KEEP HER CLOSE – (DS JOSIE MASTERS – BOOK#2)
It’s six months since DS Josie Masters saved her nephew from the clutches of the killer clown, but she’s still haunted by that terrible night. The Thames Valley police force, however, regard Jo as a hero – much to the jealousy of some of her colleagues.
When a young girl goes missing from Jesus College, Jo is assigned to the case, along with new recruit, the handsome DS Pryce. The city of Oxford goes into turmoil when two more girls disappear from Oriel and Somerville, and Josie soon realises that the killer is spelling out her own initials in a deadly game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?
In a race against time, Jo hunts for the killer – but soon realises he could be a lot closer to home than she’d realised…
He studied English and Classics at Oxford University before working in publishing for many years.
He loves thrillers, historical and fantasy titles
He writes for both adults and children.
M.J. Ford discusses DS Josie Masters here
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“Dr. Forster kept a box of tissues on the table, and for the last five weeks Detective Jo Masters had managed not to reach for a single one. It had become a point of principle during their sessions, a way of telling herself she was above all this. So she’d remained stubbornly dry-eyed through all five, sixty-minute meetings, even though they’d touched on plenty of painful subjects, personal and professional – her relationships with her parents, her brother, her colleagues, her aspirations, and her fears. And Ben, of course. Lots of Ben. The psychologist was surgical at times, probing with questions that slipped almost unfelt, like a scalpel blade into the deepest recesses of her past, exposing places, incidents, and people she hadn’t thought about for years.”
“Jo should have known the DCI would be listening in. He shook his head several times in a way that reminded Jo of her nephew Will, when he’d been three years old in his high-chair, refusing mashed cauliflower, even though she’d pretended it was a train and his mouth was a tunnel, complete with chugging sound effects.”
“Most missing person cases did get solved, because most of the time the missing didn’t want to stay that way.”
“All it took though was a psychopath with the right opportunity. When a person was unencumbered by a moral compass, they really were capable of anything.”
MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
“They’ll always be two steps ahead of you”
Please don’t be put off reading this excellent police procedural / crime thriller, for me fully deserving of my 4 star rating, by what I am about to say …
Whilst, if you read Keep Her Close for what it is, it does work fine as a stand alone story, I personally feel that I would have benefitted hugely by having read its predecessor Hold My Hand, as the two stories are inextricably linked. Either that, or it would have made a tremendous difference if, in addition to the epilogue with which M.J. Ford has so generously concluded Keep Her Close, he might have considered furnishing any potential reader with a short prologue outlining past events and relationships, rather than often disjointedly, drip-feeding small insights throughout the narrative and dialogue.
All that said (and that is of course just my own personal point of view, which is what can make reviewing a book a very subjective exercise!), and despite one small hole in the storyline which I couldn’t correlate, but which I won’t mention here, as it would involve a massive ‘spoiler’, I still thoroughly enjoyed Keep Her Close and deem it worthy of the 4 stars I have awarded it.
I could instantly relate to Michael’s storytelling style with its strong narrative and dialogue, and his great characterisations which were so compelling that I could almost hear and visualize each individual stood before me as I was reading!
Of course for me, any crime thriller set in and around Oxford, has much to live up to, walking as it does in the footsteps of the late, great, ‘Morse’, but after the first few pages I was so engrossed that I almost didn’t give it a second thought.
There was also a good equal split between a plot and character driven story, which doesn’t often happen and made for a refreshing balance of emphasis.
There was never a dull moment in the fast-paced, heart-stopping action, which was narrated almost exclusively from the perspective of the police and their procedural tactics. The plot itself was very singular and focus driven, whilst at the same time being deep, multi-layered and definitely very troubling. I had my list of suspects, which grew and then dwindled, as I eliminated them from my enquiries. I was left with two names towards the end, but then it became obvious who the real antagonist was, yet I am still unsure whether this would have been the name I would have plumped for or not, if I had needed to guess!
None of the characters were particularly likeable, easy to connect with and definitely not emotionally well balanced, but then, their vulnerabilities were the fuel for the story, igniting the flames for me! Without their irritating ways, double standards in their professional dealings and raw disturbing turmoil in their personal lives, the plot wouldn’t have remained as finely balanced and compelling as it did, until almost the very last page.
Having tarred Josie with the same epithet as all her fellow characters in this case, I do still have high hopes for this as a continuing series and very much look forward to seeing her make the progress she deserves in her professional life and the finding the happiness she is constantly searching for in her private life. By the end of the book, things on both fronts seem to be getting off to a flying start, however such is Josie’s luck, that I’m not holding my breath!
Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.