Keep You Close

Keep You Close

by Karen Cleveland


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A woman must confront her sense of right and wrong when the one person she loves most is accused of an unimaginable crime. From the New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know. . . . 

A strange sensation runs through me, a feeling that I don’t know this person in front of me, even though he matters more to me than anyone ever has.
Stephanie Maddox works her dream job policing power and exposing corruption within the FBI. Getting here has taken her nearly two decades of hard work, laser focus, and personal sacrifices—the most important, she fears, being a close relationship with her teenage son, Zachary. A single parent, Steph’s missed a lot of school events, birthdays, and vacations with her boy—but the truth is, she would move heaven and earth for him, including protecting him from an explosive secret in her past. It just never occurred to her that Zachary would keep secrets of his own.

One day while straightening her son’s room, Steph is shaken to discover a gun hidden in his closet. A loaded gun. Then comes a knock at her front door—a colleague on the domestic terrorism squad, who utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary.”

So begins a compulsively readable thriller of deception and betrayal, as Stephanie fights to clear her son’s name, only to expose a shadowy conspiracy that threatens to destroy them both—and bring a country to its knees. Packed with shocking twists and intense family drama, Keep You Close is an electrifying exploration of the shattering consequences of the love that binds—and sometimes blinds—a mother and her child.

Advance praise for Keep You Close

“Propulsive . . . an adrenaline-fueled narrative that will leave readers wanting more . . . Equal parts conspiracy thriller and paranoia tale, Cleveland’s latest exploits the distance between parents and teenagers while exploring the lines a patriot will cross to protect kin.”Publishers Weekly

“Cleveland excels at twisting her plots so tightly that the ‘big reveal’ in the end truly is a surprise.”Kirkus Reviews

“Fast-paced . . . for fans of high-stakes political thrillers.”Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781524797058
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/28/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 67,865
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Karen Cleveland is a former CIA analyst and the New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin and Harvard University. Cleveland lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young sons.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Nighttime’s always been my favorite time to run. I like the stillness. The quiet streets, empty sidewalks. It’s not the safest time to be out, sure. But in running gear, it’s not like I have much to steal. And as far as assault: I’m tougher than I look. Trained in defense tactics, able to hold my own. It’s the nonrandom crime that worries me more. But if someone’s coming after me, they’ll find a way to do it, regardless.

The Reflecting Pool’s off to my left, dark and glassy. Mile six of a planned ten, all under seven and a half minutes so far. A solid pace tonight, better than usual. It’s the looming storm that’s spurring me on. We’ve had a week of early spring, unseasonably warm temperatures, the kind that coax buds from bare tree branches, tulip stalks from the soil. But the weather—­it can turn on a dime here in the District, and the forecast says we’re due for one last blast of winter. Wind’s already picking up.

I pass the World War II Memorial, start up the incline to the Washington Monument. I’m in my element here. Muscles working, stretching, strengthening. Pushing myself. I’m in a light jacket, running pants that hit mid-­calf. My head’s bare, hair pulled back, tied up away from my neck. Eighties rock in my earbuds, but quietly. Soft enough that I’d hear someone approach, that I’m fully aware of my surroundings.

At the top, I catch a glimpse of the White House. Off to my left, glowing bright. Still gives me a thrill to see it, even after years in the city. A constant reminder that I’m close to the highest reaches of power. And where there’s power, there’s a need for what I do.

Past the monument now, heading down the incline, picking up speed. The Capitol dome is ahead, illuminated against the night sky.

A memory fills my mind, just for an instant. Me, in that wood-­paneled office, all those years ago. Him, standing up from behind his desk, coming toward me . . .

Focus, Steph.

It’s that damned case at work that’s doing it, making me think of the past. I force my legs to work harder, push harder, move faster. Listen to the slap of my feet hitting the pavement, the staccato rhythm.

The National Mall stretches out in front of me. A straightaway, a chance to test my speed.

My legs are straining. There’s pain in my knee, but I push through. Not giving up now.

The dome looms large ahead. I see his face in my mind, once again. I can feel his hand on my arm, squeezing tight. . . .

Faster still, almost a sprint.

I can’t change the past, can’t do anything about him, not without jeopardizing everything that matters. But I can do something about the future. I can stop someone else.

I glance down at my wrist. Five-­and-­a-­half-­minute mile. I can feel the smile come to my lips.

I’ve got this. Tomorrow power gets policed.

