Title: Closer Than You Think
Author: Lee Maguire
Series: Broken Minds Thriller #1
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Date of Publication: October 22, 2018
Publisher: TCK Publishing
In the first instalment in this “Broken Minds” mystery series, we’re introduced to Dr. Bryce Davison, a psychologist with his own broken mind. His marriage is on the rocks, his insomnia is threatening his livelihood, and now he has a stalker. Someone who’s been watching him for a long time and is determined to destroy his marriage, his career, and his mind…
Dr. Bryce Davison is a mental health professional. When he realizes that he has a stalker, the list of potential suspects is quite long. This makes for an interesting mystery. I could immediately tell that the author works or has worked in the industry, because the writing has an authentic feel that permeates through the setting, the plot, and the way that Bryce talks about his career and his patients.
Maguire jumps right into the story with little explanation as to who the characters are. This made it a little difficult to get into and to understand. (For instance, it took me a few pages to figure out that “Max” was his dog). That said, it’s definitely worth pushing through those first few chapters, because the excitement starts up pretty quickly and doesn’t let up for the whole book. There are many twists and turns that make this book a one-sitting read.
There are quite a few matter-of-fact-style descriptions of Bryce’s conversations and his work day. This book might not appeal to those who aren’t at all interested in the daily struggle of psychologists. I genuinely enjoyed Bryce’s interactions with coworkers and the “disturbed” youths that he deals with. Although, I did think that the author could have skipped some scenes to get to the juicier stuff. It reminded me a little of Patricia Cornwell’s early Scarpetta books. You get a peak into what it’s like to work in that profession, even when some of the things being mentioned don’t directly relate to the plot. That said, Maguire ingeniously takes these opportunities to casually insert clues as to who Bryce’s stalker is, which makes these chapters even more interesting to me, a self-proclaimed amateur couch sleuth.
There are quite a few flashbacks throughout the novel. It’s not immediately clear how they’re relevant, but Maguire ties them into the overall character arc quite nicely.
Dr. Bryce Davison strikes me as highly paranoid right from the get go. I was surprised by how quickly he figured out that he was being stalked. I find strange smells in my apartment on the regular, and I never assume that it means that someone was in my apartment. (Although, now I’m starting to worry about that! I mean, I know that I don’t smoke cigarettes. Who’s been coming into my apartment to smoke cigarettes?!).
That said, Dr. Davison is very smart and does all the right things that he should have done when being stalked, i.e. Call the police. That’s really the most important thing to do, in my opinion. He also keeps a record of all the things that are being done. While the stalker clearly wanted to put his personal life and job at risk, I was never too worried about him losing his job, because of the way he was meticulously keeping the police informed of what was happening to him.
The writing style is a little stilted at times, particularly in the way that the teenagers talk. It pulled me out of the story a little bit, but the plot was so darn compelling that I kept reading anyway.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for an intriguing psychological thriller featuring a psychologist whose mind is just as broken as those he’s sworn to help.
*Thank you to TCK Publishing for the review copy*
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