#BookReview “Closer Than She Knows” by Kelly Irvin



When a serial killer uses the names of the villains in her favorite murder mysteries to taunt her, life unravels for court reporter Teagan O’Rourke.

The written taunts are found each time the murderer takes the life of someone Teagan knows. Two women are murdered within hours of each, and the killer promises there will be more… including Teagan.

Her siblings—all members of law enforcement—scramble to keep her safe, but Teagan doesn’t want to be protected or play the victim. When her father, a retired detective and department consultant, figures out the killings are connected to another serial killer he sent to prison, she wants in on the investigation.

As witnesses are questioned and court records combed, Teagan is thrown for another loop when an attempt is made on the life of Max Kennedy, the man she loves but refuses to commit to.

Well-written with a steady pace, this read has a solid plot and good subplots. As each layer of mystery is lifted, the killer seems more out of reach and no one knows who or where he will strike next.

However, I had issues with two points.

Despite the O’Rourke family’s close connections to law enforcement, I found it incredible that so much information was allowed outside of the department, that members of the department held meetings in-home for the family, and that Teagan was allowed to be part of all of it.

Teagan O’Rourke is my other issue.

An only child, Teagan lost her mother at a young age and felt betrayed by her father when he remarries a woman with three children—betrayal she keeps close to the vest for the most part.

A woman of faith, the passive woman didn’t follow her father into law enforcement… but two of her step-siblings did and another went into law. This makes Teagan feel ‘set apart’ and is supposedly the reason for her determination to be independent.

To me, it just made her annoying.

Teagan did all the “right” things… she went to church, volunteered with the youth, and invited others to church, but to me, her spirituality was reactive, not proactive. It was like a cloak left to her by her mother and grandmother she put on to shield herself from the ugliness in the world, especially some of the heinous crimes she transcribed in court. To me, Teagan was not God-led, but rather made her decisions and considered them God-accepted.

As a vet with PTSD and seven years sober from prescription drug abuse and alcoholism… AND a suicide attempt, Max was much more believable, leaning on his faith to see him through and not just calling on it to save him.

But, not connecting with the main character has never stopped me from enjoying a story, and as this one comes full circle, I couldn’t put it down. The killer craves media coverage and notoriety, and Teagan finally gives it to him… and he escalates before showing his hand.

To be honest, I figured out the “who” but not the “how” and I wasn’t ready for the reveal. Well done!

Readers of crime fiction and suspense will enjoy Closer Than She Knows.




A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home. Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim. Until now. A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels. Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out. As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer  

Book Details

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: June 9th 2020

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads



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