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Publisher's Summary

Brad Parks delivers another riveting, emotionally powerful stand-alone domestic suspense thriller perfect for fans of The Couple Next Door and What She Knew. 

Disaster, Melanie Barrick was once told, is always closer than you know.

It was a lesson she learned the hard way growing up in the constant upheaval of foster care. But now that she's survived into adulthood - with a loving husband, a steady job, and a beautiful baby boy named Alex - she thought that turmoil was behind her.

Until one Tuesday evening when she goes to pick up Alex from childcare only to discover he's been removed by Social Services. And no one will say why. It's a terrifying scenario for any parent, but doubly so for Melanie, who knows the unintended horrors of what everyone coldly calls "the system".

Her nightmare mushrooms when she arrives home to learn her house has been raided by sheriff's deputies, who have found enough cocaine to send Melanie to prison for years. The evidence against her is overwhelming, and if Melanie can't prove her innocence, she'll lose Alex forever.

Meanwhile, assistant commonwealth's attorney Amy Kaye - who has been assigned Melanie's case - has her own troubles. She's been dogged by a cold case no one wants her to pursue: a serial rapist who has avoided detection by wearing a mask and whispering his commands. Over the years, he has victimized dozens of women.

Including Melanie. Yet now her attacker might be the key to her salvation...or her undoing.

©2018 Brad Parks (P)2018 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 03-08-18

Emotionally charged suspense mystery!

Closer Than You Know is a very special novel that doubtless deserves awards. The complex plot is charged with emotion, suspense, and some remarkable plot twists. The characters are so vivid the listener sees them in his/her mind. I've listened to most Brad Parks' novels and rated all of them 5 stars, but this book deserves even more. Most legal thrillers have a lawyer as protagonist; Closer Than You Know has a victim of the legal system as protagonist. Brad Parks has written a novel of almost 14 hours in length in which there are no wasted words, phrases or scenes; the novel is riveting from beginning to conclusion. Emily Rankin's narration is superb.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Now this is SUSPENSE!!!!

I really enjoy Brad Parks and have recently completed his Carter Ross series which I recommend along with his other stand alone Say Nothing.
The publisher's summary gives a great description to this book. To say any more would give away the story. What you don't get from this is the nail biting, heart racing anger and frustration the mother (Melanie Barrick) must have been feeling when she finds her son was removed by social services from his daycare provider. Or the "perfect couple" who fostered her her three month old son. Or that the protagonist grew up in foster care and knows how cruel the system can be.
The characters are so fleshed out you know them like a neighbor You know where they've been and what they want to do with their lives.
The descriptions are vivid. You can actually SEE the devastation of Melanie's home following the search by the police. There's just something a little too perfect about the case against Melanie and the evidence too airtight. Add that the district attorney wants to rush this to trial and the assistant DA already knows her from a serial rapist who is terrorizing the community.
Emily Rankin does an outstanding job narrating. She gets the emotions just right.
This book has my HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION!
If you found this review helpful please indicate so.
Thank You.

22 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Will
  • Piscataway
  • 03-19-18

Emily Rankin is a Star!

What made the experience of listening to Closer Than You Know the most enjoyable?

Emily Rankin, narrated this like her life depended on it. She made each character pop, I've listened to several audiobooks, and I'm embarrassed this is the first time I've listened to a book she's done. Unbelievable performance.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Ben, Melanie's husband. There's a point in the story where he really surprised me. He reminds me of myself, I really related to his character.

What does Emily Rankin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

EVERYTHING!! Emily is a freakin STAR!!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, Melanie's Lawyer, starts playing Chess, when the prosecution was playing checkers, don't want to be a spoiler so I will leave it at that.

Any additional comments?

I'm a huge Brad Parks fan, and this book was everything I expected from him. Well written story I enjoyed this.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • kathy
  • jasper, GA, United States
  • 03-18-18

Good entertainment, but not believable

The narrator was incredible. The characters were well defined. The plot kept you guessing. For me, I just could not believe all the bad that happened to mother. Child protective services, the police, attorneys, and anyone knowing anything about her, would never have believed she had anything to do with all of the charges she was convicted of. Having said that, I still enjoyed the book and really enjoy Brad Parks' writing. I will continue to read his books. Sometimes we just need to be entertained with way off the Richter scale storylines!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • TC
  • 03-23-18

Very Long Yawn of a Story

Many many hours of a boring tale read by a narrator with a saccharine voice that put me to sleep. Preposterous things happen, out of the blue and totally out of character, to a woman who has never been in trouble in her life, and everyone is too stupid to figure it out. So many things in this book were totally ridiculous. I finished it, hoping it would get better. It didn’t.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Trista
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 03-15-18

I've read much better

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I don't think I would. I was a bit annoyed.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

It was somewhat annoying. I find a story more enjoyable when the plot is somewhat reasonable. I don't like it when law enforcement look like idiots.

Which scene was your favorite?

none

Did Closer Than You Know inspire you to do anything?

write this review

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ridiculous and melodramatic

What would have made Closer Than You Know better?

This book is badly in need of an editor. It is overwrought, repetitive, and ridiculous. All the investigative work is done by the protagonist, her husband, and the DA, while law enforcement stand by and do nothing at all. Characters are one-dimensional and hard to care about.

Has Closer Than You Know turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not at all. But I will avoid any other books by this author.

Would you be willing to try another one of Emily Rankin’s performances?

Yes, if she were given better material to work with. She would be great on a TV soap opera (which this book essentially is)

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It kept my husband and me laughing during a long, dull car trip. Great book to satirize and talk back to.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful