Sheridan it was a night to forget. She'd given up her virginity for a guy who wasn't her boyfriend, while she'd been seeing his own brother. But while many people may blame her for the death of Jason, nobody knows her secret with Cain.

Or at least she thought...

Secrets are the main theme in WATCH ME and Sheridan is almost helpless as some of her past deeds are discovered and paraded in front of anyone who may hold an interest in seeing her quieted. What I didn't get in this whole book is how both main characters are inhibited by the past deeds of their youth. The fact that they'd slept together ONE NIGHT (yes, just one night, and a total disaster at that) is the secret of all secrets, but when that is discovered, it not only colors the investigation of Sheridan's attack, but casts doubts upon her character. C'mon, people, I know we all have something to hide and there are many things that we're not proud of, but get over it! Even my tiny hometown - and I do mean tiny, at 5000 population - accepts the fact that SEX does happen. It's unavoidable, and I certainly don't advocate teenaged sex, but just because the prom queen might've been doing the star quarterback doesn't mean she's a slut for the rest of her life!

So, here's the thing -- Sheridan's trying to get over an attack on her life - I mean, the perp was stopped just as he is digging her grave - and now she's got to deal with the narrow-mindedness of small town living. She's almost MORE afraid that news of her and Cain's past misdeeds (again, he broke her cherry) will get back to her parents than she is of being attacked again, or even worse...uh, killed.

Ok, so all that aside -- someone's gunning to make sure Sheridan doesn't find out who killed Jason. And, trust me, they'll do anything to make sure that doesn't happen. In the mean time, Cain has his own baggage to deal with, in the form of an ex-wife who also happens to be part of the small police force Whiterock has. She's jealous of any of Cain's free time, or even the thought that another woman may snap him up. And it's 50/50 whether or not exie will try to acquit Cain of killing his own brother, or seeing that he suffers for even daring to diss her... Yeah, small town, narrow-mindedness. It sucks.

Having said all of that...I can't say that I was totally gobsmacked when the killer is finally revealed, but I can't say that I was honestly surprised either. I did enjoy WATCH ME for what it was, a bookend for a trilogy that started off with a bang. I felt almost cheated that WATCH ME, the third book in the Last Stand trilogy, was a little less than desired. But in the same breath, I can't say that I hated it either.

HOWEVER, at the end of WATCH ME is a teaser for a new TLS book, hopefully coming out this August, and that totally has my jets revved. Yeah, I'm a sicko... and it looks like Brenda Novak has a lot in store for us.

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