“Closer Than You Know” by Brad Parks follows people through their everyday lives in tranquil Shenandoah Valley. Everything appears to be serene; a childless family registers with Social Services to become a foster family. Melanie Barrick and her college student husband her work hard to support themselves and to make a home for their infant son. Chief deputy attorney Amy Kay is a competent and efficient prosecutor. Unfortunately, all is most definitely not peaceful in Shenandoah Valley, and things start to go terribly wrong; lives quickly deteriorate into chaos.
The reader sees the turmoil from various points of view. The problem is that while we desperately want to believe all the participants, some of them are not particularly reliable, and others are downright deceitful. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day lives become more complicated. Pieces of the puzzle emerge, but the pieces do not fit; no matter how hard people try to force them together. In the end, there are secrets, traumas and startling revelations that none of the players anticipated.
The characters make “Closer Than You Know” a compelling novel. Page after page is filled with suspense, action, and non-stop twists and turns. I absolutely could not put this book down. It kept me guessing at every turn. And, yes, Parks gives a nice shout-out to Carter Ross as well as to his favorite writing hangout Hardee’s.