“Six pounds of pot, a .38 Special, and a by-the-book cop. Teagan O’Rourke rolled the words around in her head. They sounded like the opening lyrics of a classic rock-and-roll anthem instead of evidence in a murder trial.“

Opening lines of “Closer Than She Knows” by Kelly Irvin

“Closer Than She Knows” by Kelly Irvin opens with an action-packed sequence and the pace keeps up from there. Court reporter, Teagan O’Rourke finds herself at the centre of a murder case and possibly the intended victim though she has no idea why. Her family are all police and descend to investigate and protect her but it’s her close friend Max who she leans into for emotional support. The two have the potential to be more but Teagan’s fear from past losses hold her back.

I have read several murder mysteries in a row and perhaps it tipped the killer’s hand in this one, I worked it out before our leading characters but it didn’t detract hugely from the story. It’s full of twists, with every person in the small neighbourhood having behaved in a suspicious way at some point. There are quite a few deaths in this one before they work out who is behind it.

Teagan and Max are easy to relate to and each has different issues which they are working through with God. Kelly handles these gently and insightfully, I enjoyed her approach.

If you enjoy a good suspense novel, with a touch of a police procedural drama, this one is for you! It’s a four out of five on the enJOYment scale.

From the back cover:

Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim. 

Until now. 

A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels. 

Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out. 

As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer . . .

I received a complimentary copy of the book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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