|Date Published||12 February 2015|
Closer Than You Think
Faith Frye is driving over to the old house that she has recently inherited from her grandmother, when a young woman appears in the road. Faith swerves and crashes her car. She survives the accident but appears to have stumbled upon a horrendous mystery which leaves her in mortal danger.
Closer than You Think is written to much the same formula as previous books, although the horror starts right from the start this time with little reprieve throughout. Indeed, at times it is almost too hard and brutal to continue reading the book at all. However by the end it was impossible to put down. The author’s skill at developing and maintaining both suspense and interest is very impressive.
But at times the formulaic nature of the book can be irritating. The main police character, Special Agent Novak ,is the focus, and a great deal is learned about his family background. As in previous books, a relationship develops between this main police character and the main victim, in this case Faith. For a first time reader this could work well but sadly the story does become predictable for repeat readers of the author’s work.
There is a huge amount of very skilfully written dialogue throughout the book and it is through this medium that the background to the main characters emerges. Dialogue is also used extensively to think about the investigation, to try out theories and to get under the skin of the characters, their thoughts and feelings. Even a small lapse in concentration when reading the dialogue can lead to missing a vital piece of knowledge. For example, details about the complexity of Faith’s family could easily be missed – these bits of information are only given once.
The book is a stressful read – a really physical experience in that the tension and/or emotion never stops. If not between villains and victims, then it is between the ‘good’ characters: between Novak and Faith, or Novak and his brother, or Novak and his nephew. There is a tangible sense of threat on almost every page. Indeed, almost all of the relationships, not just with Novak, are full of stress – ready to snap at any time. But this is perhaps what makes for effective escapism, although a bit of variety and subtlety at times wouldn’t go amiss.
Reviewed 18 July 2015 by Sylvia Maughan