Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Closer I Get by Paul Burston. I’ve been so excited to read this! It’s been calling me from my tbr list for some time now. I urge you not to delay though and go grab yourself a copy today. It’s brilliant!
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…
There is a real buzz around this novel and oh my does it deserve it. This is surely one of THE psychological thrillers of 2019. The book that everyone would have (SHOULD HAVE) read. It is absolutely gripping and each and every narrative we have is totally unreliable. Even now, my mind is still racing, I’m not quite sure what I think of these characters and their side of the story.
Tom is a bestselling author, his second novel bombed and he’s feeling the pressure to come up with something spectacular for book three. Yet something sinister is brewing on social media, a place that feeds insecurities, egos and yet encourages relationships with complete strangers; allowing them into your life, into your home. Who can you really trust? Tom is, unfortunately, someone who is rather wrapped up in himself and tends to use and disregard those he allows briefly into his life. He soon learns that this careless attitude will soon come back to bite him.
I’m actually not sure who I felt sorry for at the end of this novel. It really hits on how social media can feed on mental health issues and how easy it is to invade someone’s life with devastating consequences. No longer is a figure lurking in the shadows required to fill us with dread and a feeling of intense unease. The internet has provided a whole new playground for those wanting to mess with our minds and even at times force us to question our own sanity. I found it an incredibly compulsive read, not knowing what was going to happen next but I could feel the atmosphere gradually increasing, as I watched Tom falling to pieces at the hands of Evie. There is definitely a touch of ‘Misery’ about this novel. Paul’s writing is smart and eloquent and his knowledge of music and literature seeps into the story. His characterisation is superb, to the point where I was obsessed with discovering what becomes of this group of characters.
Paul has captured a snapshot of our modern world perfectly with the issues of online trolls and witch hunts, as well as making us question freedom of speech and if there are actually any lines left to cross – it seems to be getting harder to distinguish the truth from a lie. The Closer I Get also highlights the danger we can place ourselves in when we engage with strangers who we know very little about. I’ve always found social media a very tricky space and try to be mindful that a comment once left is very difficult to remove, even after it’s been deleted. The damage is done in a nanosecond and what previously would have been only a drunken memory to cringe over has suddenly become something that snowballs and imprinted forever in our browser history.
This was a wonderfully intense and thrilling read. It’s left me with questions and a desire to read again right from the start to see the clues and try and distinguish what was real and what wasn’t. This is a fabulous summer read that will suck you in and keep you turning ‘just one more chapter’. A book to fall into and you won’t be able to climb out until you reach the final twist sitting quietly right at the brilliant, unforgettable end.
Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and to Karen at Orenda Books for my copy. Yet another scorcher from Orenda!
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.