Leslie A. Kelly’s ‘I’ll Be Watching You’ Delivers Catty Hollywood Suspense [REVIEW]

Woman in red dress on beach

Can a crush on a matinee idol turn into lasting love? (Photo courtesy Canva)

She grew up a ward of the state. He’s a Hollywood heartthrob. One of them has a target on their back. Will circumstances draw them together or send them running in opposite directions? Find out in Leslie A. Kelly’s I’ll Be Watching You.

Leslie A. Kelly's I'LL BE WATCHING YOU

Forever

Jessica Jensen never had it easy. In fact, as a foster kid, she found the movies far more interesting than real life—especially when the movies starred Hollywood’s hottest teen heartthrob, Reece Winchester. Although he fueled her fantasy life, never in her wildest dreams did she think she’d actually meet him one day.

Life is tricky like that, however, and when she’s all grown up she actually gets her chance. And wow, is he everything she ever knew he would be. Gorgeous, charming, and utterly fascinating, he’s definitely the cat’s meow, and she falls for him hard. Little does she realize that her Cinderella story may not have a fairy tale ending.

As a Hollywood hunk, Reece seems to have an idyllic existence. But he’s spent years constructing the facade surrounding his personal life, the one that has kept people at bay… that is, until Jess managed to crawl under his skin and into his heart. She has no clue that getting close to him makes her a potential target, but then he hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with his family’s darkest secrets. Now if he doesn’t come clean, the woman he loves may become a casualty of war.

I’ve never read Kelly’s work before, so just by reading the teaser on the back cover I guess I was expecting a more traditional, straight-forward romantic suspense novel. What I got was something that made me feel like the author attended the Joe Eszterhas school of writing, because in many ways this felt like a sexy treatment for a 90s thriller. First, there’s the “hero” of the book, a man who felt a little too similar to Zeke Hawkins in Ira Levin’s Sliver (which Eszterhas wrote the screenplay for, by the way, when it came time to make the movie). He’s just overly familiar too soon, and has a voyeuristic/stalker-ish vibe that kind of sets the reader’s teeth on edge. But it is obvious that Kelly wants to go there, and that’s how she has chosen to create the noir-style suspense for this particular tale.

This isn’t to say that Reece and his family are all creeps. I mean, he is misguided in his methodology, for sure. But we ultimately get past all that. Still, there are layers of mystery to this tale, one on top of another… on top of another… and so it goes. Just when we think we’re getting things figured out, something else happens and we are left trying to decipher what the heck is going on, who is at fault, and what direction things will go next. Needless to say, there’s lots going on here, and it makes for an intriguing, entertaining read.

What I love best about this story is all the colorful Hollywood characters. Aside from Reece, Jess is the kind of heroine the late Jackie Collins would have delivered. She’s both dreamy eyed and tough as nails, and she doesn’t let Reece jerk her chain too long before she sets the record straight, which is awesome. Also, the supporting cast has plenty of catty, vain characters who spit venom with flair and at times make this feel like the soapy, over-the-top—but completely addictive—episodes that made the TV show Dynasty an overnight sensation.

All of these ingredients make I’ll Be Watching You a fun, compulsive read, and a great introduction to Kelly’s Hollywood Heat trilogy. By novel’s end, she leaves us wanting more, with just enough loose ends to pique our curiosity so we pick up the next chapter in her titillating saga.

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Leslie A. Kelly

Leslie A. Kelly
(Photo by Vernice Dollar-Kappell/Studio 16)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Leslie A. Kelly is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 65 novels and novellas.

Known for their sexy humor, Leslie’s books have been honored with numerous awards—including the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Aspen Gold, the Golden Quill, the Write Touch, and the Romantic Times Award—and four RWA RITA® nominations. Leslie is also a Career Achievement Award winner from Romantic Times Magazine.

Although she has spent most of her life in Maryland and Florida, Leslie currently resides in Colorado with her husband and two fluffy, yappy little dogs.

To find out more, visit LeslieAKelly.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

I’LL BE WATCHING YOU
By Leslie A. Kelly
400 pp. Forever. $7.99

Purchase I’ll Be Watching You at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About J.R. Wallace
J.R. Wallace is a freelance writer and blogger who enjoys cooking, reading, travel and fitness. He lives in Ohio with his family, two cats and a ferret named Igor.

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