Closer Than You Think is the much anticipated story centring around the character of Deacon Novak, an FBI agent who has been hanging around the edges of Karen Rose’s last few Baltimore novels, however I have to admit to being disappointed.
Due to a genetic disorder, Deacon has distinctive white hair and bi-coloured eyes which set him apart from anyone else, add in the long leather coat and the wraparound sunglasses and you have a fascinating character. I was really looking forward to Deacon moving into the spotlight, thinking we would get something unique, but what we get is a rehash of the same tired old plot which is making me wonder if Rose has run out of ideas.
In this story, Deacon has left his job in Baltimore and moved back home to Cincinnati to be with his sister, Dani, and his younger brother, Greg, who have the same mutated gene as Deacon to differing degrees. All of the siblings have suffered more than their fair share of harassment over the years, however Greg is still a teenager and going through a rough time so Deacon is determined to give him a stable home life. However, it’s not long before Deacon is dragged into another multiple homicide case when he is called out to a crime scene involving psychologist Faith Corcoran.
Faith is in town after inheriting her grandmother’s old house which has lain empty for twenty-three years but her sudden appearance at the house sets off a chain reaction of events that has her believing the man who has been stalking her has found her again. Faith’s stalker has no compunction about killing anyone close to Faith and it has made her afraid to get close to anyone. Faith sees her inheritance as way of reinventing her life under a new name but when Faith narrowly avoids hitting a young woman who collapses on the road in front of her car, she realises her stalker may already be on her trail when the young woman calls her by her old name.
Things aren’t as straight forward as they seem as the young woman has been tortured and the trail leads directly back to Faith’s grandmother’s house. As forensics discover the bodies of several young women in the basement, the news triggers old memories for Faith, including an irrational fear of the basement, so Deacon begins to suspect the case is somehow tied to her childhood. However, things become more complicated when Deacon realises he is falling in love with Faith and his determination to protect her at all costs puts his objectivity at risk as various members of Faith’s family fall under suspicion.
Romance is pretty much a given in a Karen Rose novel, and you know the two main characters are going to get together at some point, usually about two-thirds of the way through, however this story takes place in such a relatively short span of time, we get a bad case of instalove which means we are cheated out of the slow build up. The couple were also portrayed as being a little too perfect for each other as Faith was incapable of seeing Deacon as anything but a superhero, and Deacon’s concerns over Faith’s safety is completely obsessive. The flowery language also had me rolling my eyes more than once and I got sick of Faith mooning about the size of a certain part of Deacon’s anatomy. The only character who seems to have any reservations about Faith is Deacon’s cousin, Adam, and he is all the more interesting for it.
The murder plot is highly convoluted as you would expect but Rose has done the whole multiple grave site thing so many times it’s no longer interesting and is beginning to seem like an excuse to involve Sophie Johannssen who has become an expert at finding buried bodies. Speaking of recurring characters, Daphne Montgomery manages to get in an appearance by forming an instant friendship with Faith over the phone. I’m really getting tired of Daphne.
Closer Than You Think also marks the beginning of a new series set in Cincinnati and I’m assuming we’ll be exploring the multitude of supporting characters that were introduced. It’s always been fun working out which characters are going to feature in the next book and which ones are going to pair off, however it was all a little heavy-handed this time and the scenes throwing these future couples together were rather extraneous.