Don´t ask me why I wanted this thriller. The author is completely new to me, and the cover, as fitting as it is for the story, didn´t speak to me at all. Guess it was the summary that sounded very intriguing, that made me ask for it. Good, it wasn´t as nerve-wracking as I was told it would be. And the story didn´t get me from the start, but then …. I couldn´t put it down. One of the very few overnight reads that I had in 2018.

Ich Vernichte Dich*
by Brad Parks
Translation Irene Eisenhut
Original Title Closer Than You Know*
Publisher Fischer TB on November 28, 2018
Genre Thriller
Pages 473
Format Softcover
Source Publisher

Melanie is a good mother. She loves her child and her husband. But now they have taken her son. Her apartment was searched. She is said to have hidden cocaine in the nursery and offered her child for sale on the Internet. Stupid reproaches, but how can she get rid of it? Someone wants to destroy her. Someone who has the power to do it. Does she even have a chance? (personal translation by ©Vi at Inkvotary)
Melanie is late. Very late to pick up her little son from daycare. And doesn´t know what to think or feel when she hears that he was earlier taken out by a social worker. The moment she realizes that he´s in the system now, as she was during her childhood, gives her the chills. She is shocked when she hears one of the many reasons why he was taken away from her. And back in a nightmare, she thought she´d had left behind when she finally finds out the real reason why her son was taken.

Brad Parks´ writing style is short and tells you only what´s necessary for you to know at the time. Right from the beginning, you get to know the evil, though you don´t know it at that moment. No name, no face, no nothing. Only the threat of danger that´s hanging between the lines. The story is fast-paced and mainly told through Melanie´s view. But you also get to see how the prosecution office is working and what the assistant of the prosecutor is thinking, doing. and why. And while reading, a life, and fate unfold right in front of your eyes, that is blunt, shocking, and not always nice to see. The author has a real talent to give you details that shock you as well as make you shake your head in disbelieve. And if some things from this thriller are the reality in Virginia, I can only hope that no one will ever experience what the main figure here has to go through. That was frightening. 

Melanie is a strong young woman, who just became a mother. She works hard and knows only too well how it feels to be in the system. She was taken away from her parents as a little child but brought back to them from time to time. Learned the hard way that once in the system it´s almost impossible to get out again. And when her son is taken, and she hears days after the reason why she´s shocked. I was impressed by how she thought her way through, and how naïve she was in some ways. The combination was fascinating. 

The end was a complete surprise. The story didn´t turn out the way I thought it would and I was left with a numb feeling. There was some sort of happy ending, yes, but the reason why all the bad had happened was not really satisfying. At least not for me. But nonetheless, I was well entertained and couldn´t put it down. For thriller fans or those who want to become one an absolute recommendation.

Happy reading

*This thriller was published Closer Than You Know by Dutton on March 6, 2018 

Brad Parks
Brad Parks ©Sara Harris Photography

International bestselling author Brad Parks is the only writer to have won the Shamus, Nero, and Lefty Awards, three of crime fiction´s most prestigious prizes. A former reporter with The Washington Post and The Star-Ledger (Newark), he lives in Virginia with his wife and two children. 


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