Customer Reviews

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Keep You Close 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Kept my attention. Loved the CIA disassociation reference at the beginning of the book. The last 2 pages were confusing, I had to read it several times to piece it together. Shold you buy this book? Dah! (yes in Russian.)
Kristy_K 6 months ago
2.5 Stars This book had a lot of potential but a few things kept me from loving it. FBI agent Steph’s son seems to be at the center of a domestic terrorist threat, but she believes he is being set up. I was kept guessing as to who was behind it, which I liked. I didn’t like Steph as a mother. She constantly left Zach alone and unprotected. I also felt that too much was going on and too many subplots were being explored. Also, what is it with characters having inner psychologists (or goddesses) speak in their heads like a separate entity? Does anyone actually do that in real life? I received an advanced copy through Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Trevene 6 months ago
As head of the FBI Internal Investigations, Steph Maddox has always worked hard which has impacted on her seventeen year old son, Zachary. She feels he is pulling away from her and their relationship is strained - a point continually made by her mother. One day when cleaning his room, she finds a gun hidden in his closet and when a colleague knocks on her door claiming Zachary is part of a suspected terrorist organisation, she sets out to prove he has been set up and is innocent. The story is slow paced and very repetitive with little action throughout and a little disappointing compared to her other books; however it does question just how far a parent would go to protect their child.
Philomath_in_Phila 7 months ago
‏I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. Keep You Close asks is "What would you do to protect your son. Would you betray your son or your country?" It is the second novel by Karen Cleveland. Her first, Need to Know, was a New York Times Bestseller. Cleveland's background as a CIA analyst with most of her time spent working in counterterrorism helps bring authenticity to her work. While she writes fiction, she is able to get into the mindset of Stephanie Maddox, the head of the FBI's Internal Investigations division, so well it has a feel as if she is writing her memoir. Her debut novel's main character, Vivian Miller, works as a CIA counterintelligence analyst. Hmmm... Maddox believes her near-perfect son is being framed and searches to discover the truth. Including CIA and FBI agents, makes choices made by Maddox more believable. In an environment whose very nature requires people to doubt and mistrust, she needs to decide whom she can trust and what to believe. Keep You Close is a stand-alone novel. However, Need to Know's main character does appear in this novel. I did not realize this until I finished reading this novel. Cleveland does not have any future works listed on Goodreads. This 200-word review was published on on 7/15/19.
412037RH 8 months ago
What a disappointment. I loved Karen Cleveland's first book, Need to Know, I recommended it to a number of people and they loved it too. This book was confusing and boring at times. Their were characters that did not make sense or explained very well.. Steph was annoying with always ordering out, feeling like she was not a good mother and daughter and then still sabotaging the relationships.. I did not feel sorry for her at all. The Epilogue did not explain anything. I would not recommend this book
JHSEsq 8 months ago
Karen Cleveland's debut novel, Need to Know, was dazzling thriller and she does not experience a sophomore slump with her new release. In Keep You Close, a woman is forced to confront her sense of right and wrong. The one person she loves most is accused of a horrific, unimaginable crime. Stephanie Maddox is an FBI agent who has worked for nearly 20 years to establish herself and cement her reputation within the organization. She's a single mother to Zachary, her teenage son, who has sacrificed along with Stephanie for her career. She has missed school functions, birthdays, and other events. Despite that, she and Zachary have a close relationship and Stephanie is certain that she knows her son better than anyone else possibly could. She is devoted to him and would do anything to protect him from the terrible secret she carries with her. But Zachary has secrets of his own. One day Stephanie is rattled when she finds a gun hidden in Zachary's closet. She can't imagine how a loaded gun got into his room. The possibilities are too horrible to contemplate. One of her colleagues -- a member of the domestic terrorism squad -- comes to her house to speak with her, She is stunned when he tells her, “It’s about Zachary.” He proceeds to brief her about the activities of a terrorist group known as the Freedom Solidarity Movement. Stephanie knows its not possible that Zachary has gotten involved in such a group. If he did, he had to have been tricked or gotten caught up with the wrong crowd the way kids sometimes do. She is confident there is no chance that her boy, a good kid, could have willingly agreed to be part of a terrorist group plotting the murders of several high-profile government officials. "He wouldn't be involved in that," she tells her coworker. Keep You Close moves at a relentless, compelling, and sometimes terrifying pace. Cleveland, a former CIA analyst, again demonstrates her command of her subject matter. And showcases the internal struggle of a mother desperate to learn what she doesn't know about her