Disclaimer: I received an eBook copy of the book from the publication for review purpose.
Somebody in Bryce Davison’s life wants him dead. Somebody who knows his life inside and out. His fears. His regrets. His greatest longings and deepest despairs.
Bryce Davison dedicated his life to helping his psychiatric patients. But with a crazed killer closing in, how can Bryce save his patients if he can’t even save himself?
Debut novels can be a tricky thing to read and review. It helps if the research behind a book is good, but even then, the number of variables is high enough to lay waste to the plans.
Lee Maguire’s first book, Closer Than You Think, is meant as the first book in the Broken Minds Thrillers series. Part-stalker thriller, part-psychological thriller, Dr. Bryce Davison’s story ebbs and flows in good measure.
The first thing that I noticed as I started the book was the language. Debut or not, the opening few pages of any book can make a huge impression on a reader. And I have to say I was quite impressed. The prose was concise, evocative and no-nonsense. The first person narrative really helps get the reader inside the mind of the protagonist, Dr. Davison, or Dr. D as he’s affectionately called by his colleagues in the book. The depression that he suffers from, and the physical manifestations of that, are described with such vividity that the reader can feel it happening to himself.
Another good thing is the slow ratcheting up of the tension. The danger gets increasingly higher for Dr. Davison, which of course, is reflected in the title of the book too.
The author, as the book’s “About The Author” section informs us, is a practicing mental health professional himself, and brings his expertise and knowledge of the profession as well as the day-to-day challenges facing people in his field superbly on the page.
Besides, there is a healthy cast of supporting characters who all, from time to time, with little words here and there, are doubtful, as the main antagonist. That keeps the suspense on for a large part of the book.
The book plays on some of the usual thriller motifs like a beleaguered protagonist, a dysfunctional family, lone man fighting etc, but they don’t feel jaded because of the way the protagonist has been created. His life, his experiences, his fears, they all combine to create a well-rounded character whom we can love and identify with.
The trouble with this character is, he’s the goody two-shoes of a classic fantasy story, with almost no vices, no negative points, and a persona and track record that everyone, and I mean every single person, likes. It’d have been more satisfying if he had some shades of grey too, if not black. The episodes where he and his estranged wife bicker, either in person or on call, actually make him that much more believable.
Another issue with the book is the way some of the occurrences of mental health problems start feeling repetitive after a while, which makes it feel like the plot is stuck in a swamp. It isn’t, because some of those same occurrences actually help drive the plot forward, with the interactions between Dr. Davison and some of his patients. But I wished the author had trimmed out some of that in the latter half of the book, specially Dr. Davison’s personal demons.
The prose, as I mentioned above, is good. And the twist, as it has to be there in a thriller, is well done too. A more-discerning reader than me might have done better, but I found the final twist to be pretty well-done, although, in hindsight, maybe I should have looked better at the plot.
Final word? If you are a fan of psychological thrillers, or stalker thrillers, and you want a good book, this is a recommended read.
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Stalker Thriller
Where To Buy & Connect With?:
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Thanks for reading.