Review: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston | @OrendaBooks @PaulBurston @annecater

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About the Book

Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. His main distraction is an online admirer, Evie, who simply won’t leave him alone.

Evie is smart, well read and unstable; she lives with her father and her social-media friendships are not only her escape, but everything she has.

When she’s hit with a restraining order, her world is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.

But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.

 

My Thoughts

Oh my goodness, this book! I knew I was going to love The Closer I Get as soon as I read the blurb but it was even better than I was expecting it to be!

Tom Hunter is a successful author but he’s struggling with the mounting pressure of writing his next novel in large part due to the stress of a woman who just won’t leave him alone. Evie is a huge fan of Tom’s work, she got to meet him once at a book signing and felt they had a real connection. It’s a thrill when he follows her back on social media and she believes this means something. Evie doesn’t have an easy life, she’s back living with her dad who isn’t well so when she’s hit with a restraining order her life begins to unravel.

This book is brilliant! It’s such a prescient novel – definitely one for our times! Most of us use social media and we’re used to people following us on these networks and often we follow people back but we don’t pay a whole lot of attention to who any of these people are. We assume they’re just like us. I mainly use twitter to share posts but I also use it to chat to friends and connect with people. I even met my husband on twitter so it is possible to make genuine mutual connections on there.

However, I also know what it is to have a stalker and it is utterly terrifying. My experience was pre-social media so it’s different to what happens in this book but the feeling of having someone turn up everywhere you go, someone who sits outside your house is so frightening. The feeling that you might be being watched never fully leaves you even when the situation is completely over. This has made me much more wary of social media, and forming friendships, even though I’ve used it for over ten years now.  Paul Burston has shared his experiences of being stalked in an article in The Guardian recently and how this inspired him to write this novel, I recommend reading that when you have a few minutes to spare.

Anyway, back to The Closer I get... This novel is told in alternating chapters from Tom and Evie and I loved that. It meant that I would read one chapter and think one thing and then read the other person’s perspective and could see their side too. The novel blurs the lines somewhat so that although Evie is clearly stalking Tom, the background to this leaves you with much to question and think about. This isn’t always a black and white story, it really shows the shades of grey.  It was fascinating, and unnerving, to be in Evie’s mind and to see how she viewed things along the way.

We also get to meet Tom’s best friend Emma, and their relationship was also fascinating to read about. Emma seems devoted to Tom, she is always there for him and it seemed that she might be in love with him. It is just friendship to Tom though but as the novel progresses it becomes apparent that he takes advantage of her good nature more than is fair. These parts of the book make Tom a much more rounded character but a whole lot less likeable!

I have to say that neither Tom nor Evie are particularly likeable in this novel but there are moments in each of their stories where you feel absolute sympathy for them, and moments where you question what it is you previously thought. It’s such a compelling novel with so many fascinating elements to it, this really is an incredible read!

The Closer I Get has tension right from the start, and it gets more and more tense as you read each chapter. You know it’s building to something but I defy you to predict what’s coming because every time I thought I had it worked out the rug was pulled from under me yet again! By the final pages of this novel I was literally on the edge of my seat. The denouement when it comes is shocking, and one I won’t ever forget!

The Closer I Get is such a clever thriller; it’s a true psychological thriller and it really makes you think. It’s a novel that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it. I already can’t wait to read more by Paul Burston, I’ll definitely be first in line to buy whatever he writes next!

PS. I will add a quick warning here – don’t start this book late at night if you have to be up early the next day because once you start reading you won’t be able to put this down until you’ve turned the final page! It’s a real sleep stealer (but totally worth it!)!

Many thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for my digital copy of this book and the invitation to take part in this blog tour. All thoughts are my own.

The Closer I Get is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

Paul Burston Author Photo

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel ‘The Black Path’, was longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016 and was a bestseller at WH Smith. His first novel, ‘Shameless’, was shortlisted for the State of Britain Award. His third novel, ‘Lovers & Losers’ was shortlisted for a Stonewall Award. His fourth, ‘The Gay Divorcee’, was optioned for television. He was a founding editor of Attitude magazine and has written for many publications including The GuardianThe IndependentTime OutThe Times and The Sunday Times. In March 2016, he was featured in the British Council’s #FiveFilms4Freedom Global List 2016, celebrating “33 visionary people who are promoting freedom, equality and LGBT rights around the world”. He is the founder and host of London’s award-winning LGBT+ literary salon Polari and founder and chair of The Polari First Book Prize for new writing.

