About Me

My photo
Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Friday, 2 August 2019

"The Closer I get" by Paul Burston

This is a thriller about an author being stalked by an obsessive fan. I'll have to tread a bit carefully, given that the fan is described thus: “She has a blog where she writes about books. She's clearly educated and often quite insightful. But there's a lot of anger and frustration there. Some of her blogs are quite extreme.” (C 1)

Tom is a novelist whose first book was a giant hit, whose second failed to live up to expectation, and who is finding it difficult to write his third. He is monstrously self-centred: he spends all his time at a celebration dinner with his friend Emma cruising the waiter; once Emma has paid the bill he packs her off in a taxi and takes the waiter home for drunken sex after which he boots the man out of his flat. Evie is a young wannabe novelist with a horrendous history of physical abuse from her mother. 

After being stalked Tom takes Evie to court; after this he goes down to Hastings to write his book where, on the first night, he meets the waiter again, only this time dressed as a pirate. I found it hard to suspend my disbelief at this coincidence.

But is Tom safe in Hastings?

As always there is a twist at the end although I am not sure Aristotle would have approved. 

The author has a clever turn of phrase:
  • ‘We're just like an old married couple,’ she was fond of saying. ‘We know each other's darkest secrets and there's no sex.’” (C 6)
  • There was no Mr Right, Tom soon discovered. There was only Mr Right Now.” (C 10)
  • I think of my mother as a hot-house flower, requiring perfect growing conditions and regular feeding. Liquid feed was her favorite, of course - especially the alcoholic variety. She demanded lots of loving care and attention. My poor father tended to her the way one might fawn over a tender fern or a rare exotic orchid. Though whenever I think of her I picture a Venus flytrap.” (C 17)
  • Dead? Yes, he is. He passed away in 2014. It doesn't stop me talking to him, though. He always said I talked too much. I'd hate to disappoint him now.” (C 22)
  • I'd rather be seen as kooky than not seen at all.” (C 26)
  • The air is thick with worry and smells of death and disease and disinfectant.” (C 28)

August 2019; 308 pages


  • Another (better) book in which the protagonist is a novelist struggling to maintain the success of his first books is Tourism by Nirpal Singh Dhariwal.
  • Another thriller in which the protagonist is a writer is Research by Philip Kerr


My wonderful wife bought me a subscription to Books and Beer; each month I receive a crime book and some cans of beer. The other titles I have received so far are:
  • Most Wanted by Robert Craik: a fast-paced thriller set in California
  • The Devil's Dice by Roz Watkins: a whodunnit set in the English Peak District
  • Only Killers and Thieves by Paul Howarth: a stunning tale of crime and revenge, of temptation and sin, of evil and redemption set in 1880s Queensland and as gritty as only the Australian Outback can get.
  • Snap by Belinda Bauer: a brilliant story about a young lad who, having become a burglar in order to survive, discovers his mother's killer.
  • Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic: a murder mystery set in Australia in which the PI is deaf
  • The Mongolian Conspiracy by Rafael Bernal: classic Chandleresque Mexican noir

No comments:

Post a Comment