Lee Matthew Goldberg
All Due Respect (2021)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (03/2022)
Pharmaceutical rep Lexi Mazur is distraught when her boyfriend Steve dumps her. Accusing him of cheating on her, he immediately expresses distaste about her current behaviors, including her increased consumption of a pharmaceutical drug she should be selling to doctors, not imbibing herself. The breakup throws Lexi into a pit of despair. Engaging in obsessive, stalking behavior, she begins madly watching episodes of a reality show and showing up where she knows the show will be filmed so that she can stalk one of the main characters. When Lexi is ridiculed by this character, she sets out to destroy her. All the while, Lexi increases her pill intake. She also realizes that she is being stalked. As time passes and Lexi’s obsession with the reality series drama grows, her stalker ups his game. But, she isn’t completely sure whether she is really being stalked or her pills are altering her perception of reality. Lexi is in grave danger, but she must figure out if her enemy is another person or appearing from within herself.
“Stalker Stalked,” is unique, intriguing psychological thriller. The main character is not particularly likeable, nor are the supporting characters. However, together they create an interesting tale in which the reader feels like they are being pulled down the rabbit hole into this bizarre world. The protagonist is a product of an abusive childhood. As a result, she never developed appropriate coping skills. Instead, she reacts to stress in aggressive, obsessive, and addictive ways and her elationships with men are built around manipulation, obsession, and dishonesty. She hates her mother, and uses and abuses the only female friend who has ever been willing to stick around in her life. The addiction to a psychotropic drug, with serious side effects adds to the drama. The readers will find themselves questioning what is supposed to be real, and what is a hallucination. Bringing in self-absorbed, malicious reality show characters adds more to the fun.
I really, really enjoyed reading “Stalker Stalked.” I found myself frequently caught off guard by the craziness that is interwoven into the drama. I enjoyed not being able to guess what was about to happen. I also liked watching the protagonist evolve as a human being. This is recommended reading for adults who like a gritty, psychological thriller.