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  • Writer's pictureWendy Wanner

Book Review: Closer Than You Think by Lee Maguire


A well-thought-out and carefully crafted story of pursuit.

Bryce, an every-day, relatable guy, finds his life spiraling out of control. While forced to accept that his wife doesn’t want reconciliation and plagued with sleepless nights haunted by childhood events, he tries to create order from the chaos in the psych ward where he works as a psychologist. He acts with calm and foresight when it comes to his patients, but in his own life, well, he’s a mess.

But there are forces beyond Bryce’s control at work here. He has a stalker. A jilted lover? A wronged individual from the past? A figment of his imagination?

As everyone he knows, including his boss, coworkers and estranged wife, begin to question Bryce’s intentions and integrity, he works to uncover the mystery of who is out to get him, and why. Without spoiling the ending, the plot was well thought out and the clues dropped like subtle breadcrumbs within the pages.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the realism. Written almost humoristically, it portrayed a series of events that could happen to anyone, and thus the style made it believable and relatable. However, this casual, conversational tone of voice also lessened the impact of what could have been a psychological thriller/suspense but fell short. I thoroughly enjoyed chumming along with Bryce throughout his days and found the characters witty and interesting, but the atmosphere of dread and suspicion was not developed as fully or credibly as I would have liked.

I also read the first few pages before understanding that Bryce was a man, not a woman, and off and on throughout the story had to remind myself as his over-reactions and crying episodes seemed weak. That’s not to say that women protagonists are weak and men characters strong, far from it as any avid reader knows, I only point out that in this instance the reactions didn’t match the image I had for Bryce as a competent, thirty-something psychologist. But maybe that was Maguire’s point — we all have fears and past traumas that bring us to our knees when events misalign…or a stalker orchestrates our destruction.

Overall, I enjoyed Closer Than You Think and gave it four stars. I read the whole book in only two days, even with a busy workload, and enjoyed every minute of it. As the book’s title references “A Broken Minds Thriller” I assume this is the first novel in the series. If so, I look forward to the next book and seeing Bryce in action once again.

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