Thursday, July 31, 2008
THE woman in the blue suit striding briskly into the Sofitel Hotel near O’Hare airport looked like any other 50-something businesswoman on her way to a meeting. And in a way she was, a marketing consultant and freelance writer visiting from her hometown several hundred miles away.
But the woman flew to Chicago last Friday on a strangely secret errand: a newspaper interview that she gave under an assumed name. Afterward, she checked into a hotel downtown under a different fake identity.
Then she returned to her home in the woods along the Mississippi River, where she has tried, with only partial success, to carve out a peaceful existence after more than a decade of being stalked by a former boyfriend.
The woman, writing under the name Kate Brennan, is about to publish a book, “In His Sights” (HarperCollins), one of the first full-length memoirs of a stalking victim. She describes a campaign of surveillance, break-ins, severed phone lines and creepy confrontations after her decision to leave “Paul,” a charming but distant adventurer with serious relationship issues.
The stalking, which continues sporadically today, is at once bizarre, terrifying and, owing to Paul’s deep pockets, maddeningly relentless and difficult to trace, according to the book. It led the author to move 16 times in 16 months, she writes. [Mark Godsey]