teenager. But Stephanie is not just any mother in America. She is a trained, experienced agent with integral knowledge about exactly how far terrorists groups will go to recruit, indoctrinate, and manipulate unwitting citizens. And ordinary mothers don't get greenlighted -- the term used when the mob puts a hit out. Moreover, if Stephanie withholds information from the Bureau her career could be ruined. Cleveland injects numerous plot twists and revelations, as well as a few heartbreaking developments, that propel the story forward to its explosive climax. The story is sophisticated, timely and frighteningly realistic. When Stephanie finally learns what is actually happening, it is apparent that the truth could be the lead story on any American news broadcast. Stephanie is a sympathetic, relatable character. What mother wouldn't take any risk necessary in order to save her child? And because Cleveland has crafted the character so skillfully, readers will cheer her on and, like her, hold on to hope that her child is innocent. And that the country is safe. "I'll always keep you safe," Stephanie told Zachary when he was a little boy. Finding out whether she is able to keep that promise is entertaining and mesmerizing. Keep You Close is another tautly-constructed, must-read thriller Cleveland. A worthy successor to Need to Know. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
Twink 9 months ago
Karen Cleveland's first book, Need to Know, was a New York Times bestseller. She returns with her newly released second book, Keep You Close. Steph Maddox works with the FBI, heading up an Internal Affairs division. She's had to juggle her job with her personal life - she's a single mother to teenage Zachary. When she finds a gun in Zak's room, she is stunned. And then a friend who works in the domestic terrorism division shows up at her door. Home and work well does she really know her son? Need to Know focused on the choices the lead character had to make to protect her family and that directive is again front and center as Steph struggles to protect her son and country. She is trying to ferret out sleeper Russian agents that have infiltrated high ranking offices. I did wonder if Steph could have actually gotten away with some of the things she does as she pursues this path. But, Cleveland was herself a CIA analyst, so I will defer to her inside knowledge. Steph has a heartbreaking secret in her past and her personal life should draw the reader to her, but I found I just couldn't connect with her. She makes some really questionable choices regarding her son and her mother, often at the expense of work. The same thoughts and scenes occur more than once in her personal life. Espionage and conspiracies theories abound - and rather than draw me in, the repetitive nature had me growing weary. Now, Keep You Close can absolutely be read as a stand alone, but this second book does continue a storyline that began with the first book. The lead character of that first book makes an appearance in Keep You Close. And I think that's why I found the ending unsatisfying - this plotline will continue on with the third book. I'll be honest - I'm not sure I'll pick it up.
Jill-Elizabeth_dot_com 10 months ago
Karen Cleveland writes BRILLIANT thrillers... I reviewed her first novel, Need to Know, on here last year and couldn't wait for her to release another. She has a gift for crafting compelling, believable, strong women who aren't perfect and don't need to be - they are instead real, and that is infinitely more readable... This is another book about secrets. Cleveland is (apparently) obsessed with secrets: the ones we keep, the ones we spill, the ones we uncover, the ones we misunderstand. That obsession is translated into marvelous suspenseful novels that weave together complex story lines, emotions, and rationalizations. The result: fantastic tales that are easy to read, wholly engaging, and startling in their presentation of the baser nature of humanity. A particular area of focus for her is family and the way that lies undermine (and often, underpin) the relationships between family members, be they spouses, children, or parents. I love that she works espionage into that mix; the blend should probably feel odd but it never does somehow. I chalk that up to her writing, which is as crisp as a spring morning and just as glorious. If that wasn't enough to grab your attention, she manages to work contemporary global and socio-political issues into her narratives in a way that makes them feel not only current but spot-on timely. And she does so without ever feeling like she's forcing them in or using them as props to garner attention. Her touch is infinitely more subtle than that, and the result is marvelous. If you're not familiar with her work, you should be - the stories are fabulous, full of characters that often seem brittle or fragile but have a core of steel that comes through at just the right moments. My review copy was provided via NetGalley.