Seeking to escape from her patient turned stalker, psychologist Faith Corcoran changes her identity and relocates to Cincinnati to begin a new life in her grandmother’s home. Her desire to have a quiet life off the radar quickly goes sideways when Faith comes across one of two kidnapping victims on the lonely road to her new home. Now, she’s drawn into the investigation and its lead investigator, Deacon. Will they be able to figure out how Faith’s stalker might be tied to this new kidnapper before time runs out on the other kidnapping victim?
Billed as “romantic suspense,” Karen Rose’s Closer Than You Think is chock full of both. Faith and Deacon’s instant chemistry screams off the page, despite multiple warnings from Deacon’s co-workers that he shouldn’t get involved with a victim in a case he’s investigating. The suspense factor comes from the investigation into where the other girl is and what the potential connection is to Faith’s family and her past.
Weighing in at close to 700 pages, Closer Than You Think is a novel vastly in need of an editor. If Breaking Bad was about filling in the gaps that many movies skip when showing a good man’s descent into darkness, Closer Than You Think is a story that seems to not want to skip over any moment of the investigation. And while that dedication to detail is interesting at first, it quickly becomes tedious as one red herring after another crop up. In many ways, it’s almost a relief to get to the romantic scenes because they make a break from the page upon page, detail upon detail telling of every single nuance, detail and clue the investigation uncovers.
But there are moments in the novel where things are humming and set-ups are paying off where you can see just why Rose has written so many books and has such a passionate fan base. This is the first of her novels I’ve read and while it’s listed as the sixteenth in a series (it’s the first in a sub-series, which is why I thought it might be a good jumping-in point), it’s still enough of a standalone novel that a new reader can jump in and not feel left behind. I certainly never found myself getting terribly confused or frustrated because I didn’t get a reference to an earlier novel.
Closer Than You Think certainly made me curious to read more of Rose’s novels, though I think I may take a dive into a back catalog entry, where the page count is lower and hopefully the story a bit more tightly written, as my next selection.