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Keep You Close

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  4,370 ratings  ·  856 reviews
An FBI official's sense of right and wrong is blurred when her own son is accused of the unimaginable in this heart-pounding thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of Need to Know.

Stephanie Maddox makes tough decisions every day. She has her hands full heading the FBI's Internal Investigations division, policing wrongdoers within the Bureau. But, as a single m
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Doubleday Canada
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,370 ratings  ·  856 reviews

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Stephanie is a special agent with the FBI and the single mother of a seventeen year old son. A son who SHE is having trouble recognizing lately. Less communicative, more sullen. Is it just typical teenage behavior? Or is he hiding something.
Well that question is quickly answered when she finds a gun hidden in the back of his closet! Why would her teenage son have a gun? What is he involved in?

Stephanie is going to do whatever it takes to protect her son. Even if it costs her her career...or
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: buddy-read, netgalley
3.5 Stars* (rounded down)

A Fast Moving Mystery / Suspense!

FBI Agent Steph Maddox hears a knock at the door. Another agent appears. He accuses her son Zachary of being a part a domestic terrorist group. Her first reaction is that he is being framed. Of course, everyone always say that, she would know - after all, she works in Internal Affairs.

Forget the fact that moments earlier, Steph found a loaded gun hidden in Zachary’s closet in a nondescript paper bag. Even though they pass like ships in t
Holly  B
3.5 Stars

Karen Cleveland's 2018 debut, Need To Know was one of my top reads last year and I was eager to read her second book.

The fast pace/action and suspense are back, but I felt the story lacked the character development and intrigue and overall "cleverness" that was created in her debut.

FBI Agent Stephanie Maddox is at the heart of the story as she tries to unravel a domestic anarchist groups involvement in a web of lies that could hurt her son, Zachary. She struggles to search for the trut
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland is a thriller that tackles the question of just how far one would go for someone they love.  Stephanie Maddox is an special agent with FBI and has spent years and years working to get where she is in her career but would she throw it all away for the love of her life, her son Zachary?

Stephanie is a single mother and has done her best keeping her relationship with her son a priority despite her high pressure job. Even though Zachary has hit his sullen and angsty
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley

Karen Cleveland likes to tackle ethical dilemmas and how much you really know about the ones you love. Stephanie Maddox is the FBI agent in charge of Internal Investigations, so needless to say she has a strong sense of right and wrong. Which makes it even worse when she discovers a loaded gun in her teenage son’s room. I mean, anyone who’s raised teenagers knows they grow distant and moody, they stop communicating. But a gun? That’s way outside the norm.

We’re quickly given glimpses of Stephani
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-2
I LOVED Karen Cleveland’s debut about Russian sleeper cells in the US, and I was so excited to read “Keep You Close.” It was a terrific, fast-paced read set in the same world as “Need to Know” where FBI agent Stephanie discovers her teenage son Zachary may be involved in domestic terrorism. But where this novel truly gets juicy, just like in “Need to Know” is where the FBI agent instincts crash up against the mother’s need to deny her child could be part of an anarchist group. But who is telling ...more
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thrillers
Stephanie is a FBI agent single mother of a 17 year old son who she barely recognizes anymore, their relationship isn't the best but she tries her hardest to think the best of him.
Its when she finds a gun in his closet, that things start going crazy, she is mortified that he has a gun in the first place, his attitude is quite disturbing.

In the meantime her family are being threatened & Stephanie is finding it hard when the police show up accusing Zachary , her son of being involved in a terroris
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received a free e-copy of Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland from NetGalley for my honest review.

FBI agent, Stephanie Maddox, is a single mother of Zachary, her teenage son. One day, while cleaning her son's room, she finds a loaded gun. Another agent show up and Zachary is soon being accused of being associated with a terrorist group. A terrorist group that is planning mass attacks.

Does Stephanie really know her son? Is she being blinded by being his mother? She now has to decide whether she
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Karen Cleveland likes to tackle ethical dilemmas and how much you really know about the ones you love. Stephanie Maddox is the FBI agent in charge of Internal Investigations, so needless to say she has a strong sense of right and wrong. Which makes it even worse when she discovers a loaded gun in her teenage son’s room. I mean, anyone who’s raised teenagers knows they grow distant and moody, they stop communicating. But a gun? That’s way outside the norm.

We’re quickly given glimpses of Stephani
Jessica Sullivan
In this propulsive thriller, FBI agent Steph Maddox must untangle a web of deceit when her 17-year-old son is accused of plotting to murder government officials.

Steph's determination to protect her son at all costs takes her deep into a conspiracy much more nefarious than she ever could have imagined, making her ultimately choose between her duty to her country or her duty to her son.

It's a fine premise, but it doesn't break any new ground and the writing leaves a lot to be desired. Thrillers ar
Lou (nonfiction fiend)
Having adored Karen Cleveland's unique mix of spy and domestic thriller in her gripping debut, Need To Know, I wondered whether her sophomore novel would be able to live up to my expectations. She's done it again — this is a compulsive page-turner with relentless pace and relatable characters. Steph is a single mother to young Zachary but lately, she has been working late and they have grown apart. So when Steph discovers a gun in his bedroom she is startled and immediately jumps to conclusions ...more
Lori Lamothe
Keep You Close is ex-CIA analyst Karen Cleveland's second thriller and I seem to be one of the few reviewers who hasn't read her debut novel, Need to Know. While there are many good things about Keep You Close, the book ultimately didn't quite work for me. That said, I'd still like to see more of Cleveland's writing in the future.

Stephanie Maddox is a single mother who works in the FBI's internal affairs office, in part because she chose to protect her son rather than advance her career at the
Kristy K
2.5 Stars

This book had a lot of potential but a few things kept me from loving it. FBI agent Steph’s son seems to be at the center of a domestic terrorist threat, but she believes he is being set up. I was kept guessing as to who was behind it, which I liked. I didn’t like Steph as a mother. She constantly left Zach alone and unprotected. I also felt that too much was going on and too many subplots were being explored. Also, what is it with characters having inner psychologists (or goddesses) sp
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Ballantine Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

This book was sent to me by the publisher! If you would like to know how to get ARCs and review copies, feel free to watch my video, Advanced Reader Copies 101!


i wish i could show you guys this. my copy is a manuscript but it is literally a google doc that was glued together which is cool

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Mandy White (mandylovestoread)
Wow, Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland is a fantastic read. I found you want a fast paced story with plenty of twists then you need to read this book. It has it all.... Russians, hate groups, terrorism, teenage issues... and an ending that you won't see coming .

Steph Maddox works for the FBI. She loves her job and her son Zach. But hasn't her job taken her attention away from being a good mother? When cleaning her sons room one day she makes a discovery that makes her doubt everything. A gun hi
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

You know I almost let this one slip past, I saw the cover and title and thought it was a psychological thriller, which usually I love but fancied a change, but then decided to read it and soooo glad I did
For a start it is a hi octane paced thriller and secondly it is really well

FBI Agent Steph Maddox has her suspicions that her son is involved in something he shouldn’t be but when she finds out how serious it is and the implications to not just them but the whole Country she knows she ha
3 1/2 stars

Definitely not the intense page turner as her debut political thriller Need to Know, but still an interesting read.
The ending—not sure if this is a lead in to a sequel or if the reader is to assume their own ending for the main protagonist. I’m leaning toward the first option but if not, that will cause me to bump this down in ratings.

ARC provided by NetGalley
Apr 19, 2021 rated it it was ok
First person, present tense writing felt stiff. Unlikable protagonist made one bad decision after another, especially with respect to her son. Convoluted plot. After reading 33% of the book I skipped to the Epilogue and was glad that I had avoided the rest of this mess. As in the author’s first book, this book makes you doubt the intelligence and integrity of everyone working for the US Government. Maybe she’s right, but there must be a more entertaining way to write about it. I received a free ...more
Dannii Elle
This was read as part of the #KYCreadalong on IG, making this an even more immersive and atmospheric read as I got to experience the twists and turns of the book, in real-time, along with a whole group of lovely bookstagrammers.

He is your son. You raised him to be helpful, kind, and considerate. He has grown from mummy's boy to becoming an upstanding member of society all on his own. He is an academic overachiever and a computer whizz-kid. He sleeps down the hallway from you but what do you real
Liz Barnsley
May 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
I'm a little saddened by my reaction to this book- Need To Know was one of my top thrillers last year - but Keep You Close didn't really hit the mark for me at all.

The premise is intriguing. It has a domestic noir hint - how well do you know your children- with a spy thriller twist- main protagonist is not your usual parent...

