I am linking up with Vicki @ I’d Rather Be At The Beach who hosts a meme every Tuesday to share the First Chapter First Paragraph or two of the book you are currently reading or plan to read soon.
I read Karen Cleveland's first book, Need To Know, last year. Had a few annoyances with it, but finished it and decided that if she wrote another, I'd try it. Need To Know is the July selection for our mystery book group and I reread it recently. Many bloggers liked it better than I did and wished for a sequel. So far, Keep You Close is not a sequel, but it does have some references to characters from Need To Know. This week I'm highlighting:
by Karen Cleveland
The woman jolts awake, gasping, heart pounding. Gunshots echo in her head, ones conjured in sleep. She reaches for the other side of the bed, finds it empty. Only an indentation in the sheets, now cold.
She slips out of bed and shrugs on a robe. Pads quietly into the darkened hall, bare feet cold on the wood floor. She peers through the first open door. A boy sleeps soundly, his features barely visible by the light of the moon. On to the next door. A little girl asleep in a rainbow-colored room, a night-light casting a muted glow on her innocent face. Third door now. Twin boys, asleep in twin beds. One has a thumb in his mouth. The other is snuggled up with a tattered stuffed bear.
Faint sound from downstairs draws her onward. Television, the volume low. She glimpses the screen when she's halfway down the stairs. News, the twenty-four-hour kind. Russia. Election interference. The sort of story her husband can't stand, always shuts off.
Stephanie Maddox works her dream job policing power and exposing corruption within the FBI. Getting here has taken her nearly two decades of hard work, laser focus, and personal sacrifices—the most important, she fears, being a close relationship with her teenage son, Zachary. A single parent, Steph’s missed a lot of school events, birthdays, and vacations with her boy—but the truth is, she would move heaven and earth for him, including protecting him from an explosive secret in her past. It just never occurred to her that Zachary would keep secrets of his own.
One day while straightening her son’s room, Steph is shaken to discover a gun hidden in his closet. A loaded gun. Then comes a knock at her front door—a colleague on the domestic terrorism squad, who utters three devastating words: “It’s about Zachary.”
So begins a compulsively readable thriller of deception and betrayal, as Stephanie fights to clear her son’s name, only to expose a shadowy conspiracy that threatens to destroy them both—and bring a country to its knees. Packed with shocking twists and intense family drama, Keep You Close is an electrifying exploration of the shattering consequences of the love that binds—and sometimes blinds—a mother and her child.
What do you think? Would you keep reading? Karen Cleveland is a former CIA analyst. Some of the situations in both of her books are pretty scary...and probably entirely possible.