Book Review: Keep You Close – Lucie Whitehouse ****

I’ve had Lucie Whitehouse on my list of authors that interested me for quite a while now but never actually got around to picking up one of her books. I now realise that I was missing out because she is a master craftswoman when it comes to constructing the perfect thriller.

Rowan Winter hasn’t spoken to her best friend Marianne Glass for ten years. When she gets a phone call from Marianne’s mother Jacqueline notifying her of her death it knocks her for six. Even more so when that day’s mail delivery includes a hand written card from Marianne. Posted before her death it simply says “I need to talk to you”. When she discovers that Marianne fell from the roof of her house she realises that this wasn’t a simple accident or a suicide. Her friend had terrible vertigo and would never willingly have gone up there. As Rowan temporarily moves back to Oxford to make some investigations of her own the past starts to unravel and the secrets of ten years before come back to haunt them all.

The style of this book won’t suit everyone. It is quite slow paced at times as Whitehouse puts meat on the bones of her characters. While reading through much of this can seem superfluous but it is only as you reach the final few chapters that you realise what has been unravelling all along.

It is a superb study of the psychosis in friendship that results in events being misconstrued or confused by one of the parties involved. Thoroughly believable and with a fantastic twist – that I won’t spoil here – Keep You Close ticks all the boxes. Set largely in Oxford with an emphasis on the creative arts – Marianne is an artist and her boyfriend is a gallerist – it is pretty much the perfect background to a story for me.

Supplied by Net Galley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication Date: 11 Aug 2016. 368 pages

Keep You Close

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