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I’m proud to say this is the second time one of my book reviews has been selected as “Tour Guide’s Pick” through Blackthorn Book Tours!
I had the pleasure of reading this psychological thriller by Lee Matthew Goldberg through Blackthorn Book Tours. And let me just say, WOW, can he ever write a voicey character!
The main character is Lexi, so Goldberg writes from a female perspective. Lexi is bold, brash, and unafraid to tell people what she really thinks. She’s got a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush, and the likely cause is a past full of abuse and lacking any sort of love or affection, along with a problem with drugs and alcohol. She has grown up to be something like the person she wants to be like the least: her mother. Lexi abuses substances to escape from reality, and it turns her into someone she really isn’t. Because she doesn’t know how to love or what to expect in a relationship, she forges her own path by forcing connections with people. Everyone she meets is a potential new target for friendship or a romantic involvement. At the root of it all is the need to be unconditionally loved and wanted. Noticed. Appreciated.
There are so many things going on inside Lexi’s brain at any given moment. As I was reading, I could see the destructive decisions she was making. Several times, I thought, “Oh no, here she goes again,” when she met someone new, or someone did or said something the wrong way.
It’s a classic case of the abused becomes the abuser—one in the same, when you get right down to it. Lexi was her own worst enemy, but she thought everyone else was the bad guy.
When things took a turn for the better, I was so wrapped up in Lexi’s reality vs. actual reality that I wasn’t sure which was which—and that’s exactly what was supposed to be happening because, really, neither is she.
The character arc was strong in Stalker Stalked. We learn a lot about what makes her tick, and what she believes she needs to make her a strong person. We see her go through her highs and lows as she, the one who is normally doing the stalking, becomes the victim of a stalker as well. Everyone she knows is a suspect. She’s got exes, enemies, her only true friend, a doctor, even a police detective in her sights as she tries to figure out who’s stalking her. But being stalked means someone wants her, right? Maybe that’s not such a terrible thing, Lexi rationalizes…
There were a few lines throughout the story that just made me laugh, the thoughts she’d have about people. Lexi is very vulgar, so do be aware of some explicit language and sexual scenes in the story. There were also some OMG parts, particularly at the very end of chapter forty-eight!
All in all, it was a very interesting read. The thing I loved most about it was Lexi’s voicey-ness. It was very distinctive, and I love characters like that, regardless of what their story is. Lexi is very precise and detailed in her analysis of others. She hones in on the slightest feature: “When I passed it over, I touched his hand. His was smooth, I could tell he used lotion and trimmed his cuticles. He smelled of oak–a great, grand tree.” She also zones in on her current target, whoever it might be, and essentially fabricates a reality where they’re in some sort of mutually wanted relationship: “We were already finishing each other’s sentences.”
I was rooting for Lexi not to succeed at forcing friendships and love, which is what she desperately wanted, but to learn to love herself first and take the steps she needs to get better, which is what she fiercely needed.
About Stalker Stalked:
Lexi Mazur is a depressed, alcoholic, pill-popper whose only joy has become her reality TV shows, often fantasizing that the people on TV are a part of her world. After her boyfriend Steve leaves her, she fixates on the show Socialites and its star Magnolia Artois, following every facet of the girl’s life on social media in the hopes of befriending and becoming more like her.
But stalking isn’t new to Lexi. She ultimately won over her ex Steve by following and manipulating every minute detail about him so he’d fall for her. In fact, she landed her other ex-boyfriend Jeremy in the same way. Being a pharma rep, she’s used to manipulation to get doctors to buy her drugs, along with the perk of saving pills for herself.
But what happens when the stalker gets stalked?
Recently, Lexi has felt someone watching her: in her apartment in Queens, at her job. At first, she thinks her mind’s playing tricks, but the watcher is behaving just like she would. And soon they begin leaving threatening clues like she starts to do to Magnolia once her obsession grows more dangerous. Is it one of her exes out for revenge? Her only real friend from childhood who she’s always had an unhealthy rivalry? A detective who may have figured her out? The reality star Magnolia trying to turn the tables? Or even someone she might not know?
Lexi learns the only way to beat her stalker is to use her own stalking prowess to outsmart them at their own game. But has she finally met her match?
Praise for Lee Matthew Goldberg’s Writing:
This latest work has not yet been reviewed, but here what reviewers have said about his writing:
“You feel yourself in the hands of a master storyteller and that feeling never lets up.” — SJ Rozan, best-selling author of PAPER SON”
“Lee Matthew Goldberg is an animal–there is no other way to say it. His prose is heavyweight ambitious, as visceral as a sweaty-toothed dog at your throat.” – Matt Phillips, author of Countdown and Know Me from Smoke
“A beautifully sinister novel filled with enough twists to give you whiplash.” –Jon Bassoff, author of Corrosion, a Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere nominee.
“Goldberg is a masterful storyteller, and this tale of jealousy and ambition is one that will stay with you long after you’re done. ” – Jennifer Close, New York Times bestselling author of Girls in White Dresses and The Smart One”
“A compulsive read–you won’t want to put this one down.” – Margot Berwin, author of Scent of Darkness
“Goldberg has created a riveting, funny, contemporary novel that deserves the description ‘page-turner.’” – Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Remains and When Shadows Come. “Goldberg’s characters are well-formed, memorable and complex, adding humanity to a story that is sweeping in scale and remarkably focused.” — Alex Segura, acclaimed author of Blackout and Dangerous Ends
About The Author:
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY.
His new endeavor is as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box.
His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
You can find out more about Lee Matthew Goldberg and his other books by visiting his website at www.leematthewgoldberg.com. He can be found on Twitter @LeeMatthewG, on IG @leematthewgoldberg, and Facebook @leemgol.
Congratulations to Lee Matthew Goldberg on the release of Stalker Stalked (Sep 17, 2021) and thank you for allowing me the chance to read and review in this Blackthorn Book Tour!
Stay tuned for an interview with Lee Matthew that I’ll be posting soon!