Saturday, January 2, 2016

Book Review: "Keep You Close" by Lucie Whitehouse

Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review. Many thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for making it available!

Lucie Whitehouse knows how to write a thriller. I really enjoyed her last book, Before We Met, and her newest book, Keep You Close, scheduled to be released in May, ratcheted up the excitement and surprises even more.

Rowan Winter gets a surprising call one day and learns that Marianne Glass, once her closest friend, has died in a tragic accident. It has been 10 years since Rowan and Marianne have spoken despite Rowan's attempts to reconnect, but the pain of Marianne's loss is very real for her. They were once inseparable, and for a young girl with an absent father and a dead mother, Marianne's family and her friendship meant everything to Rowan. But Marianne became a successful artist, and all that Rowan knew of her life was what she read in the newspapers.

"But you were similar, too — I could see why you were so close. Marianne had her talent and you had your brain and you were both...driven. You sparked off each other."

Even after all of these years apart, Rowan cannot believe that Marianne fell from the roof of her home, because she remembers the paralyzing vertigo she suffered from. She can't believe that Marianne would have tried to take her own life, even if she was apparently suffering from depression again. And the day after her death, when Rowan receives a card from Marianne saying, "I need to talk to you," she knows it's a sign that someone else is responsible for Marianne's fall.

Returning to the town where Marianne lived and they once spent all of their time, Rowan is determined to look into the events of her death. It's not long before she finds herself caught up in the memories of their youth—the good times and the slights, the friends Rowan lost when her friendship with Marianne ended, and times when Marianne's perfect family didn't quite seem so perfect. And she also starts to rekindle a romance that never quite got off the ground all those years ago.

But the more Rowan learns and the more she suspects, the more her paranoia grows. Is there anyone she can really trust? Are Marianne's so-called friends really who they say they are? Does Rowan have anything to fear if she uncovers the truth?

I've commented before that it's hard for me to read mysteries because I often find myself figuring things out before the characters do, or suspecting everyone and everything. While I certainly had my theories while reading Keep You Close, and worried Whitehouse might take the easy way out, she definitely kept the surprises coming and had me guessing. It's a familiar-enough story, but she kept it fresh, and many of the supporting characters were equally fascinating.

If you like this genre of books, definitely introduce yourself to Lucie Whitehouse. I can definitely see this becoming the "beach read" of summer 2016—I definitely hope so, because she deserves some recognition!

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