However my honest reaction was one of ennui. The characterful observations of Need to Know are lacking here, giving it a flat feel and it feels a lot more like a paint by n
Pamela Small
It is not a good sign if it takes me ten days to read a “thriller”. Needless to say, I am not thrilled with this second effort by Karen Cleveland . In comparison to her debut, NEED TO KNOW, this book is a polar opposite, as reflected in my ratings of the two novels.

KEEP YOU CLOSE has an intriguing story arc but it fell flat, in large part because the characters are flat. One dimensional characters and their stilted dialogue become dull. Incessant and redundant internal dialogue of the narrator n
Feb 19, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a free e-copy of Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland from NetGalley for my honest review.

How far will you go as a parent to protect your child?

Stephanie Maddox, head of the FBI’s Internal Investigations division, works all the time. Her work, however, is starting to effect the relationship she has with her teenage son, Zachary. One day, She finds a gun that is hidden in his closet. Then a fellow FBI agent tells her that he might be part of a domestic terrorism cell.

I enjoyed this book
Kitty G Books
* I was sent this for review by the publisher *

I am glad that this book came to me, even though I do not often read thrillers, I do enjoy them, and this one was certainly fun. I read it in a few hours and enjoyed my time with the characters and the world. There was a lot to like about the characters, and I think I was surprised at how they felt very real even though the book was short. I think the topics discussed within the book were very interesting, relationships with kids, work/life balance
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
A fast-paced, action packed, suspense story.

Keep You Close is my first Karen Cleveland novel. I was impressed by the breakneck speed with which this story unfolded. It grips you from page number 1 and doesn't let go until the end. I read the entire book yesterday, and it definitely kept my interest. The political fodder is scary to contemplate.

Having said all that, the novel felt somewhat empty. There was next to no character development, and the writing was so abrupt and unexpressive, I fe
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Steph Maddox (single mom-33), a Chief of FBI investigations, had found a incomprehensible Glock-26 pistol in her “honor role” son’s closet (Zach-17). When Steph was 17+, she worked for a political figure who rapes her.
Others told Steph to let it go, who would believe her, no one would believe her claiming “indecent assaults” over this man.
She is persistent for revenge, goes to law school & with goals to help victims.

She rises to a Chief FBI agent to bring justice to others. Scott Clark(FBI fr
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
FBI agent Stephanie Maddox's world turns upside down when she finds a gun hidden in her son Zachary's closet. It gets even worse when a colleague of her tells her that her son is involved with a terrorist group. She can't believe it, but how well does she know her son? For most of his life she has been prioritizing her job most of the time, and now she is worried that she doesn't know the young man he has become. Could he really be a treat to the country? And what should she do if he is?

May 30, 2019 rated it liked it
"The truth is rarely pure and never simple." (Oscar Wilde)

Stephanie Maddox heads the FBI's Internal Investigations division and is uniquely placed because of her inherent beliefs about right and wrong. She's all about love of country and the greater good. How to shake up a strong-willed person like that? Get to her son. Steph's a single mother to teenaged Zachary. Lately the two haven't gotten along so well and she is suddenly faced with some discoveries that make her realize that she doesn't kn

The Good:

*Plot. I was completely engrossed in the novel and didn’t want to put it down. The conspiracy plot was intriguing and a lot bigger than a simple terrorist plot. I couldn’t figure out who was or wasn’t guilty. There was a lot of action which also made this a fantastic thriller. Steph’s past helped enhance the story and added a lot of suspects.

*Steph. Stephanie Maddox is an FBI agent who is the head of the Internal Investigations unit. She doesn’t have many friends, and she is estranged f
KEEP YOU CLOSE is filled with so many twists and turns through a fast paced novel. As Stephanie Maddox, an FBI agent, learns that her son has been implicated in domestic terrorism. As she works to save him, be prepared for an explosive ending for which you will never be prepared! Highly recommended
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
First of all, I really enjoyed Karen Cleveland’s debut novel last year – NEED TO KNOW – a lot. In my review, I wrote about how it was a concept novel that worked well and recommended it highly. Guess my surprise when I stopped by my local Barnes & Noble last week and by accident, spotted Cleveland’s second novel –KEEP YOU CLOSE - in the new hardcover section. Oh, the gleam in my eye knowing that I was looking forward to another unbelievable, tension-filled, psychological, spy filled, masterpiece ...more
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Karen Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA analyst, the last six in counterterrorism. She has master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin, where she studied as a Fulbright Scholar, and from Harvard University. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two young kids.

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