I’m always delighted to be taking part in an Orenda Blog Tour and it is especially delightful to be taking part in the tour for Paul Burston’s “The Closer I Get”. Thanks to the author and publisher for the ARC to review and to Anne over at Randomthingstours for inviting me to take part.
Before I tell you what I think, here’s what the official blurb says:
Tom is a successful author, but he’s struggling to finish his novel. 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 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 is turned upside down, and Tom is free to live his life again, to concentrate on writing.
But things aren’t really adding up. For Tom is distracted but also addicted to his online relationships, and when they take a darker, more menacing turn, he feels 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 just one ‘like’ away…
Oh My Gawd! Excuse me while I go and pick my jaw up off the floor! I really don’t know how to write this review…can I even do this book justice? Does “just f****ing go and buy it” even constitute a review? Probably not, so I’ll do my very best to try and describe just how I feel moments after turning the last page!
Evie Stokes is a fan of Tom Hunter; Tom Hunter is an author; Evie wants to meet him; he is doing a book signing; Evie attends…what could possibly go wrong and just whose voice do you trust throughout it all? Evie pulled at my heart-strings a little; it was hard to listen to her story and not to feel for her although she scared the shit out of me! Tom made me feel a little bit wary, was he telling the whole truth? Do either of them come out at the end pure and lily white? You are just going to have to read it and see!
My first instinct is to go and delete all of my social media accounts or at the very least go and check just who is following me and what message they are conveying! I also feel a desperate need to contact all the authors I follow to reassure them I am nothing like Evie – but perhaps doing that would be a little bit odd…
Absolutely bang up to date and topical, The Closer I Get, is one of those books that creeps under your skin and burrows its way into your brain. It ain’t leaving me anytime soon that’s for sure! It explores the obsession we have with living a perfect life through social media; how the platforms dictate and invade our lives and just how dangerous life can be when you give out the wrong signals to the wrong people.
The narrative is intense; it is dark and it is delicious; it will chill you to the bone as you follow these two damaged souls through their shared experience. As a blogger and reader I could giggle nervously and make some jokes about authors avoiding us lot at book festivals after reading this but while it’s relatable in sense of the setting and the situation it is not funny at all. It is bloody terrifying, it’s chilling and it is a very authentic picture of the impact that stalking and online harassment can cause. The incessant and persistent messaging, tags, mails and posts all add up to an unbearable pressure.
You might start reading this and give yourself a congratulatory pat on the back for having it all sussed out but hey it’s an Orenda book you are reading and you should know that there is never an easy way out! Nope, this will have your brain doing a merry little dance all the way through. It is contemporary, it is socially relevant and it is downright chilling.
Don’t bloody miss it!
Don’t forget to check out what the other bloggers are saying:
The Closer I Get is available to purchase from:
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 longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016 and was a bestseller at WH Smith. 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 The Guardian, The Independent, Time Out, The Times and The 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.