Closer Than She Knows
Thomas Nelson, June 2020
From the publisher—
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.
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 . . .
Teagan O’Rourke’s calm, safe life is upended with a vengeance when a young police officer is murdered right next to her while the two are transporting evidence in a court case. Teagan’s job as a court reporter—and growing up in a family full of law enforcement—helped turn her into a fan of crime fiction and that and the court reporting have given her a bit of a leg up on solving fictional crimes but now she has to aim her talents at solving this very real one.
Panic sets in when someone starts sending her threatening messages, each one referring to a murderer in one of those novels and the implication is obvious, that this person knows her all too well. Now, this has all become very personal even while other people are being killed and she enlists the aid of her father, a retired police officer, and her friend, Max, who has a less than savory past of his own but is now a youth pastor and recovering alcoholic. Teagan and Max have been circling around each other romantically without really moving forward because of various issues but the three are determined to find this stalker.
I’m not a huge fan of romance or romantic suspense but, in this case, the romance is handled naturally and is not “in your face”. Much more attention is paid to the criminal elements and finding a vicious killer, as it should be, and there were quite a few likeable characters, family as well as friends. I found a lot to enjoy in Closer Than She Knows, my introduction to Kelly Irvin’s work.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2020.
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An Excerpt from Closer Than She Knows
“We’re almost there, Ms. O’Rourke.” Officer Moreno came to a full stop at the corner of Park and Academic Court, where the glass-covered police department recruitment center and property room facilities glinted in the late-afternoon sun.
A smile brought out dimples on Moreno’s cherub-cheeked face. Her assignment to escort a court reporter and the evidence to the property room was almost to the halfway point. Teagan had told Moreno to call her by her first name, but the patrolwoman couldn’t seem to manage it. “I’ll get us through security, we’ll stow the evidence, and I’ll have you back to your car in a jiffy.”
Did people still say “in a jiffy”? Teagan’s grandma might, but this woman was no more than twenty-four. A couple of years younger than Teagan. She studied the officer’s face as she turned onto Academic Court and accelerated. The woman was for real. A straight shooter determined to be successful in a man’s world.
Teagan smiled, but Moreno had already returned her gaze to the road, hands at the proper ten and two positions on the wheel. “I know there’s plenty of other things you’d rather do than babysit evidence—”
The driver’s side window exploded.
The force knocked Teagan’s head against her window. Sudden pain pricked her face. Fragments of glass pierced her cheeks and forehead.
The car swerved, jumped the curb, and crashed into the wrought-iron fence that protected the academy.
Was this what Mom felt the day she died? The inevitability of it?
Air bags ballooned.
Teagan slammed back against her seat.
I’m sorry, Max.
I’m sorry I never said it.
A second later the bag deflated. The smell of nitrogen gases gagged her. Powder coated her face. The skin on the back of her hands burned.
Time sped up in an odd, off-kilter tick-tock.
Teagan struggled to open her eyes. Pain pulsed in her temple. Her stomach heaved. Waves of adrenaline shook her body as if she’d grasped a live electrical wire.
I’m alive. Today’s not my day to die.
The evidence. Protect the evidence.
About the Author
Kelly Irvin is a bestselling author and two-time Carol Award finalist. She is a former newspaper reporter and retired public relations professional. Kelly lives in Texas with her husband, photographer Tim Irvin. They have two children, three grandchildren, and two cats.
Visit her Online:
KellyIrvin.com // Goodreads
BookBub // Instagram
Twitter // Facebook
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One print copy of
Closer Than She Knows