Wotcha and welcome to my little review of Paul Burston‘s psychological thriller, The Closer I Get. Boy O’Blimey do I have a treat for you today. Oh yes, yes I do.
If you care to have a gander at the blurb below (not now, not now, we’ll get to it; I’m just saying), you will see that The Closer I Get is a dark and compelling story about online relationships gone wrong. A tale of buttons pressed and lives torn asunder. Ooh, that’s good word to add the the lexicon isn’t it: asunder. Say it with me: asssssunnnnderrrrr. Nice, huh? Where was I?
Seeing as this is, for the most part, a tale of asundered social media relationships I thought why not ask those very social media types to review this book for me? I know right? Genius or what? Yes yes, I do amaze even myself at times.
In a moment of madness I decided to throw it out there onto social media and see what the cat chat fl… flap chat chap…. chap chap cat ca… chat cat brings in through the chat cat-flap. Jeeez, I thought that would be simpler to write than say, but no 🙄
And so I turned to BookChatz – the bookish social media site. Now, it is entirely possible that you may never have heard of BookChatz. I know I hadn’t until I started writing this review. In fact, since completing my review it appears to have vanished without so much of a trace. Like a dead body in a maggot farm it has completely disappeared (only without the icky smell or the bones left behind). But I swear that it was there, as the following screen grabs shall attest. Crikey, I’m chucking great words about with gay abandon today: attest. Once more, say it with me: attesssssssssst. Lovely.
So, what am I gabbing on about? BookChatz is a place where book lovers, worshipers of the written word, purveyors of the printed page, fanciers of the front flap… um, maybe not that one… disciples of the dust-jacket, sectaries of the sentence, fans of fiction, nuts of the noun, acolytes of the, er, adverb? Oh, you get the bloody idea; it’s basically a social media site for bookworms and book lovers to articulate their bookish passions. There, that was easier.
I discovered it quite by chance whilst researching my review. I thought I needed to immerse myself into the darker corners of social media to get underneath the words, to the very beating heart of the pages, of this book. As it turned out most of the BookChatzzers, as they like to call themselves – not very snappy, I grant you – were lovely people and had quite a lot to say about The Closer I Get. Phew 😂
So, below I present to you some screen grabs I grabbed from my questions about The Closer I Get. I’ve edited them for clarity, removed some of the more, um, choice impressions, and interspersed them with some comments of my own in order to avoid spoilers and just to expand on some points. Please note that any typos, grammatical errors or annoying syntax is entirely the fault of the user and has nothing at all to do with me, your faithful favourite beardy book blogger ☺️
But before all of that guffery, have yourself some blurrrrrrrrb:
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…
Today you are very excited. Today is the day that you take your first ride by yourself in your new Level 5 autonomous car. It’s dead flash. You’ve been shown how to programme the sat nav by the very helpful and overly toothsome salesperson, and now it is sitting proudly on your driveway after having driven itself here from the showroom. How swish is that? No fuss with collecting it, it was just waiting there when you got home from work. Totes amaze beans. You climb inside and stare at all of the lights and displays that confront you. After a spot of trial and error you locate the sat nav, speak your destination – no more typing anymore – and sit back to enjoy your ride. You even have a celebratory Pimms in your hand because drink driving is a thing of the past. You’ve also taken the liberty of bringing your favourite jigsaw with you just because you could and it fits perfectly onto the little retractable table. Awesome. The car trundles off as smooth as you like and without any noise at all. It feels odd at first, but you soon forget the feeling as you get stuck into your jigsaw. Those 2000 pieces ain’t gonna jig themselves together. You are just basking in the satisfaction of fitting two particularly troublesome pieces together when suddenly the car lurches left. What the…? Then it lurches right. Your Pimms spills all over the new seats. Well, that’s gonna stain and that piece of cucumber will be a bugger to retrieve. Over the next 40 minutes your car zigs and zags, turning sharply left and right, then back on itself and diagonally across fields and over gardens. You are scared stiff as you have absolutely no control over the car at all. People in other cars screech to a halt and pedestrians and gardeners leap out of the way yelling obscenities as you pass by. Eventually the car comes to a sudden stop, throwing you forwards into the control console. Dazed and covered in jigsaw pieces you stare at the sat nav display screen. Where the hell are you? What? You’re miles from home. What the hell happened? You’ll be calling the overly toothsome salesperson right away to complain in the sternest of fashions. You try to work out where you are and so you zoom the map out a bit. Then a bit more. Then a bit more. Your route is traced in red all over the county, but your shock and anger is slowly replaced by amazement and confusion as you look at the red line and begin to realise that it appears to form a pattern. You zoom out even further. How could it…? Is that…? Yes, yes it looks like it is. Good grief… It’s a blurb:
‘When someone hacks into the systems of eight self-drive cars, their passengers are set on a fatal collision course.
