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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

With My Little Eye


Narrators: Joshilyn Jackson, Maisy Jane,

Graham Halstead, Jeremy Arthur, Jesse Vilinsky, Michael Crouch

Publisher: 🎧 Harper Audio

ISBN: 9780063158658

Publisher: William Morrow

Publication Date: 04/25/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)



From the New York Times bestselling author of Never Have I Ever comes the hair-raising story of a mother who moves herself and her daughter across the country to lose a dangerous stalker—only to discover that it will take more than distance to escape him.


It started with the letters…


For actress Meribel Mills, disturbing fan mail is part of the price of fame. So when she starts getting creepy letters written in fruit-scented marker she is mostly unphased and diligently files them along with her other messages from unhinged fans. After all, she’s a single mom approaching forty, not the kind of hot young celeb who sparks dangerous obsessions. But there’s something different about Marker Man…


He’s been in her home…


Meribel’s sheets smell of unfamiliar cologne, and objects have gone missing around the house. Plus, the letters have become more perverse, with drawings of a naked Meribel tied up or chopped into pieces. While the police insist that stalkers hardly ever escalate to violence, Meribel has played the dead girl one too many times on TV to risk becoming her in real life. She and her daughter move from Los Angeles to Atlanta for a fresh start—but no distance is great enough.


He’s watching her…


Years of being in front of a camera have given Meribel a superpower—she can feel eyes on her, a creeping sensation like bees inside her skin. And someone definitely has her in their sights. Could Marker Man have followed her all the way across the country?


Who else might be watching—her ex-husband? The lover she left behind in LA? Her new neighbor? Suddenly, every man in her life is a suspect, but she can’t keep herself and her daughter safe from a monster she can’t identify. When the paths of all of these men collide, Meribel will find herself alone in the fight of her life, desperate to protect those she loves as danger closes in from all sides.


If he can't have her, no one can.






About the Author

Photo credit: Scott Winn

New York Times and USA Today bestselling novelist Joshilyn Jackson’s books have been translated into a dozen languages, won SIBA’s Novel of the Year award, three times been the #1 Book Sense Pick, twice been the #1 Indie Next Pick, twice won Georgia Author of the Year, been a top ten finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards, been the Target Book Club Pick, three times been a Books-A-Million Book Club Pick, four times been shortlisted for the Townsend Prize for Fiction, been a finalist for the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction, and won the Patricia Winn Award for Southern Fiction.​


A former actor, Jackson reads the audio versions of both her own novels and other writers’ books. Her work in this field has been nominated for the Audie Award, included on AudioFile Magazine’s best of the year list, won three Earphones Awards, made the Audible All-Star list for highest listener ranks/reviews, and garnered three Listen Up Awards from Publishers Weekly.

As a volunteer with Reforming Arts, Jackson spent six years teaching creative writing in Georgia’s maximum security facility for women. She currently serves on their board of directors, focusing on re-entry. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her family, two entitled cats, and a modestly-sized dog.


Connect with Joshilyn:






Exceptional Authors. Standout Books. Elevator Talk.

INTRIGUING QUESTIONS. INQUIRING READERS WANT TO KNOW

Behind the Book and the author

with New York Times Bestselling Author

Joshilyn Jackson


Welcome to April 2023 #AuthorElevatorSeries —where we go behind the scenes of the book and the author. We are super excited to have with us today, a long-time fan favorite — the NYT bestselling southern author (and narrator), Joshilyn Jackson with her eleventh novel, the highly anticipated thriller—WITH MY LITTLE EYE.


A hair-raising story of a mother who moves herself and her daughter across the country to lose a dangerous stalker—only to discover that it will take more than distance to escape him.


Welcome, Joshilyn! Let's dive in.




Behind the Book


Q. SETTING: Tell us more about the book setting and why you selected it.


JOSHILYN: The backdrop for the book is the television industry. For me, this feels like a sliding doors situation. At one point I planned to move to LA after college and pursue acting and play/screenwriting. I chose to go to graduate school for novel writing instead.


I always wondered....what if? Writing Meribel let me explore what that life might have looked like.


I do still keep a toe in that pool. I read audiobooks, my own as well as other people’s. Last year, I qualified for my SAG card. I was so delighted. This was 20 year old mes big dream!


This audiobook feels very special. They did a full cast, using some of my favorite narrators for the different POVs. I read the main character, Meribel Mills, and my own daughter, who is an actor, auditioned and won the part of Honor, her daughter.



Q. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: Your favorite character to write, and/or most challenging?



JOSHILYN: Honor Mills. I have a hard time writing characters close to me. The more like me a character is, the more I try to let them hide. I protect them.


Honor is very much me at 13. Since it has been a very, very long time since I was 13, I had distance enough to let her be flawed and open. She was so easy to write!


I had to work to pare down her chapters. I am very glad that I like her. I didn’t like myself at 13 (well, who does!) but looking back on myself, now, I can like that girl.



