It’s no surprise that Keep You Close, the new book from former FBI agent-turned-author Karen Cleveland, has been so highly anticipated. Need to Know, her debut novel, was a runaway success, going to auction, critically received on publication and optioned for the big screen.

The central premise of this new novel is how far would you go to protect someone you love. Protagonist Stephanie Maddox is a hardboiled FBI agent who sees everything in black and white, with little grey in-between. Her moral stance is challenged when Zach, her seventeen-year-old son, is accused of being a member of an extremist group by one of her colleagues and of allegedly planning domestic terrorism.

Maddox has to decide what’s truth and what’s fiction and if the boy she loves, who’s now all but a stranger, is merely being a teenager or is really capable of such crime. How best can Maddox protect her son while also being loyal to her country?

Cleveland writes a fast-paced, action-packed book full of moral dilemmas, with lots of hooks and threads, and, certainly, from the first page, we’re immersed in the story line.

It’s a good read with an engaging plot. The perfect poolside book.


Keep You Close | Karen Cleveland | Bantam Press | June 2019 | hardback | £12.99 

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Acknowledgements: This review is published as part of the publisher virtual book tour. Many thanks to Anne Cater and to the publisher for sending a book proof and jacket image. Please check out the other participants on the tour. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.


Also of interest:Changing the narrative, The Red Word’; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Permission by Saskia Vogel‘; ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘Helga Flatland’s study of A Modern Family’;  ‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone’; ‘Call Me Star Girl’; ‘Blood Orange’; ‘Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Dialogue’s brilliant debut; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;RW Kwon’s The Incendiaries’; ‘Beauty in translation – Roxanne Bouchard’s French Canadian noir‘; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.