Karen Rose is a very
successful American crime writer, specialising in suspense novels. Closer Than
You Think is a new series in which we are introduced to psychologist Faith
Corcoran and FBI agent Deacon Novak.
Both of the central characters inevitably have a lot of
personal problems, which is how they have both returned to Mount Carmel, Ohio.
Faith is there as she has recently inherited her grandmother’s long abandoned
house, which she quickly discovers has been made a base for the local serial
killer. Who unsurprisingly, is annoyed that she wants to move into her house
and spoil his fun. The serial killer has been kidnapping, torturing and
eventually killing his victims, all of whom are buried under the floorboards of
the basement. Deacon has returned home to tame his younger brother Greg who
keeps getting into trouble at school, and their aunt who has been bringing him
up is unable to control him.
We are immediately introduced to the serial killer’s latest
victims, Arianna and Corinne, along with his servant Roza. Interspersed with
the usual scenes of them attempting to outwit their abductor, are the usual
scenes told from the killers point of view, where he mostly expresses
frustration at either being outwitted by Faith, or his victims.
For the first half of the novel, we are led to believe that
he is Peter Combs, a sex offender who Faith was responsible for sending back to
prison, and who subsequently stalked her after his release. This part of the
novel was the most plausible half of the novel, the second half where we
discover that he is not Combs, being the least convincing.
I was frustrated in the depiction of the killer, as by the
end of the novel I still did not know his motivation, or have a sense of who he
was. Alongside this we have Faith and
Deacon’s search for the killer and his victims, and the inevitable skeletons in
Faith’s past, namely her uncles Jeremy and Jordan, whose crimes have been
covered up within the family.
This novel lies very firmly within the serial killer
sub-genre, and is one that I am not overly keen on. This is because the vast
majority of serial killer novels including this one are formulaic and not
overly interesting. I was relieved that there were not graphic scenes of
torture and killing, which a lot of these novels contain, and also that the
victims were able to outwit their captor, which made a pleasant change.
I found the novel excessively long, being over 700 pages
long, which explains why the plot lost momentum. I found my attention wandering
at several points in the novel, and was relieved to have made it to the end. It
was an enjoyable, undemanding read, with good central characters. However the
rest of the characters were not overly memorable, remaining shadowy and
consequently difficult to remember. On the whole the plot was good, however it
lost momentum in several places, and there were too many coincidences for my