Book Reviews

Closer Than You Think by Lee Maguire – A Review

As far as I’m aware, I don’t think I’ve ever read a published debut novel. I mean, being an editor and all, I’ve come across my fair share of first novels, but a published debut just isn’t something I come across very often. I usually stick by the well-known authors, the well-known type with a history of popular reads, so this was a little bit out of my comfort zone. However, the promise of an exciting crime drama with a psychological crime thriller undertone swayed me, and I’m glad it did.

Closer Than You Think is the first novel in a developing crime series featuring Doctor Bryce Davidson, a psychologist at a ‘Children’s Agency’. When a strange set of threatening messages arise, it’s up to Davidson to use his wits, intuition and psychological expertise to find the culprit. But with relationship drama getting heavier, work getting tougher and threats getting more and more terrifying by the day, can he catch them in the act before it’s too late?

So, what’s the verdict? Well, as far as debut novels go, Lee Maguire’s Closer Than You Think was surprisingly good. With drama on every page, a frightening stalker and a search for answers, I just couldn’t put the damn book down! For a first-time author, Maguire does a brilliant job at keeping descriptions short and drama central, making it a breeze to read – the perfect ‘air-port read’, so to speak.

That isn’t to say this book doesn’t have it’s flaws, of course. With quite a few noticeable spelling errors, clunky dialogue that seemed a little too formal for normal human conversation and a main character who’s just that little bit too perfect, there’s a lot for Maguire to improve on. The first few chapters were chocked full of strange exposition and description that really could’ve been cut out. But the more I read, the more I found the writing flowed. If it found it’s rhythm earlier on, it could’ve been an excellent read, but from an author with no public writing-style developed and a little experience in the published world of books, I have to give Maguire the benefit of the doubt here. It takes a lot to be a good writer and, as many people say, a first novel is never going to be a great novel. Luckily for Maguire, his ability to keep intrigue saved the day.

Sure, there are going to be people who tear apart this book, but for a debut author and a small publishing team, I have to say, it’s a good start. It did keep me on edge, which is everything in a crime-thriller, and (although it dragged on a bit at the start) its brief, punchy style of writing kept me glued to each page. With a few more improvements, some guidance and a tad more experience, Maguire really could have what it takes to pull off a successful crime series. 

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