Q. TOPICS: Name 1-3 topics or themes addressed in the novel?


JOSHILYN: It’s a thriller, so of course I want folks to be able to head to the beach with a drink and enjoy it, but if you want more? If you want to think about the world we live in and have a great conversation with your best friend or your book club? I want my books to offer that, too. Because the kind of book I like to read.


WITH MY LITTLE EYE is also about women and aging---the pressure we are under to stay young and thin, how much our value is attached to our age, weight, looks. It is dehumanizing and debilitating. This is especially egregious in the entertainment industry. There is a reason the book is set in 2017, just weeks before the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke.


I also wanted to look at issues of privacy in our social media fueled world. When is it wrong to look? Where is that line? The Stalker obviously is abusing the power of his gaze, but other characters, including Meribel, struggle with the same questions and cross some lines.



Fascinating! Cannot wait to listen to the audiobook. As always love JJ's audio performances, and congrats to your daughter for Honor's character.


Now, more about Joshilyn, Behind the Author—continue below.

Behind the Author



FAVORITE COLOR?

Orange


FAVORITE SONG OR ARTIST?

This changes constantly. Right now I am obsessed with Kyoto, Phoebe Bridgers, and Wandering Lovers by Christine and the Queens


NAME A BOOK TITLE ON YOUR BOOKSHELF OR NIGHTSTAND THAT WOULD SURPRISE YOUR READERS.

The Players Handbook (Dungeons and Dragons)


WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR PARTNER?

He decided years ago to stand back to back with me, swords out, us against the world, ride or die, and he has never once wavered.


DESCRIBE YOUR FAVORITE PAIR OF SHOES.

Doc Marten Mary Janes


THE LAST BOOK YOU RAVED ABOUT?

Maddalena and the Dark


WHAT WERE YOU DOING AT MIDNIGHT LAST EVENING?

Having insomnia


TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT YOUR READERS MAY NOT KNOW.

I would be sorted into Slytherin


WHAT ARE EARLIER JOBS YOU HAD BEFORE BECOMING AN AUTHOR?

Bartender. Puppeteer. Actor.


PEN OR PENCIL?

PEN, baby! You got to commit.


AT WHAT AGE DID YOU CONSIDER BECOMING A WRITER?

Before I had concrete memory. My mom used to publish my books using the Crayola and Stapler method.


IF YOU COULD WRITE ANOTHER GENRE IN ADDITION TO THE CURRENT ONE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Plays


WHAT’S THE CRAZIEST OR MOST OUT-OF-CHARACTER THING YOU’VE EVER DONE?

Got engaged to my husband before we had ever been on a date. (he was my best friend)


AN ITEM ON YOUR BUCKET LIST?

Dive the Great Barrier Reef


YOUR FIRST CELEBRITY CRUSH?

Spock. (Not Leonard Nimoy. SPOCK!)


THE CRAZIEST THING YOU HAVE EVER DONE FOR BOOK RESEARCH?

Go to cop school!


WHAT SOUND DO YOU LOVE?

Purring


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WRITTEN ON YOUR TOMBSTONE OR WHERE DO YOU WANT YOUR ASHES SCATTERED?

I am going to be wrapped in a sheet and buried, un-embalmed, in a wild marshland at a monastery. No headstone. Our kids can place a rock or a planted tree to mark the spot if they want to.



Yes, Yes! I knew Joshilyn would be a riot with her witty answers. Since I started the Author Elevator Series 5 yrs ago, no one has answered my ashes' question. Drum roll, we have the first answer and it is a good one!!!


Thank you, Joshilyn, for spending time with us today!






Praise


A dark, twisting confection, With My Little Eye will send readers racing through its pages. Joshilyn Jackson is a master storyteller. —Karin Slaughter, New York Times bestselling author of Girl, Forgotten and the Will Trent Series

​"Clever, propulsive, and full of surprises, WITH MY LITTLE EYE is top-flight psychological suspense. Joshilyn Jackson is a deft and intelligent writer who dives deep into character while masterfully ratcheting up the suspense and tension with every scene. You’ll feel the suffocating fear of being watched and followed, and know a mother’s desperation to protect the ones she loves, as you tear through this breathless, enthralling read.”

—Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author of Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six


"In With My Little Eye, Joshilyn Jackson proves once again that she’s not only a masterful storyteller, but a literary magician. Beneath this thrilling, breakneck story of an actress being pursued by a mysterious stalker (his lurid “fan” notes alone will compel you to lock your doors), there’s smart, savage humor and incisive questions—about courage and fear, forgiveness and revenge, and the murky, complicated business of telling and keeping secrets. I have devoured every one of Jackson’s novels, and this is her best yet. I defy you to put it down."

— Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author on With My Little Eye


"With My Little Eye doubles down on the thrills.... Expect plenty of twists and turns along the way."

