Title: Watch Me Die
Author: Erica Spindler
Release Date: June 21, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Source: Amazon Vine
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Years after Hurricane Katrina, Mira Gallier is finally recovering emotionally. Losing her husband, Jeff, in the storm was incredibly difficult, and it’s only through her work with stained glass that she was able to survive. But now it seems that someone wants to undo all that when the stained glass windows she painstakingly restored are defaced. Though at first it seems like a random act, it becomes increasingly clear that Mira is being targeted, but what she and the police can’t figure out is whether she is a victim or so psychologically damaged she is imagining things.
I really enjoyed Erica Spindler’s Blood Vines, so when I heard she had a new book coming out, I knew I wanted to pick it up immediately. One of the things I loved most about Blood Vines was its setting in a vineyard, and the locale of Watch Me Die doesn’t disappoint either. It’s very atmospheric – post-Katrina New Orleans is still rebuilding, still haunted by the ghosts of its past, but there is also hope and a bright future for residents to look forward to. Spindler does an excellent job taking advantage of the unique setting, and it really becomes its own character in the book.
Watch Me Die is just as much of a psychological thriller as it is a mystery, and it accomplishes this feat well. As the book progresses, Mira begins to suspect everyone around her. She even questions her own sanity, wondering if she is hallucinating. It’s very suspenseful as, along with Mira, the reader wonders who they can trust. Spindler manages to inject the novel with real fear, and the reader will sense that as they race to discover the truth behind what’s happening.
Mira Gallier didn’t work as well for me. I was often frustrated with her character, especially with how she refused to move on after her husband’s death. It was as if Mira died in the storm as well, in some ways. There were times I wanted to reach through the book and shake her, to tell her to start living life again before it’s too late. Additionally, there was a subplot involving the main police officer’s partner that seemed completely superfluous and didn’t fit well with the rest of the book.
Despite my qualms about Watch Me Die, I do recommend it as a tightly written and suspenseful psychological thriller. The atmosphere of post-Katrina New Orleans is really well done, and the details of Mira’s work with stained glass is very interesting. If you’re in the mood for a quick, gripping read, this would be a great novel to pick up.