the vastest conspiracy

Stubborn, motivated Stephanie Maddox is the head of internal affairs at the FBI. She is a single mother, raising her only child while handling her intense career. Driven by an internal compass of right and wrong, Stephanie wants to put her teenage son first, but her job usually takes his place.

Keep You Close is marketed as a thriller, and was an interesting follow-up to The Threat, since I just happened to read the former acting FBI Director’s memoir right before the fictional account of Stephanie Maddox’s career.

Steph Maddox was rather one dimensional. I love a strong female narrator, but her strength seemed flimsy and very shallow. She is driven by a desire to see bad guys go to prison, which means she chose an appropriate career path… but once you learn about all the trouble it has caused her, the reader starts to wonder if there’s any more to her motivation than that. Does she have any secondary incentives? The book is written in first person but her deepest thoughts are expressed in truncated sentences–maybe to enhance the pace of the book–and don’t have much impact that way.

Many of the biggest issues she has in her personal life (aside from the whole FBI / bad guy plot which the book is ostensibly about) could have been alleviated had she simply communicated more effectively with her loved ones. You come to realize that her failure to be up front and honest has been passed on to her son, Zach, who keeps information from his mother to save her the pain he believes the truth will cause her … which is exactly what she does with him. It’s irritating that she has created a mini-martyr in her own image.

Plus the repeated flashbacks which eventually lead to the big reveal were annoying.

I finished Keep You Close and then promptly forgot about it. To be honest I had to look up her name to make sure I had it right in my writeup. I’ve had Karen Cleveland’s other book, her debut I believe, on my to-read list for awhile. I’ll give it a try in the hopes that it’s better, but I won’t rush out to get it.

Published by elleebeee

smiles. sarcasm. Springsteen.

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