The passengers are: a TV star, a pregnant young woman, a disabled war hero, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife – and parents of two – who are travelling in separate vehicles and a suicidal man. Now the public have to judge who should survive but are the passengers all that they first seem?’
Gooooooooooood morning Beardy Blog fans. Or, if you are reading this in the afternoon, gooooooooooood afternoon Beardy Blog fans. Or if you happen to be reading this in the evening, goooooooooooood evening Beardy Blog fans. Or, if you… oh, you get the flippin’ idea with that.
Today I am guessing that you are here to read my review of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech, no? If you haven’t then may I suggest you take this opportunity to leave now? I’m sure you will have better things to do. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
But if you are here for the review then WELCOME, and boy do I have a treat for you.
A treat you say? Oooh, I imagine you’re saying next, what could he mean by that?
Well, today you will be witness to the very first Beardy Book Blog… phone-in! That’s right, you read that correctly; a phone-in. I have been working tirelessly, tirelessly I tell you, to set up my very own radio station, just for this very review. I shall be asking the listeners to phone-in their very own thoughts about this wonderful book.
Now, I know what you are thinking: hold up you hairy buffoon, this is a written blog, how are we supposed to phone-in?
Well, I have thought of that actually and, obviously it’ll, ummm, clearly there will have to, um, I mean it goes without saying that, errr…….. shut up! Excellent, now we’ve cleared that up…
I’m very excited. Oh, I do hope that nothing goes wrong *crosses fingers emoji*
But first, let’s have a word from our wonderful sponsors: Blurbnation – Taking the blah blah out of blurbs…
“Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…”
The throbbing, pulsating beats of the dance music are really not your thing at all. They reverberate throughout your entire body, the bass making it almost hard to breathe at times, but despite yourself you are having a good time. The club is bustling with men, women, and all those in between, gyrating and throwing shapes upon the sticky, sweaty dance floor. Maybe it’s the drink taking effect, but you are actually having a fun time. You’ve already caught the eyes of several potential admirers, not that you’d have the energy, or inclination, to do anything about it. Still, this is a new feeling and it’s a good one. Above the floor a huge glitterball slowly rotates throwing shards of sparkling incandescence across the walls and the ceiling and onto the hot sweating bodies lost in the music all around you.
As the night draws to a close the club is looking very empty now. Unfortunately you’re stuck here until the end as your friend is the night’s DJ and you promised to help them pack up their gear.
As you recline against the wall you stand transfixed as the glitterball continues to reflect the light in tiny iridescent tesserae all around you. As you continue to stare at it, mesmerised by the many rainbow colours, you start to notice something odd. You look around to see if anyone else has noticed this strange effect, but the few remaining clubbers are off their tits too much to notice anything anymore. You crane your neck back up and stare at the light dancing across the ceiling. Yes, your eyes do not deceive you, those really are words dancing above you, revealing a blurb sparkling above your head:
SOME RELATIONSHIPS ARE JUST MURDER
It’s 1985, and Joe Stone is excited to be joining his old school friend, and lifelong crush, Chris, for a long weekend in London’s Soho—home to a vibrant, developing gay scene, and a million miles from the small town where Joe and Chris grew up.
