Keep You Close

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

Steph is Head of Internal Investigations for the FBI in Washington.  She is also a single parent to 17 year old Zachary.  Due in part to her commitment to her job, her relationship with Zachary is strained.  When she finds a gun hidden in his bedroom and it is alleged he is a part of a terrorist group, she sets out to prove he is innocent.

Having never read anything by Karen Cleveland, but having heard good things about her previous book, Need to Know, I was looking forward to reading this book.  There is much to recommend about it.  It started off extremely well and I was instantly drawn in to the Steph/Zachary dynamic.  As a parent, it raised some interesting questions about how well we really know our children and to what lengths we would go to protect them and uncover the truth.  here are plenty of twists and turns as the plot unfolds and it certainly keeps you guessing.  It slowed a little for me in the middle as I struggled to keep track of some of the complexities and subplots, and the ending felt somewhat unsatisfactory to me. Overall it was an interesting read and if you are looking for an easy to read, fast-paced thriller I would recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bantam Press for an advance copy.
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Thanks to Netgalley And Bantam Press for a copy of “keep you Close “ for an honest review.
I’d forgotten until I started reading this that I’d read Karen Cleveland’s first novel” Need to know “ and struggled to finish it.
Unfortunately this just wasn’t for me , I prefer a psychological thriller  and I just couldn’t connect with this storyline.
I am giving this 3 stars as it might suit others , but not for me.!
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What I liked: Fast paced, a page-turner, a unique premise (it's usually the spouse or a parent who is a suspect, not the son)

What I struggled with: the moral of the story. ( ***** SPOILER ******* If the good guys don't win, what's the point? I mean, the actual point? What's the author trying to say to us?)

Recommendation: if you like thrillers, particularly suburban thrillers, give it a go.
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This book started off with a bang but very soon it became so far fetched that it was unbelievable. 
It may be better suited for fans of fantasy or Sci-fi
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Im not a big fan of FBI/ CIA books but I thought I would give it a try. I don't know if it was the fbi element but I found that I couldn't really connect with the books.
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As head of the FBI Internal Investigations, Steph Maddox has always worked hard which has impacted on her seventeen year old son, Zachary.  She feels he is pulling away from her and their relationship is strained - a point continually made by her mother.  One day when cleaning his room, she finds a gun hidden in his closet and when a colleague knocks on her door claiming Zachary is part of a suspected terrorist organisation, she sets out to prove he has been set up and is innocent. 
The story is slow paced and very repetitive with little action throughout and a little disappointing compared to her other books; however it does question just how far a parent would go to protect their child.
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You go into your son's bedroom. It's the usual mess. You tidy up some dirty plates, pick up some clothes, open the wardrobe to put them away.
And that's when you find it. Something so shocking it doesn't seem real.
And you realize a horrifying truth...
Your own son might be dangerous.

This book is a great read and it actually makes you think about family relationships.  It was very easy to read, but it was so enjoyable at the same time. 

It was fast paced and showed intelligence. 

It also makes you ask yourself the question, does love conquer all?
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Keep You Close is a gripping thriller, exploring how well we know our kids and what we do to protect them. A book that kept me engaged. Recommend to lovers of thrillers and spy books
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FBI Head of Internal Investigations Stephanie Maddox has a demanding career and is also the single parent of seventeen year old Zachary. Lately Steph feels like she and Zachary are growing apart - he seems distant and sullen but that's typical teenager behaviour surely?
One day whilst cleaning Zachary's room Steph discovers a gun concealed in a bag and is at a loss to imagine why her son would need have a gun. Before long though the situation becomes more serious when a fellow FBI Agent shows up at the door claiming that Zach is associated with a terrorist group suspected of planning imminent attacks.
Steph cannot believe these accusations against her son but nor can she explain his recent behaviour and the gun she discovered in his room.
Since reading this book I discovered that the author spent many years working as an analyst to the FBI and I have to say that her experience in the filed shines through in this book. Plenty of action, twists and topical drama all delivered in a very authentic narrative - 4 worthy stars and an a new go to author for me.
Thanks to Netgalley and Bantam Press for the ARC.
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After enjoying the author's first book Need To Know,, I found Close To You rather disappointing.  It started promising but went down hill after the first quarter and didn't get better. Repetitive and even slow in places, frankly, it was a chore to read and there really was no ending. I am prepared to suspend belief in fiction but some plot lines here were just too far fetched and characters' actions not believable at all.   Hopefully Karen Cleveland will be back on form with her next book.
Many thanks to Netgalley and Transworld publishers for the ARC.
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As a mother it's your instinct to protect your child no matter what but what if you discover something that makes you question do you really know your child at all.  That is the premise in Karen Cleveland's second novel Keep You Close after Stephanie, a single mother who is an FBI agent working in the Internal Affairs department, discovers something in her teenage son's room that he shouldn't have.  No sooner has she made the discovery, and confronted Zach who denies any knowledge, then she receives an unexpected visit from a former colleague advising her that Zach is being investigated by the bureau for something that is not your typical teenage activity!

Steph was your stereotypical tiger mum who kicks into protective mode and wants to do whatever she can to prove to the authorities that they are wrong and that her son isn't involved with any criminal activity.  She knows that she shouldn't get involved, and that if she wasn't an agent she wouldn't have even known about the investigation or have access to the case files, but she can't help herself by looking into things as well.  It was clear that Steph had to be wary as to who she could trust as there definitely was an ulterior motive in play behind the accusations and the investigations.  Were they using her son to get to her?  And if so, why?    

From the outset we only know a little of Steph's past, we know that it has just been her and Zach on their own for a while, but little else is know about her life.  It's only through recollections interspersed between the narrative that snippets of her past are revealed which then makes you question as to whether the past has anything to do with what is happening in the present day.    

To me Steph seemed a little too blinkered, too convinced of Zach's innocence, as there's no smoke without fire as the saying goes.  She knows her relationship with Zach isn't perfect, and has been a bit strained recently, but he is a teenager after all and it's all just growing pains and him wanting to take his future into his own hands. Steph is obviously an intelligent woman who has studied and worked hard to get where she is in her professional life but yet all logical thought seems to have abandoned her when it comes to her son. I know you want to believe the best of your child but when the evidence is right there in front of your eyes you have to delve that little bit deeper to establish what is the truth. 

I will admit that initially this book didn't grip me quite as much as I was expecting so I was merely turning the pages to discover the outcome but the further the storyline progressed, the more I was intrigued.  Personally for me I felt there were a few too many red herrings thrown in, I'm all for throwing in a few twists to keep the reader guessing but it all got a little too distracting at times when trying to follow everything that was happening. 

If I had known in advance that Keep You Close had a political/spy thriller element to it then I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it but sometimes it's good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and read something you wouldn't normally read.  Overall I found it to be an interesting read that had a lot more going on than at first meets the eye so I'm glad that I did add it to my reading list this Summer but I don't think it'll be going on any top 10 list... not that I do one anyway!
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This was a good book but I started reading without knowing that it's so political and that kind of made me like it a whole lot less.
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Steph has always wanted to work in the FBI and has slowly been promoted up the ranks, due to her diligence and hard work.  After an assault when she was young, she decided to concentrate on her career and bringing up her son Zachary.

Her work requires her to investigate corrupt officers and bring them to justice, which has made her some enemies along the way.  Now that Zach is a teenager, applying to colleges, they see little of each other and talk even less.

She begins to find out that he is not being honest about what he gets up to and decides to have a look in his bedroom.  What she finds there, changes everything.

Set in Washington, USA, agents often work alongside members of the Senate, paths crossing regularly.  Her hatred on people in power, including some in the bureau, seems to make her even more determined.  When she feels that her son and mother are in danger, she begins to realise how far these people will go.  She is out for justice.

This is a great plot and won't leave you disappointed/

I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are all my own and completely unbiased.  My thanks to NetGalley for this opportunity.
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I recently read Karen's debut novel Need to Know after I saw Lee Child say that it was one of his favourite books of 2018 - see my full review here, so when I was asked if I would like to read her new book obviously I jumped at the chance.

Keep You Close is another thrilling, edge of your seat, nail biting, fast paced story which centres around single mum Stephanie Maddox and her teenage son Zachary.  Steph is a committed, driven and ambitious FBI Agent determined at any cost to "get the bad guys" and Zach is a "normal stroppy teenager".

When a colleague knocks on her door late one evening and tells her Zach has been linked to a terrorist organisation and then discovers a gun hidden in his wardrobe she can't believe Zach is involved and becomes intent of uncovering the truth at any cost.  After all, she's his mother - she knows her son, doesn't she?  Despite their relationship being strained and conversations being mono-syllabic Steph knows her baby boy wouldn't do anything dangerous.  Or would he?

Once again the story makes the reader question how far you would go to protect your family and what lengths you would go to uncover the truth.  An easy read which keep me guessing and turning the pages.

Recommended for fans of espionage thrillers.

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to join the blog tour and the publishers and Netgalley for my copy of the book.
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Keep You Close is a fascinating, gripping thriller which explores the difficult questions of how well we know our kids and what we’d do to protect them. As a parent I found this a very intriguing thought which led to a few interesting discussions with friends.

Steph is a very interesting main character who as a high ranking FBI officer is obviously a very intelligent lady. She discovers something dangerous in her son’s room which puts her in a difficult situation as she knows she should hand him in to police but wants to protect him. This constant push pull between the two sides of her life made for a very intriguing, gripping read and I enjoyed following the story to find out what she would do.

I thought this was a perfect mix of police and domestic thriller which rattles along at a great pace. The storyline is very thrilling and enthralling with lots of twists that I didn’t see coming. If you like thrillers that make you think you’ll love this book!

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Transworld publishers for my copy of this book.
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Keep You Close is a political thriller with a mix of family drama…

Steph is an FBI Agent in Internal Affairs, she’s a single mum to Zach, her 17 year old son…She’s feeling more and more distanced from Zach as he’s moody and sullen, but this is just the teenage years……isn’t it?

One evening while he’s in the shower, Steph goes into his bedroom, just to pick up after him and finds a gun…..in shock, she plans to confront him about it, but there’s a knock on the door…..

Her ex and fellow agent tells her Zach is mixed up with an anarchist group, who are planning attacks……she doesn’t believe it, but that gun is still bothering her. Steph is determined and will use all her expertise to find out what is going on and to exonerate her son…….is he innocent ? Where will her loyalties lie….her son or her country?

This feels very topical, with the mention of Russia interfering with ‘elections’ and domestic terrorism…

A twisty, action packed espionage/conspiracy theory and political thriller with a classic feel…..cleverly plotted and totally gripping….

Thank you to The publishers, the author and NetGalley for a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review
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Headline : Is there anywhere safe or anyone to be trusted?

Karen Cleveland’s second book makes me wonder how true the situation heroine Steph, a clearly brave FBI agent, finds herself in. Cleveland herself “spent eight years as a CIA analyst, focusing on counterterrorism and working briefly on rotation to the FBI”. That suggests she would not wholly depart from reality in any fictional depiction of the subject.
It’s hard not to be a little depressed with the situation Steph finds herself in and what transpires is too easily rationalised as a logical extension of what we know of Russian meddling in US elections.
The book is gripping and the struggle with an adversary even more fully versed in FBI techniques is chilling. How does someone expose wrongdoing in the face of such huge odds?
Very much worth a read but don’t expect an easy answer.
This book was provided as an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review.
Note : 
I reviewed this book on Amazon when the book was released on 27 June 2019
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I'm so excited to have discovered Karen Cleveland as an author and cannot wait to go back and read her first novel now.  If you are looking for a punchy investigative thriller that poses some really difficult questions of us all - especially parents then this is a book you have to read. 

Ms Cleveland writes in an extraordinary manner - getting straight to the point without loosing any narrative.  Combined with pacy storytelling, this novel makes for a page turner that is impossible to put down. 

The story line itself is engaging and thrilling but the added extra of a plot that plays on mother's guilt is such a clever and unique device that makes you wonder;  How well do we know our children?  Just what are our children really capable of? and How far are we willing to go to protect them before we cross the line?  Cleveland does a stellar job of really exploring these questions.

As a main protagonist Steph is complex and fascinating.  She has her own backstory which is revealed through short chapters dispersed in-between the main narrative.  She is now a high ranking FBI officer with a teenage son that she is slowly loosing her connection to.  Despite being dedicated to her job, she is faced with a difficult choice when it becomes apparent that her son could be involved in something more sinister and she doesn't really know him at all anymore.  Struggling to balance her professional and her motherly feelings becomes difficult and makes for very emotive reading.

A fantastic thriller that plays to the parent in us all.
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This book was the perfect thrill-a-minute. Having read another book by author Karen Cleveland, I was quite eager to get into this one. And the thriller did not disappoint.

Steph, an FBI agent, found something dangerous in her son's wardrobe and that started the cycle of her investigation moving back and forth between her past suspects and present. This was an action packed story which did not allow me to breathe deeply or take a minute's rest from the beginning to the end.

Steph as the main character was the lone ranger, and her intelligence was faster than most till she found herself surrounded by a group with higher-ups who wouldn't allow her to escape till they owned her completely. The entire story moved on Steph wanting to help her son and keep him close to her.

Karen's writing moves liked the pieces of chess, each was well detailed and ruthless. The villains knew how to ensnare their prey which made this an exciting read. I didn't like the main character, she snapped at her family and pushed them even when she needed them, didn't feel she was a good mother, but a brilliant agent.

Fast pace and the moves if the villain made this a fantastic read for me. Will Steph ever be able to protect her son and keep him close?
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I really want to give this book 5 stars. I really, really do. But I can’t. I loved the fast pace, the conspiracy, the characters, everything. I disliked the right people, sympathized with the horrors Katie faced with her son, the senator, the people around her. I couldn’t stop reading and the story kept me engaged from start ‘til ending. But....,there is a but, the ending. I don’t know if there is a second book in the planing, but I have so many questions left. Still, I DO recommend this book to everyone who likes a good story.
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