Today I’m delighted to be sharing a 5* review for Keep Her Close by M. J. Ford. The second instalment in the DI Jo Masters series, this novel perfectly pairs the overly dramatic train wreck of a personal life managed by Josephine Masters, a dismissive and condescending DCI, and some seriously twisted cases surrounding missing and murdered girls – and you have hit the trifecta!
Title: Keep Her Close
Author: M. J. Ford
Expected Publication Date: March 17, 2019
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Murder Mystery
Themes: Family, Crime, Serial Killers, Work/ Life Balance
My Rating: 5/ 5
The second edge-of-your-seat thriller from M.J. Ford
It’s six months since DS Josie Masters saved her nephew from the clutches of the killer clown, but she’s still haunted by that terrible night. The Thames Valley police force, however, regard Jo as a hero – much to the jealousy of some of her colleagues.
When a young girl goes missing from Jesus College, Jo is assigned to the case, along with new recruit, the handsome DS Pryce. The city of Oxford goes into turmoil when two more girls disappear from Oriel and Somerville, and Josie soon realises that the killer is spelling out her own initials in a deadly game of cat and mouse. This time, the case is personal – but who is the perpetrator?
In a race against time, Jo hunts for the killer – but soon realises he could be a lot closer to home than she’d realised…
I think I hesitated for all of a split second when it came to requesting this book on NetGalley as I haven’t read the first in the series, but the description was so dang juicy I simply couldn’t help myself. And the best part was that I never once felt like an interloper in an already established story.
Within the first few pages I fell comfortably into the world of Jo Masters, Ryan Pryce, Lucas and Heidi. I appreciated the slow-feed of background information spread throughout the book, as it really added depth and ah-ha moments, as well as the uniqueness of all the supporting characters. It was great that Stratton was the kind of boss that we can all love to hate, that Dimi comes across as a bit of a turd, that Crannick is the sweet but dependable co-worker always running interference and that Heidi always ended up playing den-mother for the dysfunctional crew.
I felt Jo’s frustration so deeply when it became clear that she was being handled with kid gloves, and that her investigative conclusions were being dismissed despite her significant knowledge and expertise. There’s nothing more frustrating that seeing connections and patterns that no one else does, or that your superiors would rather not be true, and having to fight for every inch gained when you should be moving miles instead. I mean, with girls being abducted in broad daylight and at an alarming rate, don’t you think that the brass would want to explore every possible avenue, not just those that are comfortable and palatable.
And with the cast of suspects presented, I was guessing in circles as to who it could possibly be. I love a good thriller that I can’t figure out, and this one certainly hit the mark. For me, our big bad was entirely unexpected, I was just as shocked as the team and simply couldn’t imagine the media aftermath that the department would be fielding for the weeks and years to come.
And speaking of a media melt-down, Jo’s couldn’t have come at a worse time. While we’ve all had those moments where we go down the rabbit hole of distrust, the thing that I found most disturbing about Jo going off the deep end, was that she used her status as a police office to carry out some seriously misguided personal business. I mean, don’t get me wrong, who hasn’t done a deep dive on a potential romantic partner (there are way too many weirdos out there!), but this… wow. Jo’s behaviour made me question every decision she made throughout the course of the investigation and beyond. Although, it does serve as a healthy reminder that the internet is forever and that basically everyone has a smartphone, so don’t go busting down doors and turning all psycho-girlfriend in broad daylight because it might just go viral. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed too!
Thank goodness Jo has such a supportive family and group of friends, even if they happen to be retired ex-cops drinking themselves to the bottom of the bar. I was surprised at how well Jo’s brother handled the aftermath of both their previous ordeal, as well as the drama of Jo’s current case when it starts to strike too close to home. No word of a lie though, I’d be selling of my house too if someone had been murdered in my kitchen and a child had been abducted from their bedroom. In all honesty, I don’t know how Jo stood through the realtor’s showing without crawling out of her skin. Ugh ugh ugh!
All together this was an incredible read – thrilling, action packed, and full of drama. I was eating up every word and was left wanting more. I can’t want to see what comes next for Jo Masters and the team, or for Jo and Lucas! Read it crime lovers, Keep Her Safe will not disappoint.
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.