Review of CLOSER THAN YOU KNOW By Brad Parks

Brad Parks
March 2018

This is one hell of a ride, and one that is impossible to get off until the very last page. Anxiety swelled in my chest from the word go, but I couldn’t put it down.

Melanie Barrick grew up in the system. But she’s made good now, after years of bouncing from one foster home to care facility to another, even living in her car for a while. But she has a loving husband and new baby Alex. Both parents dote on the little boy even though he’s the product of the night Melanie was raped by the Whisper Rapist.

But disaster strikes again when Melanie goes to pick up Alex from daycare and learns that he has been put into foster care. Shattered to learn that her son is about to suffer exactly what Melanie did as a child, Melanie will go to any length to get her son back. She soon learns the Sherriff’s department has found a kilo of cocaine hidden in their home, and have received an anonymous tip that Melanie was trying to sell her baby on the black market. Unless she can find evidence to the contrary, Melanie won’t be seeing Alex again any time soon.

At the same time, Assistant DA Amy Kaye is investigating the whisper rapist. She’s put together that there have been multiple rapes over a number of years, but she’s never had any leads on a suspect. And her media-hungry boss is reluctant to let her pursue the case, even though she’s pulling all the weight around the office.

But soon, the two cases collide.

Parks writes insightful characterizations of people and places—with a few apt descriptors, the people step from the page in 3D. And he brilliantly creates empathy for the main character and her plight—by the end of the novel I felt as though I had survived some disaster as well. He creates tension from the start and maintains that anxiety and quick pacing throughout. There were some truly clever twists, and watching the two storylines come together was a thing of beauty—and it had a very satisfying ending. Get to your nearest bookstore and pre-order this one.
Erica Ruth Neubauer