Source: Review copy
Publication: 7 March 2019 from Avon
Someone is playing a deadly game…
When a young woman goes missing from Jesus College, Oxford, DS Josie Masters is plunged into a world of panic as fear grips the city. Along with Thames Valley Police’s newest recruit, the handsome DS Pryce, Josie must act fast – and when two more students disappear from Oriel and Somerville colleges, she realises the killer is sending her a deadly message in a cruel game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?
In a desperate race against the clock, Josie hunts for the kidnapper, and soon discovers he could be a lot closer to home than she’d ever thought…
Keep Her Close is the second book by M.J. Ford to feature D.S. Josie Masters.I had not read the first, Hold My Hand, but there is sufficient backstory given in the book for that not to be any problem.
Keep Her Close takes place 6 months after the tragic events that saw Josie and her family go through some deeply traumatic events for which Josie is still receiving mandatory counselling, though she’s not convinced it’s doing her any good.
Now, having resumed her role at Thames Valley Police, Josie has to investigate the case of a girl who has gone missing from Oxford’s Oriel College. All the signs are that she has not left of her own free will.
D.S. Jack Pryce hasn’t put a foot wrong since he joined the force and he’s the Chief Inspector’s new blue eyed boy.
Then the body of another young woman, a cleaner at the University also disappears, this time from Somerville College. Josie and Jack have to try and work out what these women have in common – what is the link that could help them find the motivation for this crime?
I enjoy a good police procedural and although Josie is much too stroppy, or at least a cross between angry and stroppy, to do what she is told by her superiors, her instincts are good, except, it seems, when it comes to men.
I enjoyed the interweaving of Josie’s less than satisfactory personal relationships with her professional life; they have in common that Josie is a woman who does not trust easily.
The plot is nicely paced and the action unfolds in a way that makes it difficult to second guess who the perpetrator might be and what is driving them. Every time you think you know what’s round the next corner, M.J.Ford deviates from the path you are on and leads you down another alleyway.
By the time we have three missing women, Josie is beginning to realise that all of this is somehow pointing back at her. This case is more personal than could ever have imagined, and it may just bring her face to face with danger once more.
Verdict: An entertaining, edge of the seat, police procedural with a likeable protagonist and lots of twists and turns to keep the reader puzzling into the night hours.