Joshilyn Jackson is one of my favorite writers, first as an author of brilliant—and often hilarious—Southern fiction, with bestsellers such as Gods in Alabama and Almost Sisters, and now with acclaimed suspense novels. All of the latter have titles that use the names of children’s games to chilling effect. She began with Never Have I Ever, followed with Mother May I, and her current release, With My Little Eye. Jackson never disappoints.
My thanks go to Net Galley and William Morris for the review copy, though I’d have paid cold, hard cash if push came to shove. This book is for sale now.
Meribel Mills is an actor with a past and a problem. Years ago, she fled her hometown in Georgia and her marriage following a traumatic surgery, but she realized her dream of becoming a working actor. But a persistent stalker has caused her to flee Los Angeles with her adopted daughter, Honor, and now she’s back in Georgia, laying low, working locally, and stalking her ex-husband.
This intrigues me, the notion that a stalker might also be stalked. Meribel’s intentions are benign, as she wistfully revisits the past, but she’s also over the line, obsessively following her ex’s social media accounts, mostly via his second wife, and at one point following them out to dinner. The heck? And so I wonder if that will be the focus of the story.
But Jackson never does anything predictable, and that’s part of what keeps me coming back.
Throughout the story, I am on the back foot, trying to ascertain which of her would-be swains is a genuinely nice guy, and which is the creepo. At one point I begin to wonder if she has multiple stalkers! And Jackson makes a strong point about the worthlessness of law enforcement when it comes to dealing with stalkers and women threatened with violence:
“Rape threats, abduction threats, death threats, and I got forms and tutting and sad jazz hands…I made copies [of the letters] and took them to the police, who filed them for just in case he killed me, later. Then it would be serious. Then someone would find his ass and get him into prison. It would make a great Lifetime movie, with a purely fictional, leggy lady cop as the necessary strong, female protagonist. And me? I’d be playing the dead girl, once again.”
But the best part of this novel isn’t Meribel or her stalker(s), it’s the children. Daughter Honor is Autistic, though very bright and relatively high functioning. Her new friend comes with baggage of her own; both of these girls is so well developed that I feel I would know them if I saw them on the street. They develop a friendship with a homeless teen who also has an important role here, and these girls are what make the story shine.
The resolution is believable and nothing comes from left field. This is an outstanding read, and I recommend it to you.