When Chris is found brutally murdered, the police write his death off as just another rent boy fallen foul of a bad hook up. But Joe knows his friend was killed deliberately, and joins forces with former police detective, Russell Dixon—Chris’s flatmate—to find out why.
Spiralling debt, illicit sex, blackmail, spurned lovers and hard-nosed gangsters all play their part, but who among the celebrities, fashionistas, drag queens, ex-lovers and so-called friends is Chris’s killer?
A noirish whodunnit set in 1980s London, with all the big hair, electro-pop, shoulder pads, police discrimination and lethal killers that the era had to offer.
So #Fahrenbruary is over. The month long Fahrenheit celebration comes to a shuddering halt, for this year at least. How was it for you? Personally, I am pooped. Seriously, my brain is going into a kind of hibernation right now – like a tortoise after a particularly busy summer spent eating cabbage and an especially tough bit of carrot. But would I change it in any way?
It’s been a terrific month in every way. Yes it’s been hard work, bloody hard work, but it has also been very, very rewarding and huge fun.
Welcome to the Penultimate day of this years #Fahrenbruary. Yes, can you Adam and believe it… we are at Day 27. Where the heck did it all go eh?
What do I have for you lucky people today then? Well, today I present to you a very special Q&A. Why is it special? Well I’ll tell you why, because today I bring you a Q&A with non other than the man who has brought us some of the darkest, most disturbing and experimental noir this side of… er… this side of the… um… other side of something else that brought us some pretty dark noir, I can tell you. Yes, you should see that side now… all hanging its head in shame and feeling pretty silly with itself that someone else has come along and trumped them in the dark noir stakes.
Ha! Take that other side of… thingy.
But I fear that I am digressing a tad.
Who is this man with what of whom I speak?
Who is this dark genius with an eye for that which others fear to publish?
Who is it who dares to laugh in the face of traditional publishing and chuckle at the cheeks of conventionality?
How long does he dare to leave his biscuit in his hot drink before taking it out?
Where does he keep his soul?
And how on earth does he pronounce ‘scone’?
The man holding all of the answers to the above is… Chris Black.
Quite possibly you will never have heard of him. Maybe you are about to hit the back button on your browser thinking, “meh, I care not for this Chris Black person. I’m going to go back to reading my [insert title here] published by the excellent Fahrenheit 13!”
Well, STOP RIGHT THERE, STRANGER!
For you see, Chris Black is the very man responsible for bringing you that book and author of which you are so desperate to return to.
For Chris Black IS Mr. Fahrenheit 13.
Totes way. Now I have your interest, huh? Not so eager to run away now then, are we? So, dear reader, cast you eyes down below (no, not that down below, seriously, filth!) and find out more about who Chris really is.
Enjoy. TBBB X
Hello you lovely people and a very warm and squidgy welcome to the Beardy Book Blog for what is Day 26 of #Fahrenbruary.
You may be wondering what delights I have in store for you today, well, you can wonder no more for today I bring to you a Q&A from the king of transgressive noir himself, Mark Ramsden.
Mark is the author of the sexily naughty and spanktastic noir novel ‘Mistress Murder‘. I reviewed this book on Day 25, which, rather conveniently, was also yesterday. You can check out that very review riiiiiiiiiiiiight…….. here!
Well, I bet that got your blood a-pumpin’, eh? I wager that that has got you wondering what kind of person possesses the sort of mind to come up with such a saucy story and wantonly flings words such as ‘rootle’ and ‘bottom’ about in the same sentence, huh?
Well today I hope we can clear up some of the questions you may have as we plunge into the mind of Mark.
Don’t be scared! Join us….