Closer Than You Think is the first book in a new series by well-established crime/thriller writer Karen Rose. It will be published in the UK on November 6th so not long to go!
This is the synopsis:
Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day.
But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.
Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.
I have read a few of Karen Rose’s novels before and enjoyed the way she creates interesting characters and complex, exciting stories. Faith Cocoran and Special Agent Deacon Novak definitely hit it off together and you can tell from the point that they first meet that they are going to get together, despite Faith pretending to be annoyed with Novak. As a Special Agent Novak is pretty likeable as a character, though I imagine his extreme protectiveness of Faith would really get on my nerves if I were her- but then, she does seem to have a crazed killer after her so I guess it’s justified! He knows what he’s doing and that seems to only entice him to her.
I do feel like Faith is kind of put on a pedestal in this novel and made out to be the perfect, selfless woman who wants to help everyone and who Novak thinks is just amazing. Sometimes I wished she’d just say ‘you know what, I’m terrified and don’t really care about anyone else, just keep me safe!” because then she’d seem a bit more like a real person.
One thing to note for those that are easily confused in novels (which I admit can sometimes be me) is that there are a lot of supporting characters included; I feel like some of them could easily have been cut out and the story would still have been as good, as sometimes I had to pause and work out who a particular character was and where they’d been mentioned before.
The storyline is nicely fast paced, gritty, gripping from the very first few pages when the danger is quickly introduced. Karen Rose doesn’t seem to hang about when she starts a novel, she gets straight into the story and I think with this type of story that’s just what you want! The narrative included plenty of twists and turns that kept me guessing whilst still remaining within the realms of possibility. Things got crazy, but not so much that you didn’t believe it could ever happen! At 544 pages on Kindle (and over 700 in paperback apparently!) this is a long book, but it didn’t feel like I was getting bored or distracted as I read it; it kept me hooked throughout and I enjoyed reading almost every part of it…
Now, I’m no prude. Sex scenes in books don’t bother me at all; they’re usually a bit of fun and add to the story. They can be written well and in a way that doesn’t make me cringe or feel like I’ve accidentally picked up a badly written erotic novel. However, Deacon and Faith’s relationship is very romanticised and over-emotional, in my opinion. This applies to their dialogue with each other and, well, just the way they are together considering the novel only spans 9 days and they don’t meet until a day into the story!
It gets pretty damn cheesy in the parts where they’re ‘flirting’ and especially during the sex scenes – they really made me cringe to be honest! I do understand that this novel also seems to be a romance but if the romance/ sex parts need to be included then I feel it could have been done in a better way with less dramatics. Here are a few examples:
- “He exploded into action, yanking her panties down her legs, pushing his boxers out of the way, rolling her to her back. He straddled her again, but this time the view was much better… “But not now,” he said gruffly. “I need to be inside you now.”
- “Because, although she hadn’t twitched her ass once, Deacon would have to be a dead man not to notice that it was round and… very nice.”
- “Rounded breasts swelling above black lace. Creamy white skin. Soft, he thought. Her skin would be so soft. And he needed to look away. Now.”
- “Emotion barrelled through him with the force of an avalanche”
And on and on! The sexual tension is present from the moment Faith and Deacon meet but the sex scenes don’t take up too much of the novel really, there’s still plenty of detective work which is, in my opinion, the more exciting parts! Although I found reading these parts a bit cringey, if you just want the thriller element then to be honest you could just skim over these scenes without missing really important plot information. To me it’s not a deal breaker, it’s just something I could have done without but if you enjoy a bit of theatrical romance then this will probably tick that box for you nicely.
I really enjoyed the way various seemingly unrelated narratives all linked together at the end – I always love it when novels do this. I felt satisfied at the end of this book that all the important elements were explained properly and the loose ends were all tied up.
I would definitely recommend this novel to others as I really enjoyed reading it, and will give any future books in the series a go as well.
Please leave me a comment if you have read Closer Than You Think and let me know how you found it!
** Thank you to Headline who provided an advance copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review! **
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