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Stephanie (Steph) Maddox, age 37, is Chief of the Internal Investigations Section for the FBI in Washington, D.C. She is a single mother to her son, Zachary, 17, who is waiting to hear back from colleges he has applied to. He had signed up for some extra-curricular school activities before sending out his applications, but Steph learns that he has dropped out of some of them. She is shocked saying that it’s dishonest and if he is found out, he might not be accepted. Later, she heads upstairs to gather some trash around Zachary’s room while he’s showering. She then sees a strange bag in his closet, and inside there’s a loaded gun. She knows she should call the police, but can’t bring herself to do it. A close co-worker named Scott approaches Steph the next day saying that Zachary’s name has been discovered as part of a group called the Freedom Solidarity Movement. It’s a group of people who believe they’re not subject to our laws. Once considered an anarchist group, they are on the edge of being considered to be a terrorist group. After Steph is assured by Zachary that he knows nothing of this or of the gun, she realizes that her son is being set up by someone. Is someone out for revenge for her? If so, who and why? The story continues with people from Steph’s past who want revenge on her. It gets somewhat confusing who these people are and why she is their target. It would have been a better book if there had not been so many covert operations to figure out. Copy provided by NetGalley and Goodreads in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Alfoster 11 months ago
I really liked this book as it has many elements I enjoy: political intrigue, scandals, FBI involvement, as well as a personal story about a mother and son that threatens to unravel with the deceit that plays out. Steph is an FBI agent who inadvertently discovers a loaded gun hidden in her seventeen-year-old son's bedroom. Moments later, another agent appears at her door accusing him of seeking out a radical group that is anti-government and is apparently planning mass attacks. Stunned, Steph must get to the bottom of this before the FBI steps in; does she believe her son or the agency that must have compelling evidence? And so begins the mystery of who's at the heart of this conspiracy. Is her son secretly someone she doesn't know or is he being set up? I enjoyed both the storyline and the characters; I'm not one of those readers who must love the characters to appreciate the book. Yes, Steph second-guesses herself a lot and yes, she often seems weak when it comes to her family, but what family bonds are never tested? Overall, I liked the tension and the shocking conclusion! On to read her first novel, Need to Know. Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC!
KimMc 11 months ago
You never know who you can trust, especially when working for the FBI. Agent Steph Maddox has had an interesting life and a career choice that grew from it. She is a loyal and conscientious agent who believes in the greater good. Although I didn’t agree with all of her choices, I definitely respect her. The plot is timely, with Russians possibly infiltrating the government and Steph’s quest to bring them to justice while also protecting what she holds dearest. Once it all unfolds, you will be left shaking your head, as there are twists right up through the end in this labyrinth of political agendas. *I received an arc from the publisher through NetGalley for an honest review
bookluvr35SL 11 months ago
Stephanie Maddox works for the FBI and is a single mom to her teenage son Zachary. She has always been career-driven, and her mom frequently accuses her of putting her job before her son. But when there is a knock on the door one evening and it is a fellow agent wanting to speak to her son concerning a possible terrorist organization, she has to use her powers to prove his innocence, and find out who is setting him up and why. This is a very fast-paced book. I did not want to put it down. It had lots of action, and a good storyline. I am on the fence about the seemed as if it were setting it up for a sequel, but if not then it just left me with lots of questions. So, my fingers are crossed for a sequel! I highly recommend it for all fans of suspense.
Anonymous 11 months ago
How far would you go to protect your teenage child? So far that you are willing to bend or break legal boundaries and those you’ve vowed to uphold in your career at the FBI? These are just a few of the moral dilemmas that Stephanie Maddox, veteran FBI agent and single mother of 17-year-old Zachary, is forced to face in Karen Cleveland’s sophomore thriller, Keep You Close. The twist and turns abound in this novel, always something new and threatening around every corner. And at every turn, you are certain you have everything figured out. But you won’t know for sure until the last few pages. And unless you are a super sleuth, most likely, you’ll be wrong. I certainly was. I enjoyed the rapid pace of the story, though I did feel as though it was difficult at times to keep up with the multiple characters. Also, I know the constant struggles of the main character are central to the story, but I did feel at times that there was no one on her side, no one that she could trust or confide in and that was sad. This was one of those books that you are sure doesn’t have enough pages left to wrap things up satisfactorily, but Cleveland manages to do just that. In my opinion, this is not quite as good as her first novel, I would still recommend it to someone looking for a fast-paced suspense novel that touches on federal government procedures, familial relationships, and how your choices can effect your life in ways you’d never imagine. I give this book four stars and thank NetGalley for providing me with this e-book in exchange for my honest review.
JReppy 11 months ago
