Now THIS is a crime novel! – Keep Her Close Review

Keep Her Close is unlike a lot of recent police procedurals I’ve read recently. Let me tell you why!

The first thing that struck me about Keep Her Close (other than the blurb of course) is that there’s a ‘permanent sticker’ as part of the cover that boasts ‘Rated five stars by real readers’. Usually this sends up red flags for me, as I have too often been a victim of The Dreaded Over-Hype! And I’m sure many of you all have too! However,Keep Her Close is a really exciting read with several great twists!

It just missed the 5 star for me personally, but it’s a solid 4.5!

Keep Her Close is the second book featuring DS Josie Masters and the Thames Valley Police in the city of Oxford. It continues on from Hold My Hand (the first book in the series), where Josie saved her nephew from a killer. She’s still troubled by the events of the first book throughoutKeep Her Close but she’s trying to return to normality.

Whilst these events were hinted at, I had no real idea about all of this during Keep Her Close. I think this is great because the hints are enough of a nod for those who have read Hold My Hand, yet they aren’t alienating for anyone (like me) who hasn’t!

The balance between continuing a story in a larger arc and having a self-contained novel has been struck brilliantly.

Ok, on to the book itself!

There is a lot going on in Keep Her Close – but not in a messy or overwhelm way! Instead it’s weaved in a way that had me hooked from the beginning!

“There was no karma there. No justice at all, cosmic, legal or otherwise.”

keep her close cover

I prefer my police procedurals to have the most focus on the bad guys, the criminals and the crimes they commit, rather than the police, their personal lives and working through the more mundane parts of the investigation (running prints, plate checking, etcetera.). Once again, Keep Her Close manages to balance both of these aspects of police procedurals pretty well!

Keep Her Close is told in the third person from Josie’s point of view, which means that the reader only finds out information on the case, killer and victims as Josie does. This lets the reader try to figure out the who’s, how’s and why’s along with the police.

This is one of my favourite ways to read police procedurals (although sometimes it’s nice to have the POV of the killer/ thrown in occasionally!) For me it makes the read a lot more exciting and enjoyable! Especially when my over-confident self accuses the wrong people time and time again!

However, Keep Her Close is a balanced book and contains a few of the tropes that have become synonymous with this particular sub-genre: a flawed detective, romance between colleagues, a detective with a less than idyllic personal life, difficult work relationships. Whilst I absolutely agree that a few dips into the background of the detectives gives more depth to their characters, this is the aspect of police procedurals that is less than myfavourite.

For me there was a bit too much of Josie and her personal life and relationships. It’s not really my thing and I wanted the focus back on the missing girls and the race to find them alive. I felt like the epilogue was unnecessary. But those are just my opinions. Others may love that aspect ofKeep Her Close – like I said, it certainly seems like a book that went out to please as many people as possible and balance plot points out, and I do consider it a very good read, 4.5 stars after all!

“Luckily this gave them time to get a formal statement from Selina March, who, in return for a deal exonerating her, crumbled like a biscuit plunged into a cup of tea.”

As much as I wasn’t the world’s biggest fan of the Josie-and-her-private-life storyline, Ido have to admit that she is a greatcharacter! She is flawed, which is always great and more importantly: she’s realistic!

keep her close held

genuinely believed her motivations and behaviours both within her personal life and her professional one. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve read a police procedural where the detectives make unrealistic, stupid and unprofessional decisions – it’s like they’ve had zero police training! But not with Josie! Not with Keep Her Close! It was so refreshing to see characters (Josie especially) behave as if they were real!

Keep Her Close is a fast-pace and thrilling read with plenty of action and heart-pounding scenes! There were also plenty of twists and turns – some of which were completely unpredictable! There;s no hint of the kidnapper or their motivations and the clues were peppered in throughout to help unwrap the mystery!

One of the best bits about Keep Her Closefor me? It’s a police procedural that actually has a body count! I can’t tell you how happy that made me! Too many novels in this genre have a happy ending where no one dies at all. I’m so glad tofinally have an author kill some characters!

Keep Her Close is a well written, fast paced police procedural with a gripping plot, excellent characters and a good mystery! This is my first time reading the author, but it won’t be the last!

“The endgame’s approaching. We’ve only got pawns. Our position is weak.”


Thanks to Avon for partnering with me and for providing and advanced copy for review.


Someone is playing a deadly game…

When a young girl goes missing from Jesus College Oxford, DS Josie Masters is plunged into a world of panic as fear grips the city. Along with Thames Valley Police’s newest recruit, the handsome DS Pryce, Josie must act fast – and when two more girls disappear from Oriel and Somerville colleges, she realises the killer is sending her a deadly message in a cruel game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?

In a desperate race against the clock, Josie hunts for the kidnapper, and soon discovers he could be a lot closer to home than she’d ever thought…

M.J. Ford is back with a gripping new thriller, perfect for fans of Cara Hunter and T.M. Logan

Keep Her Close blog tour poster


Want to see if you can get one step ahead? You can buy Keep Her Close here with FREE worldwide delivery!


[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.


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