My enormous thanks to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Keep Your Friends Close by June Taylor and to Finn Cotton for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.
It’s almost two years since June Taylor was last on Linda’s Book Bag when her first psychological thriller Losing Juliet had just been published by Harper Collins Killer Reads. You can read that interview here. and I’m delighted to welcome June back again to introduce her latest book. I also have my review to share with you too.
Staying in with June Taylor
Welcome back to Linda’s Book Bag, June. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.
Thank you for inviting me. Lovely to be here again.
As if I couldn’t guess, tell me June, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
I’m bringing Keep Your Friends Close, my second psychological thriller published by HarperCollins Killer Reads. It came out in ebook on 26th October 2018. (Paperback 10th January 2019).
(Oo. Belated Keep Your Friends Close happy ebook publication day June.)
It’s another standalone so you don’t need to have read the first one (but by all means do!) I think Keep Your Friends Close is perfect for the darker winter nights. So just make sure the front door is locked, curl up by the fire and get comfortable. Expect to stay up late though as you may want to keep going until the last page is turned.
(I can agree whole heartedly. I thoroughly enjoyed Keep Your Friends Close and have my review to share in a little while. I’ll definitely be keeping my door locked!)
So what can we expect from an evening with Keep Your Friends Close?
Well I like thrillers that delve deep into characters’ minds, so it does get quite claustrophobic and tense at times. I wouldn’t say it’s scary, but it’s an uncomfortable and unsettling read for sure, with a few surprises along the way. The main character is Karin, a young woman with a turbulent past who’s beginning to put her life back together. But on her twenty-second birthday, everything changes. The past won’t let go and if her ex catches up with her she knows that things could start to unravel pretty quickly. Only it’s worse than she ever imagined when one of her friends is murdered.
(I know those who’ve yet to read Keep Your Friends Close will find this intriguing June.)
It’s hard to say a great deal without giving away spoilers!
(I agree – I struggled not to give anything away in my review! Everyone will just have to read it for themselves!)
Yes. But you know the saying: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Well hopefully this book will keep you second guessing.
(It will indeed!)
What else have you brought along and why?
I made a big bowl of popcorn because I think reading a good thriller should be like watching a movie. Only better in a way. If the writer has done a good job then there’s no better place than your own imagination.
You’ve certainly done a good job with Keep Your Friends Close June. Thanks so much for staying in and explaining a little bit more about it. I’ll share the book details and then you can read my review!
Keep Your Friends Close
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…
An addictive and shocking psychological thriller, full of twists you won’t see coming.
A friend who won’t let you escape.
When Karin is taken on a romantic break by her loving partner Aaron, she can’t wait for him to propose. But her surprise weekend quickly becomes a nightmare from which she may never escape.
Who wants everything you have.
They are staying by the beach at the Midland – a grand hotel where Karin used to work. And where Karin’s dangerous and obsessive ex, whom she has been trying to leave behind for years, is waiting patiently for her to return.
Who won’t stop until your life is in ruins.
Now all of Karin’s darkest secrets are being dragged into the light and her friends are turning against her. When one of them is murdered, Karin begins to realise just how treacherous relationships can be…
My Review of Keep Your Friends Close
Life is vastly improved for Karin – but will it stay that way?
Crikey! Keep Your Friends Close is a twisty, keep the reader guessing until the final full stop kind of thriller. I found it exciting and compelling so that I didn’t want to leave it when ordinary life got in the way.
I can’t say too much about the plot as it relies on perfectly plausible though still shocking surprises, but I will say it is brilliantly thought through and skilfully delivered making for a very entertaining read.
I thought the characterisation was excellent. Because of the title I had my suspicions about every one of the people in this story, some of which were realised and some of which weren’t (but again I can’t say more). I found my reader response to Karin fascinating because I vacillated in my opinion of her throughout. At times I admired her, hated her, thought she was strong, pathetic (in the true sense of the word), self-centered, generous, intelligent and stupid and by the end of Keep Your Friends Close I still hadn’t made up my mind about her. She’s certainly a complex individual. I think it says something about the skill of a writer when the reader continues to contemplate the people they have created long after reading the book in the way June Taylor has here.
I thought the themes and issues underpinning the fast paced plot were so good. There’s an intelligent exploration of how our past can affect us, and of how we can manipulate and affect others and in turn allow ourselves to be manipulated and affected by them. Guilt, betrayal, obsession, identity, and trust are all woven throughout and I really appreciated the sympathetic presentation of the homeless who are an important aspect of Keep Your Friends Close. June Taylor exemplifies just how easy it is to spiral into difficult circumstances.
I’m not sure what I was expecting from Keep Your Friends Close, but what I found was a hugely rewarding read that kept me gripped from the first page to the last. It’s a super read.
About June Taylor
June Taylor is a UK psychological thriller writer. For many years she was a TV promos writer/producer before turning to writing plays and fiction. She was runner-up in the 2011Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction competition with her YA novel. Her debut Adult psychological thriller Losing Juliet was nominated for the Not the Booker Prize 2017.
Keep Your Friends Close is June’s second psychological thriller for the Harper Collins Killer Reads imprint.
June is active in her local writing scene, including serving on the Board of Script Yorkshire and taking part in Leeds Big bookend.
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