This was an incredible book. Steph Maddox is an FBI agent and Chief of Internal Investigations, which gives her a lot of power and knowledge. But the person she needs to know the best is someone she might not know as well as she thinks -- her seventeen-year-old son Zachary. She finds a gun in his closet and then she receives a visit from a friend/fellow agent who informally lets her know that her son has been connected to the Freedom Solidarity Movement, an extremist group plotting against the government. She does not believe this is true and begins to suspect that someone is trying to frame her son to get back at her. She has some rather significant secrets in her past -- one of which involves Zachary's father (whose identity she will come to find out Zachary has learned) -- that involve some very powerful people. The story focuses on her efforts to figure out the enemy and the endgame, while keeping her son safe. While the basic plotlines are not new (powerful people abusing power; corrupt government officials; terrorism; Russian interference; setting up fall guys, etc.) and some of the plot twists are predictable, the author has created one of the most in-depth overarching plots that I have run across. The book has plenty of surprises. The ending is masterful and the sort of ending that I had long hoped an author would have the courage to utilize. I strongly recommend this book. I received a review copy via NetGalley.
Nanna51 11 months ago
Karen Cleveland has knocked it out of the park again, keeping me reading until late in the night to find out how the issues in her latest thriller are resolved. Stephanie Maddox is a mother and an FBI agent in internal affairs. Her whole life is upset when she is told that her son is suspected of being part of a terrorist group about to launch an attack in the U.S. Steph is determined to prove that what is suspected about Zachary is not true and that the whole thing is a plot by her enemies. The book is a wild ride, following Steph on her quest to prove the innocence of her son and to trap the evil doers before they can create more mayhem. The fact that Russians are involved makes the story more compelling since the Russians and their interference in our elections has been front and center in the recent elections. Cleveland takes that news story to greater heights and pens a scary story of their influence in the government and the law enforcement agencies. There are a lot of characters, but the main ones are memorable and so evil that you don’t care if something bad happens to them. I was so drawn into the story that I was practically a cheering squad for Steph by the end of the book. The conclusion is explosive and unexpected, just as in her previous novel NEED TO KNOW. The author’s knowledge of the FBI and CIA make her book believable and awe-inspiring. This book makes Karen Cleveland a force to be reckoned with in the genre of thriller! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
Momma_Becky 11 months ago
What would you do and how far would go to protect your child? Keep You Close starts with that question, then it bends and twists it until I'm not sure what the right answer should be. The book is very action driven, which does keep the pages turning, but I found it hard to connect with the characters. I was hoping to warm up to Stephanie as more and more of her past was revealed, but I never quite got there. I could certainly empathize with her, but the character was a bit flat, as were all of the characters in this one. As the story progressed, the conspiracies got more complicated and convoluted, and it felt like character development was put on a back burner to make room for twist after crazy twist. All of that may have been okay if not for the lack of conclusion. I kept reading to see which way things would go and granted, there is a big twist, but it felt like the story stopped before it was meant to. I thoroughly enjoyed Cleveland's first novel, so maybe my disappointment comes from high expectations, but this one didn't come close for me. Nevertheless, the author is talented, and I'll be interested to see what she does next.
saberle 12 months ago
Keep you Close by Karen Clevland is an exciting follow-up to her last great book, Need to Know. Both books are excellent. When F.B.I. Special Agent Stephanie Maddox answers her door, the last person she expects to find is another agent. The news gets worse as her son is accused of belonging to a terrorist cell. Stephanie is incredulous until she uncovers a handgun in her son’s closet. The story continues to unwind unpredictably and quickly. Readers will enjoy this procedural and will look forward to more by this writer.
Ms-Hurst 12 months ago
Even while I was reading this, I thought it was just too much. A little out there and beyond belief. But I still loved it. It was fun and interesting to read. I was going back and forth between 3 and 4 but ultimately settled on 4 because I read this in one day and just enjoyed it. An FBI agent having to protect her child is not a new story. An FBI agent being set up so that a criminal or terrorist organization can get her/him out of the way isn't new. It still felt fresh in some way. A fun read, quick read.
hws56 12 months ago
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance copy of Keep You Close. Part intrigue/thriller, part mystery. Although the plot was somewhat predictable, I enjoyed this book about a mother and son and the secrets they each held.
3no7 12 months ago
