Written by Katia Lief – The phone rings while Darcy Mayhew is making dinner and suddenly her life is turned upside down. Her husband Hugo has been in an accident while driving on Middle Road and now he is dead.
Nearly two years later she has moved with her son Nat from Martha’s Vineyard to Brooklyn, to try and rebuild her life. She is now a reporter for The New York Times, is dating her son’s art teacher Richard, and has befriended her glamorous colleague Courtney. Life is starting to get better, but then Darcy runs into a familiar face at work. Joe from the Vineyard has moved to New York and now works in the mail room. He invites Darcy for lunch and, unable to think up an excuse, she reluctantly accepts his invitation. At lunch Joe asks her to recommend him for the paper’s internship program and Darcy suggests that he send her some samples of his work first.
Later that night Joe sends Darcy a sample of his writing which is flat and meandering. Trying to let him down easy, she tells him that she enjoyed it but feels he should work on his writing some more before applying to the internship program. Unhappy with her response Joe beings plaguing Darcy with hundreds of emails and phone calls and this is only the beginning. Darcy tries to immerse herself in work in a bid to forget about Joe, and she and Courtney begin writing about the discovery of some human bones and land deals involving the mob.
As Darcy’s bones story begins to pick up momentum so does Joe and he quickly turns from creepy to scary. When an important contact for her article is murdered and Courtney disappears the police look to the mob, but Darcy begins to question whether Joe is behind it. She seeks help from a stalking expert, Jesus Ramirez, whose wife Angela was raped and stabbed by her stalker after issuing him with a restraining order when she was 15. Determined not to make the same mistakes with Darcy as he did with Angela, Jesus advises Darcy against getting a restraining order and tells her to lay low instead. But when things take a turn for the worst Darcy has to decide whether to ignore police advice and take matters into her own hands.
Watch You Die contains a wealth of background information on Darcy, her marriage, her childhood and her career which really helps the reader to understand the character and engage with her more. I can’t help but feel empathy for Darcy, whose father committed suicide when she was only nine, and whose husband died in a tragic car accident. The author realistically describes the challenges facing single mothers, the grief that still consumes Darcy and the moral dilemma she faces with moving on when still in love with her husband. Lief tackles the difficult subject of stalking very well and Angela’s character represents the horrors that often present themselves to victims of stalking.
I felt at times the storyline concerning the human bones detracted from the one about Joe the stalker, and sometimes it was unclear which was meant to prevail. However, with each chapter the plot thickened, ending with a climatic conclusion. Watch You Die is the first novel I have read by Katia Lief but it certainly won’t be the last.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars