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Someone's Watching
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 21, 2011
Kate and Joanne are high school seniors who visit Miami for spring break. When they go missing, Kate's father travels to Miami to look for them, and also to see Robbie, the daughter he hasn't seen since she was seven. Now twenty-five, Robbie learns for the first time that she has a half-sister. Robbie initially wants nothing to do with her long-absent father, but after recognizing her own features in a photograph of Kate, she takes it upon herself to find her missing sister. Robbie's boyfriend Brett and ex-boyfriend Jeremy each play a part in the mystery of Kate's disappearance. Rounding out the cast are the owner of a trendy South Beach nightclub, a congressman, a writer whose husband is a politician, a female police detective, and an assortment of lowlifes. The engaging plot keeps Robbie and Jeremy in motion as they repeatedly encounter dead bodies (always in a way that makes Jeremy look like a suspect), while subplots address Robbie's indecision about which man she wants as a boyfriend and her ambivalent feelings about her father.

Jeremy apparently played a central role in Sharon Potts' first novel, In Their Blood. Someone's Watching makes occasional reference to the events in that book. Other characters from that novel (including Robbie) reappear in this one, but my impression is that the stories are only tangentially related. Although I haven't read In Their Blood, I don't think my understanding of this novel was diminished by not reading that book first.

While enjoyable, Someone's Watching is not without its flaws. To solve the mystery, Robbie draws conclusions that are not based on logic or even reasonable intuition (along the lines of "I found this shoe I've never seen before outside this house I've never visited before. It must be a clue!"). The plot depends upon several coincidences that stretch credibility well beyond its breaking point. Kate could easily remove herself from a nightmarish situation but implausibly fails to act. Robbie and Jeremy do some remarkably stupid things, equivalent to the slasher movie victims who decide to walk into the woods where people keep turning up dead. A subplot involving Robbie's estrangement from her father is unoriginal. The prose is sometimes a bit breathy for my taste, including sentences like: "Jeremy Stroeb. Why couldn't it have been forever?" Although this is billed as a suspense novel, it sometimes has the flavor of a chick lit romance. Some sentences seem to have been fashioned for a seventh grade reading level, like: "His words stung. They stung a lot." For the most part, however, Sharon Potts' writing style is capable and, fortunately, the story usually focuses on Robbie's search for her sister rather than her tiresome musings about her failed relationships.

Putting aside its credibility problems, Someone's Watching is entertaining. At some point the novel turns into a whodunit and Potts plays fair: although the villain's identity is less than obvious, the clues are all there. The pace is brisk. Robbie and Kate have well-honed personalities (the male characters, not so much). Had the writing been a bit more polished and had the story relied a bit less on coincidence, I would have given Someone's Watching four stars. As it stands, I'm giving it three, although I would give it 3 1/2 if that option were available. I nonetheless cautiously recommend it to thriller fans, at least to those who would welcome a bit of chick lit mixed in with the thrills.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on January 8, 2012
I like mysteries. I was not familiar with this author or her work and since it was free, I downloaded it. I did
finish the book but there were several times I was tempted to just hang it up.

For one thing, this must be the second book in a series. There are numerous references to another story involving Robbie and her on-again, off-again boyfriend, which I had not read. The author pre-supposes that anyone reading this novel is familiar with the other one, which may not be the case and which causes some confusion.

It is not just one or two references to the other story; there are a great many "throwbacks" and references to what has gone on in the previous story. While this one can stand alone, it doesn't do so smoothly. It would help if you've read the other novel (I do not know the title).

Ok, there is also the matter of the foul language. I understand that many (most) contemporary fiction works include profanity since it seems to be the accepted norm. But this one uses the "f" word quite a bit. I really do not like that word and to have it bandied about really bothers me.

There are also some parts of the novel which are not fully developed. The author begins to build a story, giving details about a character/situation, and then it doesn't go anywhere. Why spend the time to create a character and give the reader a lot of information about her and then just let it drop? I felt that the author did this with Maddy; the book felt like it was unfinished, even though she was not a main character.

Conversely, while the reader is given a lot of "backstory" on a minor character, there is a lot of information about the perpetrator that is missing. It is only at the end of the story, when the "bad guy" has been revealed, that the author tries to fit in a few paragraphs to try to explain the motives behind the crimes. This falls flat and is confusing. The author needed to do a better job of setting up the history so that the character's motivation and ultimate killing spree is better understood.

So, it's ok but there are several elements which make this book an exercise in confusion.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 9, 2011
Sharon Potts' second novel opens with terrifying scenes of the worst nightmare of every parent of a high-school-age girl: Two young girls, in South Beach, Florida during their Spring break, decide to drive down to Key Largo for one night of rebellion against parental curbs before their freshman year in college, with the worst possible results.

The scene then shifts to Robbie Ivy [nee Roberta Brooks], her kitten, Matilda, her transvestite friend and neighbor Gabriele. A young woman with commitment issues [both personal and professional] who was formerly a CPA and now works as a bartender at a trendy South Beach club, Robbie answers her door to find there a man she hadn't seen in 18 years, when she was seven years old - the father she had not seen or heard from since. Just as startling is the reason for his visit: He is searching for the 18-year-old half-sister she didn't know existed, who has disappeared. The reader finds out quickly that the teenager described in the opening pages is none other than this hitherto-unknown sister.

The author poses, throughout this novel, the potentially trite question of what exactly is "family," then proceeds to answer it in a fully satisfying manner that is anything but trite. The author brings back in this follow-up to her first novel, "In Their Blood," Jeremy Stroeb, Robbie's erstwhile boyfriend now her [platonic] best friend, with whom she shared traumatic events in the earlier book that included the murder of Jeremy's parents just over a year ago.

The South Beach club scene is exemplified by this description: "Glittering people were everywhere, like glowing algae at the bottom of the sea. There was an elaborate soundstage on the dance floor and a DJ manipulating the electronics with the dexterity of a brain surgeon."

Robbie is driven to find her sister, in every sense of the word, and with Jeremy's help sets out to do just that, to her own peril. Neither she nor the reader knows who can be trusted, and who is the enemy, as bodies pile up. The suspense mounts as the glamorous façade is seen as a trap for the unsuspecting and the naïve.

Recommended.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2011
Oh, my gosh, where do I begin? Sharon Potts novels were recommended on SparkPeopl.com by other members. I'm extremely thrilled to find this author with her unique and kind of a quirky talent. Who knew CPAs could be so thrilling and even evil? Somehow, Sharon pulls it off with panache.

I absolutley recommend any Sharon Potts' novels to anyone. Super slueths galore. If you enjoy 'Who-done-its' you will love Sharon Potts' works.

Irene
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
#1 HALL OF FAMEon February 9, 2011
Once a corporate suit, Robbie Ivy works as a bartender in Miami's South Beach section. Her estranged father arrives at the club where she works to ask Robbie for a favor. His other daughter Kaitlin "Kate" Brooks and her BFF Joanne Sparks are missing somewhere in the concrete South Florida jungle; he wants Robbie to help find her.

Robbie is stunned to learn she has a sibling as she had no idea until her dad's visit that she had a half-sister. Not knowing how to start, she asks her former boyfriend, Jeremy Stroeb for advice. He suggests she speak to Detective Judy Lieber who cautions Robbie to watch her step as coeds like Kate are targets of nasty predators especially when Joanne is found dead. Her amateurish inquiry turns deadly as Robbie realizes time is running out on her meeting her younger half-sister alive.

Relationship damaged Robbie makes a terrific protagonist as she hopes to make it with Jeremy, reunite with her father and become friends and sister with her sibling. Thus she has a major impetus to find Kate. Mindful of the exhilarating mindless action movie Taken (even though the heroine is an amateur while Neeson's character Mills is a former CIA field operative). Filled with spins and stunning red herrings, readers will appreciate this engaging, timely but sordid tale of kidnapping teens and forcing them into prostitution (right out of the headlines).

Harriet Klausner
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2012
Let me start off by saying if I could have given this book a 3-1/2 I would have.

WARNING: Just in case you don't get this from the description there is sexual content and swearing. I know this bothers people so you might as well know this going in.

Since several other reviewers gave pretty good descriptions of the book I am not going to waste anyone's time by doing it again. I did not realize that this book was a sequel but I was pretty sure it was when I was reading the book since it referenced things prior quite a few times. I believe that you don't have to read the first because it just touches on the past though and it doesn't really relate to this mystery other than the fact Jeremy & Robbie had/has a relationship.

Did I like this book enough to read the first one? Honestly I am not sure. This was a well written book and I liked Robbie & Jeremy but I am not sure I care enough about them to read another one. Perhaps it is just not the kind of mystery books I really enjoy?

I think one of the things that really missed the mark was that the killer/killers back-story or current story just seemed unfinished. I am still unclear (perhaps I was just too tired to figure it out?) about the relationship between the killer/killers. I also was pretty sure who it was & I was correct although there was a little twist (confusing though).

Did anyone figure out who the little boy belonged to? Maddy was with a little boy but by the end of the book it seems pretty clear that he was not hers.

I almost feel like I would have to read the book over to connect all the dots. I usually don't feel like that at the end of a book.

At any rate, it certainly is a decent book but I am just not sure I will read another one when there are so many good mysteries out there. I feel bad for saying this because I feel the author certainly knows how to write and the book was interesting. There was just that little something that was missing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2011
If you are looking for a thriller that is quite admirable for both its visual prose and quick pace, then Sharon Pott's latest crime flick "Someone's Watching" might just be the thing for you. Not only does it keep you on the edge with its pulse-racing speed but it guarantees you a seriously chilling thrill ride.

It is not until her estranged father suddenly shows up on her doorstep asking for her help that bartender Robbie Ivy learns she has a half-sister, Kaitlin "Kate" Brooks, who went missing along with her best friend, Joanne Sparks in Miami. Robbie seeks help from her ex-boyfriend Jeremy Stroeb who suggests she should consult Detective Judy Lieber, and Robbie made it her mission to locate her sister.

Robbie is frantic when she learns that Joanne's body was found drowned in India Creek and the whereabouts of Kate remains unknown. With each passing moment, Robbie knew in her heart that the chance of finding Kate alive is getting slimmer by the minute. Racing against time, Robbie intensifies her search, often going against Lieber and coming close to breaking the law. Along the way, Robbie meets self-help author Gina Fieldstone, wife of politician Stanford Fieldstone, who volunteered to help Robbie to find her sister.

Then, a local congressman commits suicide following a visit to a popular bar the same night Robbie was there. She believes there must be a connection to the events to what happened to Kate and she starts digging deeper only to confront a terrible reality that could put everyone she loves at risk.

The lively South Beach club scene in Miami was portrayed so vividly that its gives the feeling you are right there to witness it all. Peopled with sinister characters, Potts delivers a gripping narrative that will keep you hooked until you have reached the very end of this bone-chilling mystery. Be warned that by the time you get there, you will emerge breathless. An utterly zesty read, "Someone's Watching" is a terrific crime thriller that should win Potts more fans.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
SOMEONE'S WATCHING is a thrilling murder mystery that doesn't let up until the last page has been read. Sharon's unique writing style makes for a pleasurable way to spend the day. With an unrelenting plot and favorable characters, this book is sure to be a big success.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2011
Whew! What a wild ride this one was. Couldn't put it down!!! Non-stop action, and suspense from beginning to end. Robbie (Roberta) is a former CPA now bartender living in South Beach, Florida. Unbeknownst to her, she has a half-sister, Kate, from her father who left her and her mother when she was young. Her father shows up at her South Beach apartment saying Kate and her friend Joanne came down to Miami and are now missing. Robbie helps to try and find this half-sister she's never met searching the South Beach club scene and the Keys. "Someone's Watching" alright and it's not someone that Robbie expects. Sharon Potts is a writer that I will be keeping my eye on. Can't wait for her next book!
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on October 9, 2012
Someone's Watching is a fast paced murder mystery, and it is not like every other murder mystery. Sharon Potts knows how to take her readers on a whirl wind of a roller coaster ride. From page one she has readers hooked all the way to the very last page.

Robbie Ivy has liked living her simple life in South Beach. But one day, she learns things about her life that will change everything. Her father, whom she has not seen for years, comes knocking on her door. She finds our that she has had a half-sister for 18 years, and she never knew this. Her father informs her that her sister, Kate, and Kate's friend have been reported missing. Robbie is determined to find her and start a relationship with her.

As the investigation is under way, Kate's friend is found dead. This causes panic among Kate's family. Robbie and her friend Jeremy, are still on the hunt to find Kate. Along the way, they uncover more then they bargained for and get mixed up with the wrong people. Bodies turn up dead, secrets begin to unfold, and the pieces start to come together. Will Robbie be able to find her sister and have the family she has always wanted?

I won this book from Goodreads and am so glad I did. I could not put this book down. From page one I wanted to know what happened to Kate and her friend. From start to finish this book kept me interested. I loved Robbie's determination to find her sister. She just found out she had a sister but she still would do anything to find her. I loved the twists and suspense in the book. Ever time I thought I knew who was involved, something else came up that made me doubt it. It's not until the end where everything comes together. I love reading books like this, because once you finish, you can go back and put together all the pieces of the mystery. You can see how everything, even the little things, played a part. This was an amazing book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a suspense filled novel!
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