Welcome, one and all, to another MDM Projects book review. Today, I’m looking at Closer by F.E. Feeley Jr. By way of disclosure, I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
Background: Detroit born F.E. Feeley Jr is an author of multiple novels and a large amount of poetry. He is married to the love of his life, John, has a German Shepherd, and is an avid gamer
Closer follows Hayden Moore who, after the murder of his husband Malcolm, moves to a community in Maplewood, Vermont. He wants a fresh start, and a chance to work through his loss, but things are not quite as quiet and tranquil as they seem. Urban legends circulate the town, and something nightmarish is just around the corner.
The Good: The first thing that I noticed when reading this book was how smooth the writing is. The author has a really accessible style that goes a long way towards not only making the book easy to follow along with, but also draw you in. It never feels stilted, it just flows.
That would all be for nought if the story wasn’t up to much though. Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. Closer tells a thoroughly engrossing tale that does a great job of balancing horror and romance in a way that feels realistic, even amidst the paranormal events. I think that part of that really comes down how well paced the book is. A great deal of care has clearly been taken in ensuring that things don’t escalate too quickly, and that the impending threat is given time to grow as we learn different things about what is actually going on. Yes, death happens early on, but it’s entirely possible to start with a bang and let the cloud grow from that rather than treat the story like a series of hard shots. That what happens here. We start at a point and it grows from there.
The supernatural aspects in particular really benefit from this approach, I think. We are never in doubt as to how dangerous what’s happening is, but at the same time, there’s a lot more to what’ going on than a simple battle of good versus evil.
The romance side of the story is dealt with well too. You really feel for Hayden, and you want to see him recover. Meanwhile, his love interest Tommy is flawed in the best sort of way. He has a shady past that doesn’t feel convoluted, and has clearly grown from his wilder days in his youth, yet the shadow of his previous actions still haunt him. There’s a sweetness to how he and Hayden interact, and by the end of the book, you do feel like they’re a good couple. Outside out main pair though, the cast is littered with strong characters that really help ground the story and offer insights to the world unfolding on the pages.
By the end of the book, we know that there will also be a sequel. For those that dislike cliff hangers though, we don’t get a feel of that here. If anything, the main story that was being told in the book feels like it had a satisfactory conclusion, and the sequel will likely add to the lore rather than fill in non-existent gaps.
The Bad: As always, this is highly subjective. When it comes to romance, I prefer a slower build over either multiple books or a longer timeframe. By the end of closer, Haydon and Tommy are in love. As I’ve said before, there’s nothing overtly wrong with love-at-first-sight or whirlwind romances, it’s just that neither are my personal preference. What we have here is well written, and the speed of the relationship doesn’t detract from the story for me despite being outside my own preferences, which should be a good sign.
Final View: Closer gives us a wonderful mix of horror and romance, all presented in a beautifully written style. If you like your paranormal stories with a touch of LGBT romance and a decent backstory, this one is for you.
Final Score: 4.5 / 5