#BookReview of The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @paulburston @annecater @orendabooks #blogtour #TheCloserIGet #BigSummerReads #BookContenderfortheYear

Posted July 16, 2019 by Zoé in Book Reviews, Reviews and Stuff / 4 Comments

#BookReview of The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @paulburston @annecater @orendabooks #blogtour #TheCloserIGet #BigSummerReads #BookContenderfortheYear

The Closer I Get by Paul Burston
Published by Orenda Books on May 11 2019
Pages: 276

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…

I have been so excited to read this book and by the time my review hits your screen, I have been and gone to the book launch too! I was soooooo excited!! So here were a few pictures from the launch!

Some awesome people right there! I was over the moon to meet Paul, may have been a bit giddy! I met so many awesome people but didn’t get enough photos 😢

My Review

I am not sure if I have any new words to review this book that has not already been said but I can only but try. Have I already mentioned how excited I was about reading this book? It truly did not disappoint me, Paul got me hooked from the opening pages. I really did not want to put the book but I did not want to rush it, well mainly being ill hasn’t helped, but I wanted to savour every word on every page. I was enthralled with this story of Evie and Tom, Tom and Evie. This dark tale of obsession and the power of an unrequited love resonates so much through The Closer I Get. Recently it was shared on social media an interview that Paul had done in the Guardian. It was a heartbreaking and brave account of his personal struggle with being stalked by someone, so this book does feel like a partial autobiography adding to the power of the written word. Paul has crafted a book that will unsettle you and have you looking over your shoulder. He pulls you in from the opening pages, each page you read is just a bit more unsettling, a bit more terrifying. I was dying to see how everything would play out because surely it could not get any darker….could it?

Well hello to Evie, someone that I feel everyone could relate a tiny bit with. I mean I completely fangirl when an author acknowledges me on social media, comments on my posts etc. You get a buzz, a thrill from that small amount of recognition and at the beginning, I sat there and thought WOW I’m Evie!! However, I have not taken up stalking, I mean I draw the line somewhere ……promise! The problem we have with Evie, and later with Tom, is that the lines become blurry. Who is telling the truth when it comes to their day in court? What secrets are being hidden?

Both lives are completely changed from the outcome of that day, none of it seems to be for the good. Both are heading down a dark and twisty path with very little signs of redemption, a lot of questionable actions and neither of them very likeable. But this doesn’t matter, it’s the intrigue of how their lives get so entwined together, what is keeping them together?

Tom is such a flawed man, he is far from privileged but sometimes he acts above his station. To him, some people are a means to an end and only he can make that decision. I mean who gave him that right? His reaction, for example, to the way Evie is now being “trolled” on Social media, is cold and callous even his best friend Emma cannot grasp it. Months and months of being stalked and tortured by this mentally unstable woman, and he can not fathom any remorse for what is now happening to her. Now don’t get me wrong part of me completely gets this, I mean why should he? He has suffered at her hands, he’s been made to feel like he is slowly losing the plot, so surely he’s entitled to some payback to her now being trolled. However, I felt remorse for her, no one should suffer the backlash like she had, especially if she is mentally unstable, this has the potential to do way more damage and something should be done to help. Tom, however, does not see any of this as his problem and why should he?

I enjoyed watching this unfurl from Tom and Evie’s point of view throughout the story. Tom, retreating to Hastings (only down the road from me!) to finish his book and creates an unlikely friendship with Colin, all the while struggling with the day to day and relying on the alcohol and cigarettes to get him through as he feels he is slowly losing his mind. Evie’s story is told through the letters/emails that she writes to Tom but never send due to her restraining order, trying to explain her position. Through this, the anger that they both feel is palpable and the sense of foreboding is so strong throughout you just do not have a clue what is going to happen and when the storm will roll on in. I felt on edge continuously, I seriously could not relax! It was intense and my emotions were all over the place. I was indifferent with both characters and I could not always figure out where Emma, Tom’s best friend, fit into all of this until that last piece of the jigsaw slotted home.

The Closer I Get also completely knocks the ball out of the park and amplifies the dangers of social media. Who is the keyboard warrior hiding behind their screens? How well do we know people? In the blogging community, you make a lot of virtual friends with the hope you do becomes friends in real life. But do you ever know who is the person behind the profile picture? I love Twitter, not that I really understand it, for the social aspect, but it is easy to see how one wrong word fuels a Halestorm of misconceptions. This is amplified here, with the trolling, the retweets, nothing is sacred or hidden for long. It really does make me wonder, do I need to deactivate mine before it’s too late??

For me this is one of my books of the year, it has everything I need from a book and it is a book that has not left me since finishing the final words. I really do recommend this to everyone and I have been shouting about this since I finished it!

Did I like this book? Erm…No… I bloody LOVED it. Why? Well, it’s hard to put into words why. The characters are unlikeable, the theme is dark and unsettling, there is so much tension in the book and above all it keeps you hooked until the end. I don’t feel like I had a respite at the end! It is the sort of book I would recommend reading on a dark cold rainy night, with a blanket and a blinking large glass of wine, maybe some merlot, all the while savouring the tantalising tale in front of you.

Until next time xxx

Follow the rest of the tour here

Thank you so much to Anne at Random Things Tours for the tour invite and the author for a copy of this book in return for my honest and unbiased review

About Paul Burston

Paul Burston is the author of five novels and the editor of two short story
collections. His most recent novel The Black Path, was a WHSmith bestseller.
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 Guardian, Independent, Time Out, The Times and 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 and the newly announced Polari Prize

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4 responses to “#BookReview of The Closer I Get by Paul Burston @paulburston @annecater @orendabooks #blogtour #TheCloserIGet #BigSummerReads #BookContenderfortheYear

  1. Woohoo my darling girl, you are back to Reviews. I bought the book yesterday 💃💃 this came so highly recommended that I had to get it. Fantastic review (when are your reviews not fantastic?)

    • Zoé

      Ah i am not completely back, but i was going to the launch so couldn’t not read it and review it. Still no tours in july for reviews but have some reviews coming from earlier this year – playing catch up. Oh Shalini, you truly are too kind! <3