Keep You Close
Book Reviews

Keep You Close, by Karen Cleveland {Book Review}

Book review posts are always exciting for me to write….not just because I love reading, but also because it means that it’s FRIDAY! Weekends are always cause for celebration! Right? Also, it means I probably have some reading time ahead and this weekend I’m hoping to get stuck into a local fiction book, that I’ve been dying to read! More about that next Friday though… Today, as usual, I’ve got a new thriller review for you, and this one is titled ‘Keep You Close’. Let’s dig in!

Quote from the book

Our little family is on the verge of collapse. Watching the others around me, I know I’ve failed him. And for what? The greater good? That’s how I always justified it to myself. That my job was important, that I was helping people.

What is Keep You Close about?

Stephanie Maddox makes tough decisions every day. She has her hands full heading the FBI’s Internal Investigations division, policing wrongdoers within the Bureau. But, as a single mother, the most important thing in her life is her teenage son Zachary, who’s anxiously awaiting college acceptance letters. So when she discovers a gun concealed in Zach’s room, her world reels. And then an FBI agent on the domestic terrorism squad shows up at her door and utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary. . . .”

Has she been wrong about her near-perfect son? Is Zach embroiled in something criminal–something deadly? And, if so, what is her greater duty: To protect him? Or to protect her country? 

My thoughts

As you know, I am a mother…and I think it’s something we always think about: How far would I go to protect my child? Keep You Close takes a look at that situation, and I was really keen to explore that question.

The book is told most of the time from Stephanie’s point of view, but occasionally, from an unknown narrator. That confused me initially, because I assumed it was Stephanie as well, then I had to go back and I realised it was another mystery female character.

I found the book to be very descriptive w.r.t scenery and the surroundings, clothing, buildings, etc. Sometimes I found it unnecessary. “He’s in jeans and that faded maroon hoodie he wears way too often, the one with the hole in the side seam.” I thought maybe this would be an important observation for later in the book, but no. He just wears the hoodie too often. THOUGH, Stephanie does narrate as if she’s talking to us, so as a mom, she’s having that thought, and sharing it with us. So, maybe I raise this point for no reason. lol.

The cover

I love the deep blue/black colour of the cover… I seem to be a sucker for a blue coloured book. I’m building this hue of blue books on my bookshelf, so I’m always thrilled to have a new blue book to add to that collection. #ForTheGram lol.

Back to the topic at hand, the cover is great. You have the mom and the son, both at the window…both I guess, seemingly contemplating what the other is up to.

The characters

Stephanie as the protagonist and a mother is so difficult to like. She’s very aloof, almost cold…but we learn she is a product of her past. I really feel for her, but I wish she wasn’t so hell bent on living in the past and she was more present. Especially for her child. Zachary, her son….I feel for him too. His mom should have done better. She questions her choices in the book (quote above), but for me, too little, too late Stephanie. There are moments where Stephanie could have made different choices, chosen her kid, chosen to have love, but she opted not to. Her job was always first, her past always holding her back. So many people suffer in this book because of this.

The storyline and final thoughts

So I mentioned above, I was already really intrigued by the storyline. As a mother, how far would I go to protect my kids?

The first 100 pages moved at a good pace, I wanted to know what was happening and get to the ending. However, there was so much repetitiveness in the book. Stephanie goes over the facts of what she knows…..100 times over in this book. Like a recap every 29 seconds, which I found annoying. The mystery of this book is, is Zachary a bad guy? If he isn’t, what else is happening here? We delve into the past, to explore all the reasons we could be where we are in this book.

Overall, this was a quick read, at a good pace. I did like the storyline, even though I felt the ending left me a bit…I don’t think confused is the word. The ending was definitely a surprise, but it was left a bit open ended as well.


Keep You Close has an average of 3.48 stars on Goodreads. I am giving this a 3 star rating. This crime thriller retails for around R290 and is available at all leading book retailers. Karen Cleveland is a really good storyteller and I believe her book ‘Need to know’ is a must read! So I’m definitely going to try to pick that one up.

What do you think….will you be picking up Keep You Close? Also, make sure you’re following my dedicated book Facebook and Instagram pages 😉 Also, if you missed last week’s review, check it out over HERE.

*Thank you Penguin Books for this review copy. Keep You Close


I’m Simone, a mom of 3, a wife...obsessed with my family, makeup and books!


  • Donna

    Well the ending didn’t sound to good and with such a low rating I don’t think I’ll wanna read it.
    Sounds like a good story though because as you read you’ll probably just want to find out about why he has the gun.

    Always enjoy your blog Moni… I know it’s been a while though

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