Closer Than You Know is the latest stand-alone from author Brad Parks. Last year's Say Nothing was the first time I'd read Parks and it was a book I couldn't put down. (my review) I was eager to read this latest - and I couldn't put it down either!
As he did in Say Nothing, Parks' premise preys upon a parent's worst fear - their child disappearing.
Melanie Barrick goes to pick up her infant son Alex from the childminder, only to be told that Social Services has taken the child. A large amount of cocaine has been found in Melanie's house. Police are on their way to find her - and Alex is gone. Melanie protests her innocence, but at every step of the way, the evidence against her grows - and her chances of ever seeing her son again lessen.
Great premise and Parks only builds the tension with every new plot development, ensuring that I stayed up much too late, reading 'just one more chapter.' Parks manipulates the reader with some red herrings, alternate paths and more than one 'whodunit' to choose from along the way to the final pages. There were a few plot points that I thought were perhaps a bit far-fetched, but I didn't think too hard about them - instead I just kept turning pages. And although my suspicions were proven out in the end, I really enjoyed the journey to the final reveal.
Closer Than You Know is told from more than one viewpoint. I was drawn to Melanie and her inner thoughts. I did find her a bit calm in situations that I would have been losing it. The background Parks has drawn for her addresses this. The next door neighbor Bobby Ray was also a character I quite liked. Amy, the Assistant DA was a character I initially had high hopes for, but as the story progressed, her tunnel vision frustrated me. But my hands down fave was Melanie's rumpled, unprepossessing lawyer Mr. Honeywell.
All in all, Closer Than You Know was a fast paced, entertaining read. Fans of Linwood Barclay and Harlan Coben will enjoy this one. (And this reader will be eagerly awaiting Parks' next book.) Read an excerpt of Closer Than You Know.
You can connect with Brad Parks on his website, like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.