I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for brilliant and all too believable psychological thriller The Closer I Get by Paul Burston. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this outstanding book.
About the book:
Tom is a successful author, but for the first time in his life, he has writer’s block. 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 sick 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 collapses, whilst Tom is free to live his life again, and to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t adding up. For Tom is also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he’s powerless to change things. Because maybe he needs Evie more than he’s letting on.
A compulsive, disturbingly relevant, twisty and powerful psychological thriller, The Closer I Get is also a searing commentary on the fragility and insincerity of online relationships, and the danger that can lurk on the other side of a screen…
About the author:
Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller. 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 Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and 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 and the newly announced Polari Prize.
Oh wow, what a deliciously dark and twisted story this is!
The Closer I Get by Paul Burston begins with the story of Evie Stokes who is a fan of author Tom Hunter. Evie is desperate to meet him, so goes along to a book signing. After meeting her, Tom follows her back on Twitter – and that’s when everything starts to go wrong. But who is telling the truth? I felt myself pulled in opposite directions as both Evie and Tom tell their own versions of the story, neither coming across as very likeable, although I did find myself feeling a little bit sorry for Evie as the story continued.
As a full time carer who spends the majority of my time at home, I could relate to how important social media was for Evie and how devastating it would feel to have that snatched away. But that’s as far as my sympathy went, as both Evie and Tom are such unreliable narrators it’s impossible to know in which direction your sympathy should lie!
The scary thing about this book is that it is all too believable, especially where social media is concerned. It definitely made me think of who is following me across all platforms, leaving me feeling unsettled and a little bit wary if I’m honest. But it also made me think of who I follow and how they must see me, especially as I do get a little bit starstruck on occasion when someone whose work I enjoy responds to me on Twitter. But I promise I’m not as scary as Evie! Honestly!
The Closer I Get is a book that’s scarily relevant to the world we live in today. The huge role social media plays in our everyday lives is put under a microscope here and makes for uncomfortable reading. Although this is a fictional book, there is so much I recognise from reality. I’ve been involved in fandoms in the past where some of the behaviour from ‘fans’ has been downright scary, making me wonder how it must feel to be so idolised by people. I know it’s something I would hate, but some people seem to revel in it!
This behaviour has increased a thousandfold since social media took over the world, with many people thinking it’s okay to post whatever comes into their heads with no filter. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrifying it must be to be on the receiving end of such adulation these days, although I’m sure there are also those out there who soak up every drop of adoration sent their way. It really is a scary world out there in cyberspace!
Paul Burston has written a clever, intricately woven plot that keeps you on your toes throughout. With plenty of twists and turns along the way, the tension becomes more and more unbearable with every page. As the story raced towards its final denouement I could not put this book down! My nerves were at breaking point by the time I came to the end of this shockingly relevant psychological thriller that I know I will be thinking about for some time to come.
The Closer I Get is one of those books that gets under your skin, staying with you long after the final page has been turned. A dark and twisted psychological thriller that I would highly recommend.
The Closer I Get by Paul Burston is available to buy now: Amazon UK
Check out what these other amazing bloggers have to say: