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Watch Me Die    by Erica Spindler order for
Watch Me Die
by Erica Spindler
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Erica Spindler's Watch Me Die is a chiller set in New Orleans, centered around stained-glass restoration artist Mira Gallier. Even after six years, she still mourns the loss of her beloved husband Jeff, and of their perfect life together, in Hurricane Katrina . It hasn't helped that her in-laws accused her of Jeff's murder and have been harrassing her ever since. Not mentally strong, she has finally weaned herself, with the help of her therapist, Dr. Jasper, from her pill addiction and is beginning to hope for a happier life.

It's not to be in the short term though, as those around her keep getting murdered. First it's the priest, with whom she consulted on her latest restoration project, including a stained glass window of Mary Magdalene. Smeared on her beautiful glass were the words, 'He Will Come to Judge the Living and the Dead'. After she's accosted in her workshop by The Preacher (a street person), he ends up killed with a discarded piece of her glass. And someone is getting into her house, someone who smells and sounds like her long dead husband - but there's no sign of forced entry. Is Mira imagining it all or did Jeff (whose body was never found) somehow survive?

Homicide Detective Spencer Malone is assigned the case of the dead priest. His new partner, Detective Bayle, comes with more than her share of baggage, having 'melted down on the job.' Mira contacts Malone to get access to the vandalized windows. As her connections to subsequent murder victims become clear, Malone and Bayle focus in on Mira as the possible killer. Meanwhile, Jeff's best friend, Connor Scott, returns from a tour of duty with the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan, after disappearing suddenly from their lives long before - why did he leave and what has brought him back? He seems protective of Mira and even forces her to accept a dog, after hearing of the break-ins.

As the plot thickens, it seems that nothing in Mira's life is as it appears to be on the surface and no-one (not even Dr. Jasper) can be trusted. It comes to a climax in which Mira must gather all her courage to confront the one dubbed the Judgment Day Killer, with not only her own life at stake. Watch Me Die, a gripping read, has left me keen to track down others of the author's thirty novels.

Audiobook Review:

I really enjoyed listening to Macmillan Audio's production of Watch Me Die, in an unabridged version (11.5 hours and 9 CDs) read beautifully by Christina Delaine. She has a wonderful way with the New Orleans accents, subtly differentiating individuals of both sexes.

Delaine does a particularly fine job of portraying Mira Gallier's personality and moods through her voice. She also makes the male voices sound right (typically hard for audiobook narrators to do with the opposite sex) and distinguishes characters (both male and female) much better than is typically the case.

It was a real pleasure to listen to Christina Delaine's reading of Watch Me Die.

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