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Keep You Close

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  972 ratings  ·  342 reviews
She knows her teenage son isn't perfect. But when the FBI starts investigating the kid she thought she knew, will she jeopardize her own career at the Bureau to keep her child safe?

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, pol
Hardcover, First North American, 352 pages
Published May 28th 2019 by Ballantine Books/Random House Inc.
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3.49  · 
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 ·  972 ratings  ·  342 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
Susanne  Strong
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
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
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
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
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really 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.

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
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
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mandy White
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
May 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 felt
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was the perfect thrill-a-minute. Having read another book by author Karen Cleveland, I was quite eager to get into this one. And the thriller did not disappoint.

Steph, an FBI agent, found something dangerous in her son's wardrobe and that started the cycle of her investigation moving back and forth between her past suspects and present. This was an action packed story which did not allow me to breathe deeply or take a minute's rest from the beginning to the end.

Steph as the main charac
Liz Barnsley
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
Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction)
I love a good spy adventure/political thriller and after hearing such fabulous things about Karen Cleveland's first novel, Need to Know, I knew I had to read Keep You Close. It definitely delivers the high paced action, suspense, and espionage you expect when reading a book about FBI agents, anarchist groups, and Russian spies who are deeply embroiled in the highest levels of the US government!

Agent Stephanie Maddox has always put her career at the FBI first and she's now head of Internal Affair
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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, masterp ...more
Jun 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Steph(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 she was 17+, she worked for a political figure who rapes her.
Others told her 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 friend) wa
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 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Karen Cleveland has done it again! Last year, I was blown away by Need to Know and had been eagerly anticipating what she would write next. When I heard it was not a sequel, I was disappointed as NTK ended on a giant OMG moment - I was thrilled to see plot points from Need to Know addressed in Keep You Close! You do not need to have read Need to Know first but if you have, I think it will really add to the story!

How far will you go to protect your son is the question our heroine, FBI agent Step
Debi Hawkes
I confess I haven't read anything by this author before, so nothing to compare it to like other reviewers who feel this one doesn't live up to her previous book.

I must say as far as a thriller, it got me didn't see this one coming. So that's a plus. The characters though were a bit one dimensional, and was a bit hard to believe in some of the twists.

All in all, a decent read.

I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Ballantine Books
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed reading Karen Cleveland's "Need to Know" (a 5 star read!) so I was excited to read her next book. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with this one. It was a quick read. Fast-paced and highly suspenseful. However the ending seemed rushed. The story keeps you gripped throughout, waiting for the climax at the end, but there was none. No conflict resolution really, just an explanation in the epilogue. The writing style was not up to par either. She switched from past to present witho ...more
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
Apr 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
dnf @ page 100 - i can't connect with anything, everything seems far fetched and the main character doesn't seem like a very good agent
idk this is stupid
Joanne Robertson
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I enjoyed Need to Know, the debut novel by Karen Cleveland, so was thrilled when I found out she’d written a second. In fact, by the time I had finished it I was desperate to read her THIRD as I think she is an author who just gets better with every book that she writes! Keep You Close is a rollercoaster of a ride that keeps you guessing until the very final twist. It’s written with a confidence that shows the huge amount of research and experience Karen Cleveland has undertaken bringing an auth
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
Kelly Hill
Jan 23, 2019 rated it did not like it
I absolutely loved the author’s first book and could not wait for this to be released. It fell really flat though. The book was written in the same fast paced, dialogue driven style as her first however there was no character development at all and I kept having to look back to see who certain characters were. The narrator’s internal monologue was super repetitive . And the plot was super unbelievable. Steph’s discovery of what was in her son’s room and her actions following (including leaving h ...more
3 no 7
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Keep You Close” by Karen Cleveland sets a dark tone right from the start with a prologue that ends with a chilling question. “What if he’s not who she thinks he is?”

Stephanie Maddox is chief of Internal Investigations at headquarters, and the tale unfolds in her first person narrative. The present tense structure creates a sense of immediacy and personal connection. Maddox talks to readers, and she talks to herself. She shares her struggles, “It shouldn’t be this difficult,” and explains her c
Karen Whittard
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not my usual read at all. But this book had me reading this book until the very end. Racing through the pages. Well written, with a great storyline and characters. This book was very good.
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book as it has many elements I enjoy: political intrigue, scandals, FBI involvement, as well as a personal story about a mother and son that threatens to unravel with the deceit that plays out. Steph is an FBI agent who inadvertently discovers a loaded gun hidden in her seventeen-year-old son's bedroom. Moments later, another agent appears at her door accusing him of seeking out a radical group that is anti-government and is apparently planning mass attacks. Stunned, Steph mu ...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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