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“Psychologically damaged but charismatic characters, a riveting plot, and taut suspense make this a fine pick for suspense fans.”

— Booklist on With My Little Eye


“Jackson, a former actor herself, wryly describes the actor’s life while providing just enough twists… Those looking for escapist fun will be rewarded.”

— Publishers Weekly on With My Little Eye


“Joshilyn Jackson is one of our favorite authors, and she once again returns to the thriller genre with this new novel. It's a truly frightening tale of actress and mother Meribel Mills who has a stalker she refers to as the Marker Man. She moves from L.A. to Atlanta in an effort to escape him, only to suspect that he followed her across country.”

— Country Living on With My Little Eye





My Review


The master of domestic suspense and queen of thrills, NYT bestselling southern (favorite) author Joshilyn Jackson returns following Mother May I (5 Stars) with her latest twisty suspense thriller, WITH MY LITTLE EYE —an actress/mother is forced to move herself and her daughter across the country to escape a dangerous stalker—only to discover he follows them.


July 2016 Los Angeles, CA: "I never thought I was famous enough to get murdered." —Meribel Mills


Meribel Mills is approaching 40, an actress — not a young celebrity who often sparks obsessive fans; nevertheless, she still receives fan mail and some not-so-good. Downright disturbing and CREEPY. However, this goes with being famous.


This one disturbing fan she and her daughter calls Marker Man, the unhinged guy (due to the cheap fruit-scented markers) he used for his letters. The envelopes were addressed in huge, jagged handwriting that glared cherry pink, lime green, or berry blue, which smelled of alcohol solvent and sickly-sweet faux fruit—a STALKER.


Meribel is a single mom of a delightful adopted tween (almost thirteen) daughter, Honor, through the foster system. She is on the autism spectrum. (loved her)


For their safety and her sanity, they are forced to move 2,000 miles away, across the country back to (Midtown) Atlanta, Georgia— to a furnished condo a year from the date of his first letter. A place she swore she would never return to.


She takes a new job that films in Atlanta, a recurring role on the second season of last year's breakout hit. Her character, the new lawyer at a firm specializing in representing ghosts, had a pickup option to become a regular series if it went well.


She had hired a forwarding service to send her Marker Man's letters. However, soon after she arrives in Atlanta, the letter postmarks are from towns closer and closer to where they live.


Marker Man is COMING for them.


Detective Johnson was making no progress while a psychopath edged closer and closer. His letters were arriving almost every day!


People still remembered her on the street from Belinda's World.


Meribel feels she is being watched and someone has been in her condo. She sees someone across the street. Was it James, her ex, or has the Marker Man already gotten closer?


Meanwhile, Honor was adjusting to a new school and a new therapist. She loved rules and memorized them. She also develops a friendship with a homeless girl, Sheila, whom she calls Princess Xena.


There are also men in Meribel's life.

~Cooper, her new neighbor in Atlanta

~James, her ex-husband (now married with three children)

~Cam, her LA ex-boyfriend-bodyguard


Told from POVs, Meribel, Honor, and the Marker Man, each intense and spine-chilling! Each letter includes an illustration and a violent threat. Meribel must protect her daughter. Honor is trying to protect her mom. How will they escape this madness? No one can escape social media and the internet.


Whom can they trust? Every man in her life is a suspect. When they all collide, Meribel fights desperately to protect her daughter as danger closes in.


A huge long-time fan, I have read all of Joshilyn Jackson's books, and WITH MY LITTLE EYE was spectacular!


Joshilyn is a master storyteller and always surprises you with every book, each unique. In WITH MY LITTLE EYE, she pulls out all the stops with a riveting clever psychological thriller, a strong emotional mother/daughter story, a fun beach read, and a compelling book club pick ripe for discussions.

A nail-biting thriller, well-paced, action-packed with dark humor, a well-written story, and unputdownable. Filled with suspense, courage, fear, obsession, revenge, and forgiveness.


The author highlights women, aging, and their role in business and as mothers. The pressure we are under to remain young and thin, how much our value is attached to our age, weight, and looks.


Readers will adore Honor — with all her quirks, the story's heroine.


AUDIOBOOK: Joshilyn is a former actor and a popular narrator of audiobooks. I have pre-ordered and am excited to listen to this audiobook, narrated by Joshilyn (Meribel) and her real-life daughter Maisy Jane, who is narrating (Honor)! With a full cast, I adore Michael Crouch—also performing: Graham Halstead, Jeremy Arthur, and Jesse Vilinsky. Assured it will be an award-winning performance as the characters come alive.


Stay tuned for my #AuthorElevatorSeries Q&A with Joshilyn, where we go behind the scenes of the book & this multi-talented author, on April 25th!


Thanks to #WilliamMorrowBooks for a gifted ARC via #NetGalley for review purposes.


@JudithDCollis | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 💙 Stars

Pub Date: April 25, 2023





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