Updated on October 20, 2016
51. ‘Keep You Close’ by Lucie Whitehouse
Keep You Close opens with a woman climbing onto a roof. Someone is there, waiting for her, paper in hand, and when they see her look over the dizzying edge they tell her to jump.
This book has a really strong opening, which is returned to at the end in a pretty unexpected way. In Keep You Close Lucie Whitehouse has created a tense thriller with some of the shock factor of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl.
Disclaimer: This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Rowan Winter used to be best friends with the famous young painter Marianne Glass. But when Marianne is found dead in her front garden, having apparently slipped off the roof, Rowan becomes suspicious – although she hasn’t spoken to Marianne in years, she knows her vertigo would have stopped her from getting too close to the edge. There has to be another explanation, and maybe it isn’t as innocent as a tragic accident.
I really enjoyed the pacing of this book. Whitehouse sets up a dark past for her characters – and Marianne and Rowan’s ruined friendship – with oblique references to ‘it’ and ‘what happened’, which made me want to keep reading. All the characters are nicely flawed so you’re never entirely sure what their motivations are, and all the seemingly unconnected loose threads lead towards the satisfying conclusion of the ending. I think Whitehouse does a great job of building tension and throwing in plenty of twists and turns, so I could never really guess where the story was going. Usually crime thrillers (or anything that involves characters piecing together clues that I’m meant to keep track of) don’t really float my boat, but Keep You Close held my attention and came up with some unexpected moments that genuinely shocked me.
Following Marianne’s death, Rowan is brought back into the family fold to take care of the house while Marianne’s mother and brother make arrangements for the funeral. I thought Whitehouse did a particularly great job of painting the house in a sinister light; it felt properly creepy, like nasty things had already happened there and would happen again. As for the ‘big twist’ involving the main character and narrator, Rowan, I didn’t see it coming, but it didn’t feel entirely natural to me. However, as I said before, that could be because crime thrillers aren’t really my genre, and I may have missed out on some clues that would have given it that belly punch of realism.
Overall, I think Keep You Close is an exciting, fast-paced thriller that starts out with a tangle of questions and manages to answer them all in a wholly satisfying way.
“How had she let herself get so very vulnerable?”
Have you read this book or are you planning to? I’d love to know your thoughts!
Want to read this? You can buy the book here.