Closer Than You Think

Written by Karen Rose

Review written by Victoria Goodbody

Closer Than You Think
RRP: £16.99
Released: November 6, 2014

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 taste.


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