 

You can find the rest of this tour at the following blogs:

closer I get blog poster 2019

WWW Wednesdays (24 Jul 2019)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume

This is the eighth book from my 20 Books of Summer choices and I’m really enjoying it. I’ve had this book on my TBR for about three years so am glad to get to it and am so happy that it’s living up to my hopes for it.

Unnatural Causes by Richard Shepherd

I treated myself to a copy of this last week as I keep seeing great reviews for it and am fascinated by it. It’s a really interesting book.

 

What I recently finished reading:

The Guilty Mother by Diane Jeffrey

This book is so good! I was gripped by it from the opening pages and it’s a book I read in just two sittings. I’ll be reviewing this one very soon,

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is another great read, one that I also read in two sittings (and only because I started it late at night and had to sleep!). I’m reviewing this one tomorrow for the blog tour so please look out for my post.

Looker by Laura Sims

This is such a brilliant novel about a woman’s obsession with her neighbour. I really did love this one. My full review is here if you’d like to know more.

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

I really enjoyed this book, it was a perfect thriller for the summer and I recommend it. My review is already posted so you can find my thoughts here if you want to know more.

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This was the seventh book from my TBR for the 20 Books of Summer and I adored it. I love getting completely lost in a Penny Vincenzi novel and am sad this is the last one. I now want to make time to re-read all her other books!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Someone We Know by Shari Lapena

I’ve been so eagerly anticipating reading this novel as I love Shari Lapena’s writing so I plan on getting to this on in the coming days!

Bone Deep by Sandra Ireland

I’m on the blog tour for the audio book of this one and I’m keen to read it soon so hopefully I can get to it this week.

What You Did by Claire McGowan

I’ve seen some fab reviews of this book so when I found it was in the Kindle First selection for this month I grabbed it and really want to read it soon!

Stop At Nothing by Tammy Cohen

I’ve got an ARC of this book on my Kindle and I’m so keen to read it. Fingers crossed I get to it in the next few days!

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (17 Jul 2019)!

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Darkest Summer by Ella Drummond

This book is so good! I really enjoyed Ella Drummond’s first novel and this one is even better, it gripped me from the first chapter and I’m keen to read more asap!

A Question of Trust by Penny Vincenzi

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer picks and I’m thoroughly enjoying this one. I’m trying to savour is because it but it’s hard not to keep reading when I pick it up. I recommend this one!

Gary Speed: Unspoken by John Richardson

I bought this one recently and started reading it straight away. It’s not really the book I thought it was going to be but I do want to finish it. I was hoping for more of a biography but really it’s more his friends sharing memories of him.

What I recently finished reading:

A Simple Favour by Darcey Bell

I’ve had this on my TBR mountain for about a year so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox (my local library’s audio book service) I decided to download it and listen. The novel wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be but listening to it on audio kept me engaged when I might have put the ebook down.

A Better Me by Gary Barlow

I also downloaded the audio book of this on a whim from BorrowBox after seeing a recommendation in a book group on FB. I actually enjoyed this more than I was expecting and I’m glad I listened to it.

Pain-Free Life: My Journey to Wellness by Andrea Hayes

This is another audiobook from BorrowBox and the title just caught my eye. I’ve worked really hard on finding ways of treating and coping with my severe neuropathic pain so am interested to read the stories of other people who’ve been through similar. Andrea’s story is so similar to mine in many ways so I found this book really life-affirming and recommend it.

The Spider and the Fly: A Reporter, A Serial Killer and the Meaning of Murder by Claudia Rowe

This is a book I’ve wanted to read for ages but have only seen quite expensive secondhand copies that are in not great condition so I was really pleased to spot the audio book on BorrowBox. I found this an interesting book about a reporter’s obsession with a serial killer, and her exploration of her own obsession.

The Stranger on the Bridge: My Journey from Despair to Hope by Jonny Benjamin

I finally got to read this book which I’ve been wanting to read since it first came out as I’d seen interviews with the author on TV.  This was a really moving book about the author’s struggle with mental illness.

Watching You by Lisa Jewell

I finally read this book having had an ARC on my TBR for over a year. I’m not sure how I missed reading it before now but I’m glad to have read it. I very much enjoyed this thriller and have already reviewed it. You can find my thoughts here if you’d like to know more.

Dead Girls: Essays on Surviving an American Obsession by Alice Bolin

I was really keen to listen to this book but I found myself disappointed with it as it just wasn’t the book it’s made out to be. It’s more about the author moving to L.A. and her obsession with Joan Didion’s work than it is about America’s obsession with young women who have been murdered.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro

This book has been on my wish list for a while so when I spotted it on BorrowBox I decided to request it. I now have the book on my phone so it will be my next audio book.

Looker by Laura Sims

I hoped to read this one over the last week but I could only manage audio books so had to put this one on hold. I’m still keen to read it so fingers crossed for the coming week.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

I’ve been desperate to read this book so again I’m hoping I’ll be able to read print this week so that I can get to this one.


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (3 Jul 2019)!

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

 

What I’m reading now:

The Last Stage by Louise Voss

I started reading this one last night and it’s one of those books where I begrudge real life interfering with my reading time. It’s such a brilliant read!

Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris

I’ve had this on my TBR ever since it first came out so when I spotted it on BorrowBox this week I decided to listen to it while part reading it. I’m intrigued by it and am looking forward to listening to more.

The Wave by Virginia Moffatt

This book is really interesting. It’s about a disparate group of people who end up staying on a beach in Cornwall awaiting a tsunami; they know they don’t have time to escape so are trying to accept their fate and enjoy their last night. I’m completely invested in these characters and want them to survive!

Wrecking Crew: Demolishing the Case Against Steven Avery by John Ferak

I watched Making a Murderer season 1 and 2 and so when I spotted this book recently I decided to buy it and read more about the case. I’m only a little way in and so far it’s mostly what I’ve seen in the Netflix series but I’m still gripped.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern

My husband bought me this hardback the year this book was published so I wanted to make sure I definitely finally read it this year. It’s the 4th book from my 20 Books of Summer challenge and I very much enjoyed it. It’s quite a slow, quiet novel but it was wonderful!

Me and the Table by Stephen Hendry

I downloaded the audio of this from Borrowbox on a whim as I’m a huge snooker fan and remember the years of poor Jimmy White never quite managing to beat Hendry in the World Championship Finals. This was a much better book than I expected and I really enjoyed it, I think it was it being on audio and having Hendry narrate it that really made it so good.

Something to Live For by Richard Roper

This book is such a life-affirming novel and I loved every minute that I spent reading it. I’ll be reviewing this one on the 7th July for the blog tour so please look out for my thoughts then!

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I found this book about what it is to be a midwife in the NHS a fascinating read. I’m so glad I read it.

Something to Tell You by Lucy Diamond

This was a light-hearted read that I really enjoyed reading over the last few days. It kept me hooked all the way through.

 

What I plan on reading next:

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This is another pick from my 20 Books of Summer and I hope to get to it this week. I’ve found the audio on Scribd* so I may part-listen and part-read it if I struggle with the hardback. I’m keen to see if I enjoy this one anymore than Conversations with Friends!

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

This is one of my 20 Books of Summer too and I’m just in the mood to read it so hopefully I’ll get to read it in the coming days.

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston

This is an ARC I was sent and I am so keen to get to this book, it sounds like one I’m going to love so it’s high on my list to get to in the next week or so!

Then She Vanishes by Claire Douglas

I recently read Last Seen Alive by this author and it reminded me how much I love her writing so I’m even more keen to get to her new one. It sounds like a fab summer thriller so I want to read it asap!

 


 

*I’m a paid member of Scribd (as mentioned above) and they have given me a code that will allow you to sign up and get two months free (and I would get one month free). If you’d like to try them out here is the link. I love Scribd and highly recommend them.

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesday or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