Tom Harper, a Vancouver Island realtor, has the client from hell, Ali Page, a beautiful and intelligent young lawyer returning from the mainland to take up a job with an island law firm. Trouble is there’s always something wrong with the properties Tom shows her, always a reason not to commit. Finally, after they find a condo she likes, he receives a text thanking him for his help. Ali signs off: I’m sad we won’t get to spend more time together. Often cold and withdrawn throughout their weeks of searching, Ali’s words seem strangely out of character.
The texts keep coming, increasingly incoherent and disturbing. What does Ali mean by We have a special connection, and why on earth would she say I’ll be here for you when you leave your wife? Happily married, Tom cannot understand why a woman not much older than his teenage daughter is suddenly obsessed with him. When he rejects Ali’s unsolicited advances, Tom soon discovers the sinister depths to which a delusional mind will sink to obtain what it wants. Isolated and seemingly abandoned by the police and legal system, this is the story of one man’s struggle to rescue his marriage, his family, and his sanity in the face of overwhelming psychological and physical torment.
Martin Bodenham recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, WATCH FOR ME:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
The plot formed in my mind first. It was inspired by a documentary I heard about men who had been stalked by women.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge for me was finding good research about women stalking men. There is plenty the other way around. My novel gave me an opportunity to highlight this small but real part of stalking crime.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Grisham is still my primary influence, but recently I discovered the novels by Jo Nesbo. In both cases, I like their unfussy style of writing.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book, or your work in general? And, please answer the question too!
Q: Are men victims of stalking?
A: Not only are men victims of stalking, but they can suffer further psychological damage by not being listened to by friends/family and police authorities.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
Men stalking women is widely recognized by society, but women stalking men is not. This is reflected in the way male victims are sometimes treated when they report the harassment. Other men can make light of it, and law enforcement agencies can underestimate the significance of its impact on the victim. I hope my novel brings attention to this issue.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
Psychological suspense novels are a welcome challenge for a writer in that they are driven not so much by the action and more by the detailed human interaction.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
A common issue that surprised me was how difficult it can be for male victims of stalking to be taken seriously by friends/family and/or police authorities.
MARTIN BODENHAM was born in the UK. He is the author of the financial thrillers The Geneva Connection, Once a Killer, and Shakedown.
After a thirty-year career in private equity and corporate finance, Martin moved to the west coast of Canada, where he writes full-time. He held corporate finance partner positions at both KPMG and Ernst & Young as well as senior roles at a number of private equity firms before founding his own private equity company in 2001. Much of the tension in his thrillers is based on the greed and fear he witnessed firsthand while working in international finance.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.