“Keep You Close” by Karen Cleveland sets a dark tone right from the start with a prologue that ends with a chilling question. “What if he’s not who she thinks he is?” Stephanie Maddox is chief of Internal Investigations at headquarters, and the tale unfolds in her first person narrative. The present tense structure creates a sense of immediacy and personal connection. Maddox talks to readers, and she talks to herself. She shares her struggles, “It shouldn’t be this difficult,” and explains her coping mechanisms, “It’s what I do when life seems out of control, try to make my house perfect.” She interprets the actions of others, “He told me so and I ‘believe him,” and she rationalizes what she does not understand, “Zachary made a mistake, sure. Fell in with the wrong crowd.” Readers get to know her well, and understand that she has a problem, a big problem. Readers follow as she plans, “Okay. I need to think about this rationally.” She shares startling revelations with readers, and she is incredulous at what she finds, “He knew. He knew about Zachary all along.” She second-guesses her thinking and investigative process, “Now I don’t know what to think.” Readers have the same questions as Maddox “Who’s doing this to us?” and feel her tension and concern, on every page. Day to day activities are interspersed with flashbacks that raise questions and reveal secrets, important secrets that have big consequences. There are other voices, third person narratives. There is a woman, watching, waiting, and wondering about another woman. “What are they doing to her? And what are they doing to her son?” There is a young man, and there is an older man. Then, the man has a name, and the man with a name has connections. Cleveland’s descriptions elucidate the beauty of Washington, DC. “The cherry tree outside my brownstone is starting to bud, dozens of pink knobs closed tight like tiny fists. In a few weeks, it’ll be in full bloom, and the city will be bursting with pink blossoms. Hordes of tourists, too; they’ll clog the usually quiet sidewalks around the Tidal Basin.” Cleveland contrasts that with stark atmosphere of Maddox’s workspace “It’s a large office. There’s a desk in the center, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases on one wall, filled with legal tomes. A row of lockable filing cabinets along another, which doubles as a table for my coffeemaker. A television mounted to the opposite wall. A wide window in front of me overlooks the cubicle bullpen where my agents work.” “Keep You Close” is filled with unexpected twists and turns. Readers agree when Maddox admits that things are not always what they seem to be “I thought I had it all figured out. Now I’m completely confused.” I received a review copy of “Keep You Close” from Karen Cleveland, Random House, Balentine Books, and NetGalley. It throws readers right into the fray with the characters. The action never lets up until the startling end.
diane92345 12 months ago
Steph is Chief of Internal Affairs in the FBI’s Washington D.C. field office. But at nineteen, she was a summer intern for Senator Halliday when she was raped by him. Finding herself pregnant, she decides to keep her baby in Keep You Close. Her now seventeen year old son, Zachary, is distant and uncommunicative. Steph blames her long hours and his age. However, when a colleague warns her that Zackary has been emailing a domestic terrorist group, she decides to investigate. After speaking to Zachary, Steph is convinced of his innocence. She decides that someone from her past is getting to her through Zachary. Could it be Senator Halliday? A mob boss she took down years ago? Another disgruntled FBI agent who lost his job because of her? For a FBI agent, Steph seems to be searching for phantoms for most of the book. Names and motives are thrown around but no real research or investigating is done. She doesn’t even do a background search on the gun she found that started it all. How could a trained agent not remember that she failed to set her alarm and/or not be concerned when the alarm is off when she returns home after work. Keep You Close requires a suspension of disbelief that I just can’t get past. Worse, despite starting well it is boring throughout the middle. Steph needs a real psychiatrist—not just the one in her head that sounds like the most annoying parent ever. I enjoyed the author’s last book, Need to Know, but this one is a disappointment. Hopefully, her next book will be better. 2 stars. Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
CCinME 12 months ago
Another fascinating read from Karen Cleveland. Spies, agents, elected officials, Russians - who to trust. And when they come after her son, Special Supervisory Agent Steph Maddox has to unravel several plots to keep herself and her son safe. Unfortunately not as implausible as once thought. An interesting, fast-paced read that will keep you alert and awake until you've finished! Many thanks to NetGalley, and Random House for the ARC.
Janice Lombardo 12 months ago
Stephanie is an FBI Agent - Internal Affairs. She holds a lot of responsibility and can upset a lot of well-trained professionals in her position. Scott, a former lover of hers, shows up at her place just after she had found a gun hidden in a paper bag in her son's room. She knows that Zach is innocent of knowing about the gun (?)- that the gun had to have been placed there. But.....Scott tells Steph that Zach has ties to a subversive group and that he may see jail time. Now the Russians become involved in a counterintelligence plan. Then we bring in Zach's father, Senator Halliday, who Zach had recently found out was his father. Instead of focusing on one thing at a time, Steph comes off as not so bright and just plain incompetent at times Steph's mother and her arguments with her were repeatedly the same thing repeated over and over. There were too many characters brought into the story who either had no to slight relevance; some similar enough to be just confusing. I did complete the book but I am still thinking about how it could have been reworked. Many Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a chance to review!